In a post on his website Truth Social on Saturday, Trump railed against any impending charges and called on supporters like Lejeune to protest. “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK,” Trump wrote. “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
Trump’s words, reminiscent of his remarks prior to the attack on the Capitol by his supporters, have prompted authorities in New York to prepare for the possibility of violent protests. Dozens of uniformed police officers were scattered in the neighborhood around the courthouse, which was mostly encircled by metal barricades.
On Tuesday morning, it appeared to be business as usual inside the courthouse, where defendants appeared for scheduled arraignments. Outside, though, the presence of demonstrators, media, and onlookers caused at least one guard to remark, “This is crazy!”
Around 9 a.m., DeLaurier and roughly 10 other anti-Trump demonstrators gathered in front of cameras across the court’s entrance, holding signs reading, “TICK TOCK TIME’S UP!” and “JUSTICE MATTERS!”
A counterprotester soon arrived holding a sign that tied Bragg to Jewish philanthropist and donor George Soros, whom the man’s sign had misspelled as “Geogre” — something soon mocked by the anti-Trump demonstrators. “Antisemites aren’t the best spellers,” DeLaurier said.
It often appeared difficult for some media to discern who was a legitimate pro-Trump demonstrator and who was someone parodying them. Walter Masterson, a comedian who dresses in MAGA gear in order to interview Trump fans, was filmed by scores of news cameras as he held a megaphone and called on police to “arrest Hunter Biden’s laptop!”
“Nancy Pelosi and George Soros designed the banking system and Animal Crossing,” Masterson joked.
Nearby, a man who was drinking a large can of Coors Banquet beer shouted about Biden stealing the last election by orchestrating fraudulent votes from dead people.
“Prove it! Have another beer!” a counterprotester shouted at the man, who was later seen drinking a large can of Foster’s.
Joanne, a 19-year-old New York City resident who declined to give her last name, said she came down to the courthouse area with two friends to witness the spectacle for themselves. “It’s a historic sign!” Joanne excitedly remarked after being given a sign that read, “Trump is defeated.”