MADELINE RAINERI | Reporter
Neon protest signs and Make America Great Again banners punctuated overcast skies Wednesday as President Donald Trump arrived to push a tax reform plan he believes will help Americans.
“Our country was not treated properly for a long time,” Trump said in his speech inside the St. Charles Convention Center. “But we’re winning again.”
Outside, protesters and supporters either decried Trump’s plan or showed their approval.
Rachel Carpenter, a woman who came to show her disdain for the proposal said “I think it’s terrible, the bill.”
“I think it’s awful for our college students and grad students that won’t be able to write off student loans, and I have two kids in college so that really hurts,” Carpenter said. “I just think the whole reform bill hurts the middle and lower class and really helps the upper class and rich people.”
Kathie Stussie, a member of the Missouri brand of Overpasses for America, a group that hangs flags on overpasses to show patriotism, said she just came to show support for Trump.
“I have to be honest with you, I have not read it all,” Stussie said about the bill, “but from what I hear on the news media, as long as the proposal applies to everybody, you know the corporations may or may not get more, but they’re the ones bringing the jobs, so if it wasn’t for them and if they get more tax cuts, then they can hire the people they need to.”
The demonstrations remained largely peaceful from both sides with minimal police interaction, but the riot squad was eventually called in after demonstrators clad in Make America Great Again gear clashed with Anti-Trump demonstrators on the sidewalk outside of the convention center.
As the riot squad moved in, Alison Dreith, the Executive Director for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) stood by with a pile of brightly colored signs in support of NARAL, free for other protesters to use.
Dreith encouraged both sides to research the bill fully, and said: “There’s a lot of things I have wrong with the Trump administration but today, I’m specifically here for the GOP tax plan, which is the reason Trump’s even coming to St. Charles today.”
“I would just encourage people to read the full bill instead of listening to the rhetoric of either side or what their chosen news media outlet is,” Dreith explained.
“This bill is hundreds of pages, and people whose jobs it is have certainly read through it, but most of the folks here today, how is that really going to affect them in their lives?” Dreith said. “A lot of this bill could really hurt working-class families.”