PREBLE — Bruce Tytler stood outside of Suit-Kote on the side of Route 281 Monday morning toting a sign and chanting.
His sign read: “Kindness is not a weakness and cruelty is not a strength.”
Tytler, a member of Indivisible Cortland County and a former Cortland mayor, said the words were in response to the administration’s stance on borders and the separation of migrant children from their parents.
Other protesters gathered along Route 281 as well. Inside Suit-Kote, Ivanka Trump toured the facility and met with Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) as well as county government and business figures.
Scores of people — some with Indivisible Cortland County, some with Citizen Action of New York and others — gathered along both sides of Route 281. State police and Cortland County sheriff’s officers were stationed a couple of hundred yards apart to direct through-traffic. Every once in a while the group would chant. “What do we want? Democracy. When do we want it? Now.”
Other times they chanted, “Shame,” over and over again.
A number of cars driving by honked their horns.
Lisa Hoeschele, along with a few others, began organizing the protest Friday to call out the administration’s policies. “That policies of the administration are dangerous and immoral and don’t represent our values,” Hoeschele said.
Some of the protesters had been standing along Route 281 as early as 7:30 a.m. “We didn’t know when they’d close the road,” Hoeschele said.
During the visit, Trump and Tenney met with Frank Suits Jr., owner of Suit-Kote, and other county leaders. Upon arriving at the site in Preble around 9 a.m. Trump, Tenney and members of the Suits family took a quick tour of part of the facility.
Protesters stand outside Suit-Kote in Preble Monday as Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) and Ivanka Trump leave for Syracuse.
Outside, protesters held signs with different messages. One read “Tenney, Trump, who is your next target?” and accompanied photos of the elderly and a baby onesie with bars on it.
Another read, “Reunite Families Now.”
“Trump regime = cruelty,” read another. A couple of men held signs in support reading, “Ivanka for president 2024-32.”
Colleen Kattau, another member of Indivisible, said she wanted to know why people like Trump and Tenney only come to Suit-Kote when they want to visit. “I want to know why they don’t go to south Main Street,” she said.
One of the main reason Kattau was protesting was to protect social safety. “And to debunk their tainted view of what patriotism is,” she said.