GLENS FALLS — On opposite sides of Centennial Circle in Glens Falls on Saturday evening, two local pro-Trump groups shouted their “Trump 2020” message through megaphones to passing motorists.

“The country is under attack and you don’t even know it.”

“God, guns and Trump.”

“Wake Up.”

And many passersby accepted small blue “Trump” flags from the supporters, waving, honking and hooting as they drove away.

“Trump supporters have been silent,” said American Patriots Express co-founder Florence “Fe” Sherman on Saturday evening. “It’s about time we came out.”

The pro-Trump rally, totaling about 65 supporters, was made up of members from the American Patriots Express, founded in June by Sherman of Hudson Falls and her nephew, Dave Van Scoy of South Glens Falls, and the North Country Deplorables, founded this week by Mike Kibling of Hudson Falls.

Initially, it appeared the groups were each supporting the president but opposed to each other, standing on opposite sides of the circle and shouting through megaphones back and forth at each other.

Nonetheless, Van Scoy said APEX supports the Deplorables’ efforts, despite social media posts, including one from Kibling, claiming APEX “kicked” Kibling out of the group last week.

“We are all patriots,” Van Scoy said. “We want to get Trump supporters out to stand up for themselves.”

Van Scoy and Sherman said they started APEX, a closed online group, to gain more support for their pro-Trump message.

APEX currently has 1,267 members, with 834 joining in the last month.

“Many are local, but some are from other states,” said Sherman. “They will rally in other states when we rally here. That’s the whole reason we do this.”

Sherman said she thought the rally “was pretty good.”

“There are a lot of new faces,” she said.

During the rally, one man who walked through a packed grouping of about 20 supporters expressed an opposing view and the yelling intensified, deepening as they moved in closer to the man, prompting the Glens Falls police to come over to the situation.

As the lone man crossed over and through the Deplorables group on the other side of the circle, someone yelled through the megaphone, “That’s why we’re gonna build a wall.”

Jade Eddy, who is not a Trump supporter, came to the rally with two friends. And initially she said she was having an interesting conversation with a Trump supporter.

“I talked to a couple nice people and we agreed on somethings,” she said. “I don’t have an issue with some of their views, like supporting veterans.”

But Eddy found that many of the people at the rally did not want to come to an understanding.

“If you don’t like Trump, get out,” she said. “When I got harassed, I was talking to some people who were walking by and not even part of the rally...I was trying to get the kid to register to vote.”

That’s when a “very large Trump supporter started yelling at the young girl,” Eddy said, explaining that she put her sign between the man and the young girl and called the police over because the Trump supporters were moving in closer and threatening them.

“They are calling themselves patriots,” she said. “But they are the least patriotic people I know.”

Several APEX supporters shouted at a Post-Star reporter who was among the crowd, asking questions about why they were protesting.

Eventually the reporter walked away, crossing the street, and Van Scoy came over, apologizing, and asked for fair coverage.

APEX has counter-protested at several local anti-Trump rallies and disrupted “The Lights for Liberty” vigil held at Centennial Circle in Glens Falls in July, during a planned national moment of silence by continuing to shout through the megaphone.

“They have a right and we will not disrupt them. Even Nazis, fascists and geo-Putinists have a right in America,” said local anti-Trump activist Joe Seeman on Saturday night. “We are not going to lower ourselves to their level ... We will be back to sing ‘God Bless America,’” said Seeman. “We are going to continue to speak out for American values.”

Eddy said that she and a friend had been talking about whether to go to the rally.

“They love attention and they love having someone to yell at,” she said. “I would rather give them empty air, but if we do nothing, it is like we are accepting the whole thing.”

So instead of counter-protesting at the APEX rallies, Eddy started APEKS (Americans Promoting Empathy Kindness and Solutions) that will turn pro-Trump rallies into monthly fundraisers for immigrants. To donate to the closed group, facebook.com/group/APEKS.

“My friend read an article on a town in Bavaria that the Nazis kept returning for parades every year,” she said, adding that the town turned the marches into fundraisers and for every foot marched. Money was donated to Jewish organizations.

And that was the inspiration for APEKS. For every person that shows up to a pro-Trump rally, individuals can pledge from two cents to $2 per Trump supporter and the funds will be donated to RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education, and Legal Services, a nonprofit based in Texas that helps with legal assistance to the migrants being held in detention centers.

“The more people that show up at the rallies,” she said. “The more money we raise.”

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Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli covers Washington County government and other county news and events.


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