Nationwide “We Build the Wall” Tour Causes Protests in Cincinnati, Next stop – Detroit
CINCINNATI, OH - March 13, 2019
The leaders of the group We Build the Wall arrived at the Netherland Hotel in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday to raise money and promote the effort to build a Mexican border wall on private land with private money. The event was sponsored by Ohio Grassroots Rally Team, Main Street Patriots, OANN-One American News Network, and the Gateway Pundit.
"I'm in Cincinnati, because the border crisis is in Iowa," former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon told the crowd of more than 200 people who came into downtown Cincinnati. Some traveled as far away as rural West Virginia. "It's in Ohio. This border crisis is a national crisis."
When it comes to the border wall with Mexico, the country should have the president's back, Bannon said.
The rally also featured former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke and former Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo.
Bannon said the wall will not only help United States citizens, but also Central Americans.
"We have to build this wall to stop this onslaught," Bannon said. "This is to help the people in Central America, so they're not trafficked."
However, Bannon's appearance showed the deep divide on this issue across the country. Outside the hotel, about 60 protestors credited immigrants with building Cincinnati and the nation, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"Cincinnati won't succumb to racism," said Steve Driehaus, a former Democratic member of Congress, speaking to the demonstrators on Fountain Square a block away from the Bannon rally. "We understand the value of the immigrant community."
Across the street, Nancy Sullivan along with about 30 other protestors held a sheet painted to look like a brick wall with Spanish graffiti saying "Puentes No Muros," meaning "Bridges not walls," and other slogans. Sullivan, a resident of the Cincinnati neighborhood East Price Hill, said she doesn't understand how Bannon and his supporters can call the border an "emergency."
"I think it is really bizarre effort to keep trying to spin a story that I think most Americans realize is a false story," Sullivan said.
Inside the Netherland Hotel, many in the audience blamed illegal immigrants for crime and economic hardships. The rally featured three parents who said their children were killed by illegal immigrants.
Steve Ronnebeck on Tuesday related the story he's told Sean Hannity on Fox News as well as Trump, with whom he's met. Ronnebeck said his 21-year-old son, Grant, was shot by an illegal immigrant during a convenience store robbery.
"We'd be safer having Iraq as a border country than Mexico," Ronnebeck said.
After the rally in Fountain Square, a smaller group of protestors formed outside the Town Hall venue at the Hilton Netherland Plaza.
Construction on the privately funded wall will start in April, said Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran and triple amputee wounded in the Iraq War who founded We Build the Wall.
He said he would begin construction of the wall in May but now he thinks it could be sooner.
“We are still on track to break ground and actually we believe it's gonna be in April and what we've been doing is all the land surveying and studies. It's just boring stuff and so we don't really have much news to report on it. But we're moving forward and we're very close to breaking ground and as soon as we break ground and have those shovels in the dirt, we’ll be uploading pictures for everyone to see what's going on,” Brian Kolfage told an OANN reporter.
“We're able to take our message to the heart of American or if they're having a crisis. Frankly these people are they're not hearing the stories of what's really going on border and they're not hearing the truth because the media is not covering it. So we’re able to bring our experts up to these areas and tell them the stories of what we've learned and what we know what's the order,” Kolfage said.
The next stop on the nationwide :We Build the Wall” tour is Detroit on Thursday, March 14, where Kolfage and his team can present their plan to the public.
Kolfage said he is shocked that a hotel in Detroit withdrew its group rate for the team once it saw their names on the roster.
“We contacted a foundation hotel in Detroit, the venue for Cobo Center recommended them because they're right across the street and as soon as I sent over the guest list, which contain names like my name, Sheriff Clark, Kris Kobach, they’ve responded back about third space and says they couldn't offer us that group rate anymore. So basically they were gonna charge us double because of who we are.”
Brian Kolfage started We Build The Wall after GoFundMe refunded the $20 million he raised from 337,000 donors in December. The company refunded the money due to a change in where the money was going, from the federal government to a nonprofit, according to a USA Today story.
Kolfage started the non-profit to raise the $1 billion to build the wall on private land, USA Really reported last December. The board of directors includes Bannon and former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling.