Wheeling, W.Va. – An angry crowd of mostly youthful protesters confronted the racist presidential candidate, Donald Trump, outside the WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, W.Va. Trump was the featured speaker for an “invitation only” fundraiser on June 28 with coal company executives and other capitalist officials from the Ohio Valley area.
Protesters chanted, “Racist! Sexist! Anti-gay! Right-wing bigots go away!” and “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” as the candidate’s mostly white and middle-class audience members in business suits were escorted into the side of the hockey arena. Meanwhile, sharpshooters in military fatigues stood on the rooftops of buildings across the street.
The anti-Trump crowd was unintimidated by the militarized police presence. Some Trump supporters yelled incomprehensible epithets, but they were outnumbered and quickly shut down.
West Virginia state NAACP President Owens Brown, a former coal miner, participated in the protest and told Workers World, “Wherever Trump goes, it is important people respond and show that they do not agree with his bigotry.” Brown further explained, “While some people in this area might say they ‘like Trump because he promises to bring back coal mining jobs,’ one cannot support a candidate that is endorsed by the terrorist Ku Klux Klan and not be a racist.”
The reactionary fundraiser was put together by an evangelical coal baron named Robert Murray, who is the CEO of Murray Energy Corporation. Murray has a history of participating in right-wing politics. In 2012, he was under investigation for “violating federal election laws” in Ohio.
Also in 2012, Murray laid off 156 coal miners — for which action he blamed the re-election of President Barack Obama — shortly after he forced them to listen to a prayer he had written. As a self-serving proponent of resource extraction, it is not surprising that Murray is also an outspoken denier of global warming.
Labor also had a presence at the anti-Trump protest. Marcus Long, a proud, card-carrying member of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 33, told WW: “While Robert Murray wants to brag about owning union coal mines and wants to call himself a philanthropist, to me, he is just another racist union-buster. He and Trump should both be shut down.”
The confrontation took place just a couple of weeks before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Trump and his band of bigots will be confronted by “Shut Down Trump and the RNC.” Workers World newspapers and fliers announcing protests at both July capitalist party conventions were distributed throughout the crowd, encouraging them to attend the events that are planned and to march on July 17.