Supporters of President Donald Trump sparred with counter-protesters during a downtown rally Thursday as they pushed the false claim that wide-scale fraud had swung the election for his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
“Four more years!” a group of roughly 60 defiant Trump backers, mostly maskless, shouted as they congregated in Millennium Park after marching from Trump’s riverfront skyscraper. The crew included Edgar “Remy Del Toro” Gonzalez, president of the Chicago chapter of the far-right Proud Boys, as well as other marchers touting the pro-police “Back the Blue” movement.
Just steps away, a few dozen anti-Trump activists shouted them down as “losers” while effectively raining on their Thanksgiving Day parade.
While Trump has yet to concede to President-elect Biden, his last-ditch efforts to overturn the election results have largely proved fruitless. Trump’s legal team, led by his private attorney Rudy Giuliani, has faced a series of embarrassing defeats while continuing to push unfounded conspiracy theories outside the courtroom.
Thursday’s rally was part of the nationwide “Stop the Steal” campaign, which is holding similar events in other parts of the country. Republican operative Ali Alexander, the campaign’s leader, claimed there are still multiple pathways for Trump to win the election, including potentially protesting the certification of Electoral College votes.
“We believe that Joe Biden did not legitimately win, and we understand that we have to cooperate within the framework of the Constitution and the timeline of the judiciary answering some of these questions for us,” Alexander said. “We want to follow the Constitution, but the will of the people, I think, is a lot more important.”
Though Chicago police officers stood between the Trump acolytes and the counter-protesters, both sides used megaphones to hurl insults for hours. After leaving Millennium Park, thinned-out contingents from both sides returned to the area near Trump International Hotel & Tower and continued to assail each other as Trump-inspired rap music blared from a large speaker.
Lamar Whitfield, a Hyde Park resident and organizer with the No More Foundation, said it’s “disgusting” that Mayor Lori Lightfoot allowed the pro-Trump protesters to take to the streets.
“We know who won. So it’s unfortunate that we would be having people in our city, where we already have so much uprising going on, to antagonize and keep agitating folks,” said Whitfield. “It’s not fair that this thing is over with but yet they’re allowed to come here and keep this type of energy going.”