Trump, Biden voters hold competing rallies near DeKalb Farmers Market
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By Zoe Seiler, contributor
Scottdale, GA – Several people gathered on Sunday, Oct. 4, to raise money for President Trump’s medical bills following his COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization.
Supporters of former vice president Joe Biden quickly gathered across the street to hold a rally of their own. The small, civil demonstrations occurred about a month before the Nov. 3 general election.
Organizers of the pro-Trump rally later clarified that raising money for the medical bills was a joke and that the money would actually be donated to the Trump re-election campaign.
DeKalb County resident Joe Gargiulo organized the pro-Trump event to show support for Trump and sell Trump merchandise alongside a cardboard cutout of the president.
“The way I look at it the man doesn’t need fame. He doesn’t need power. He doesn’t need money. He’s got all those. He’s in it for the right reasons. He loves America,” Joe said.
Tonia Gargiulo, Joe’s niece, said she doesn’t usually attend events or wear Trump gear out in public, but was prompted to join her family and friends to show support amid the president’s hospitalization.
“God bless the USA is really the message. Trump is in the hospital. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, nobody wants to see somebody die from COVID so it prompted me to come out,” Tonia Gargiulo said. “He’s an underdog right now in terms of he’s sick. We don’t know what could happen. The underlying thing is we’re all Americans.”
“We’ve got a leader of our country that is sick with the biggest, most tragic epidemic that we’ve seen in our lifetime,” she added.
The event was held at 3110 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., near Your DeKalb Farmers Market and displayed Joe’s parade float that says “God bless the USA. We will prevail.” The property, which Joe owns, previously was the Discount Bakery Outlet. About 10 people attended the event to show their support and buy items.
The family is figuring out how much money was raised, but Joe said he plans to personally match the amount to donate to the Trump campaign.
Joe and his family and friends were selling small Trump flags, chess sets, Trump signs, bracelets, coins, playing cards, collectible boxing pens, breast cancer ribbon pins and Braves flags.
Stephanie Gargiulo, Joe’s daughter, also sells these items, among other things, on eBay and has been for a few months. She helped sell the merchandise at the event and also show her support for the president.
“The way I look at it and why I’m going to vote for Trump is because, and even though he doesn’t say things in the most eloquent ways, is because there’s people in my life who I really care about who I know if they were running for president they would probably be under a lot of heat. But I know where their heart is and I know where their mind is. I know their intentions,” Stephanie said. “At the end of the day, even though they’re saying things that aren’t the most eloquently said, I know they are the best ones for the job and that’s why I’m voting for Trump as a millennial.”
The group was met with several Biden supporters who set up signs and played drums across the street on the lawn of Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta.
Tonia said she liked that the Biden supporters were there and wanted them to join her on the same side of the street. She mentioned putting the Biden signs with the Trump signs.
“I think this is a beautiful thing that we’re allowed to express our views and it doesn’t have to be hateful. Honestly, it just doesn’t. Some of my best friends love Biden. My best friend in the whole world loves Biden and that’s ok. I get it,” Tonia said.
Damon Moon, who owns Standard Electric Co., and some fellow musicians set up their instruments to show their support for Biden.
“(We) heard a bunch of noise out here and it’s these guys and they’re screwing up my session. Once we saw what it was about, it was hell no, let’s just move the session outside,” Moon said.
He added that he was in the middle of a recording session with a client but were struggling to record as the Trump supporters were playing loud music.
Decatur resident April Biagioni heard about the event the night before and picked up various signs for Biden, Black Lives Matter, the voter protection hotline and other local Democratic candidates.
“We thought what would be a better way to combat it than with some really loud drums and signs of our own,” she said.
Biagioni also said that some people going to the farmers market may feel uncomfortable with all of the Trump signs.
“I felt like this was a form of intimidation to choose this location of all places, next to the most diverse grocery store and on the busiest day as well,” Biagioni siad. “I just wanted to let the patrons of Your DeKalb Farmers Market know that we won’t be intimidated. We’re going to get people out to vote. Black Lives Matter.”
The event took place in Scottdale but was near Clarkston, which is noted for its diversity and large immigrant population, according to the City of Clarkston website.
“This is the Clarkston and Scottdale line so knowing that a majority of the people who come into DeKalb Farmers Market are coming from areas where Trump’s message might seem like they’re not wanted,” Biagioni said. “Any form of intimidation, I feel like we should be balanced with support and encouragement and get people to the polls.”
The Biden supporters were eventually asked to leave by two DeKalb County police officers. Joe notified Lee Smith, president of Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta about the group and Smith called the police, according to the pro-Trump organizers. The Gargiulos were concerned about the Biden supporters being on private property.
Here are more photos from the rallies on Oct. 4:
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