Demonstrators protest new "Trump's Team Deplorable" store in Webster
Webster, N.Y. - On Independence Day, a group of protesters protested a new store on main street in Webster - a store supports the policies of President Trump.
The store is called "Trump's Team Deplorable Community Activity Center."
"I know the name is a little provocative, there's no question about it," said the owner, Bruce Ben-Dov. "I think if we look around today, and see what Trump's agenda has done for America - I mean, just over the last eighteen months, he's a promise-keeper."
Ben-Dov said the store serves as a grassroots effort to support President Trump's polices and to keep a "pro-Trump" Republican House and Senate. A group of demonstrators marched in front of his business on Wednesday.
"To show the Team Deplorable store that the other viewpoint is represented in this town," said Luke Stowell. "And that we want to spread the love of the liberal viewpoint."
"I do opposite it," said Brynn McClelland. "But I'm here to have a discussion and not a fight."
Having a discussion is why Ben-Dov, a former paratrooper in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers during Operation Desert Storm, said he opened the store in the first place.
"I opened the store because, quite frankly, I was getting a little upset at the conservative voices being squashed," he said. "There's really nothing to be concerned about. I'm here to try to bring people together."
At the corner of Main Street and Rt. 250, protesters held signs that read, "Hate has no home here," and, "Humanity needs to do better than Trump." Some drivers honked as they passed by.
"In today's climate, it's easy to associate our president's name with hate because of how he acts toward people or some of his policies," said Payton Smith. "I think that's the most concerning thing, is that this store could turn into a center of hate rather than a center of conversation and discussion."
The group spoke with the Ben-Dov about their views and concerns.
"It was really good, they have love in their hearts, and the thing is I have love in my heart as well," Ben-Dov said.
"The owner of the was very respectful," McClelland said. "He understood that we opposed him, but we can agree to disagree, and it made me happy that he could respect us like that."
While Ben-Dov is seeking $150,000 in donations build out the "Trump Headquarters" to discuss policy issues and host guest speakers, American Express sued the veteran for nearly $11,000 in June.
"No, I don't have any...no lawsuits are pending against me right now," he explained. "I'm not taking money for myself, I'm a combat veteran. I've taken my own money and funded the store so far, and I don't have a lot of money. I have very very little resources, to help me, to help Trump."
So far, Ben-Dov raised $175 through his GoFundMe account.