Backers of President Donald Trump were scheduled to hold rallies across the country Saturday.
The “Spirit of America” rallies are being organized by a group called the Main Street Patriots, which is made up of some of the same people that founded the Tea Party movement eight years ago to voice concerns about the way the federal government operates.
Debbie Dooley, a leader of the group and co-founder of the Tea Party, told Time magazine the rallies planned for Saturday are meant to be a positive response to recent negative events held by Trump’s political rivals.
“This is not a Tea Party rally,” she told Time. “We’re not anti-this and anti-that. We’re very focused on not having negative signs, making sure they’re positive and upbeat.”
Ralph King, a founder of the Main Street Patriots, told Cleveland.com, though, he thinks the rallies are meant to shame Republicans who haven’t embraced Trump, more so than to counter Democrat opposition.
“Donald Trump’s biggest road block is going to be the Republicans,” King told the website.
Rich Black, a rally organizer in Berkeley, California, told the local CBS station in that city, the rally there is also meant to serve as “a march for free speech,” in response to violent protests at the University of California Berkeley last month that forced conservative writer Milo Yiannopolous to cancel a scheduled speaking engagement.
“This cannot go unchallenged anymore,” Black told the TV station. “What you saw on Feb 1, innocent people including bystanders being physically assaulted by these thugs. Let’s call it what it is.”
At least 60 pro-Trump rallies are scheduled to take place in cities across America Saturday, in large cities like Washington, towns like Conway, South Carolina (population: 19,000), and cities as far removed as Honolulu, Hawaii.