Lance Thate, Chairman
St Augustine Tea Party
Dear Historic City News Editor:
The complete story regarding the public’s show of support for President Trump on February 27th has not been told.
While the Republican Party did sponsor a Spirit of America “Pro Trump” rally that drew about 200 supporters, it appears that Committee Chairman William Korach limited his perspective to the activities within his view and control.
He suggests the explanation for the “Indivisible” organization’s failure to engage the Trump supporters be credited to the large number of Republicans who gathered at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and their loud public address system.
I disagree. The Indivisible protesters had already been deflated by the Saint Augustine Tea Party before they ever reached the fort green. As Pro Trump supporters assembled at the Castillo and Indivisible protesters assembled on the east end of the Bridge, the feisty St Augustine Tea Party decided to deploy their own “battleship” of support for President Trump — the “Dartmouth”. The 35-foot-long ceremonial float represents the first of the Tea Party ships to arrive at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston.
In my Saul Alinsky disguise, I embedded myself and walked across the Bridge of Lions with about 45 anti-Trump protesters. As the group got to the west-end of the bridge, I called for the Dartmouth, which was lying in wait in Davis Shores. The execution was perfect as the Dartmouth intercepted the Indivisibles just as they were turning onto the bayfront.
Strategically placing itself between the protesters and passing traffic, the Dartmouth, complete with a full-sized cardboard cutout of Donald Trump, anti-Indivisible signs and Gadsden flags flying, effectively blocked the view of protesters to the public.
On their Facebook page, the liberal anti-Trump organization had been promoting a counter demonstration; but, right after their experience with the real Tea Party, all mention of the event was deleted from their Facebook page. Normally they keep events they consider successful on their Facebook Timeline.
The Dartmouth continued its journey through the streets of the historic district, long after the other participants had left the national monument. The support for President Trump is extremely high among visitors that frequent St. Augustine. People from all over the country showed their support by using the Dartmouth as a photo op and many boarded her. In addition to coverage on Jacksonville’s television stations, the Dartmouth engaged far larger numbers than any other participants at the Castillo de San Marcos.
In closing it was a grand day for the First Amendment. Divergent points of view were expressed without violence. The St. Augustine Police Department and the Park Rangers did not interfere with the people’s right of assembly and free speech.