Matthew Kaplan Photography

Pro-Trump Protest Against Hammond Mayor McDermott - Hammond, Indiana - May 1st, 2021

A balmy May Day in Hammond Indiana brought a group of some 50 supporters of former president Trump to a Walmart parking lot, before parading in caravan past the nearby home of the city's mayor, Tom McDermott. The five term mayor, and longtime Democrat, had objected to a Hammond resident flying a large flag sporting the slogan, "F__k Biden and f__k you for voting for him" in front of a home facing a well used park, in violation of a city ordinance banning public displays of obscene material. Feeling this was an infringement of the right to free speech, protestors drove to Hammond from nearby towns, as well as from southern Indiana, to express their opposition to the mayor.

"I'm here to support the gentleman in Hammond who was forced to take his flag down." explained Gary born demonstrator Jena White, standing next to a pickup truck in the Walmart parking lot. She added "I'm a huge Trump fan".

A couple from Merrillville Indiana, who graciously displayed their own "F__k Biden" flag for my camera, were proud to inform me that they had purchased it at the Trump Store in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.

Not all the opposition to Mayor McDermott was based solely on the recent flag flap. Steven Cozad, speaking with me from the driver seat of his Dodge pickup truck, said he had moved his family from Hammond to Highland Indiana, about 10 years ago, because of the mayor. Mr Cozad didn't elaborate. 

After leaving the Walmart parking lot I found the mayor quite ready for the noon time drive-by. In sunglasses and a blue shirt, Mr. McDermott waited in front of his home accompianied by a group of supporters, and members of the media. He welcomed the flag festooned motorcade to Hammond, with waves and big smiles.

Reports that counter-demonstrators might attempt to confront the Trump supporters proved unfounded, although one neighbor stood smiling in the grassy parkway across from the mayor's house, holding a handmade sign of support for both Mayor McDermott and President Biden. "Best First 100 Days" read the last line of her colorful poster.

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