Vice President Pence’s visit draws protesters and supporters

Vice President Pence’s visit draws protesters and supporters

The first Vice Presidential visit to Spokane in more than a decade drew crowds of supporters and protesters outside the Spokane Convention Center Tuesday.

Vice President Mike Pence arrived Tuesday afternoon and made his way to the convention center for a fundraiser in support of congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is in the middle of a campaign to keep her fifth district seat.

The protests on Spokane Falls Boulevard grew as the day went on. At 2:30, when the event started, there were about a dozen protesters and supporters speaking out, facing off across the street from each other. As the event let out at 5 p.m., the protest grew. Hundreds of people from each side were chanting back and forth. Spokane Police were on hand as they touched on a wide range of issues — from the Brett Kavanaugh allegations to the economy and abortion.

Wendy Fishburne was out with her family and told KXLY4 she was supporting those who support Pence and McMorris Rodgers. A handful of Pence supporters stood next to the line of people waiting to get into the fundraiser.

“You know you don’t see a lot of conservatives out here because we’re private business people, so you have to take time off, so we’re not usually activists,” Fishburne said. “We’re eager to get people enthused, mobilize and support. You know, put your time where your beliefs are.”

Fishburne believes the Trump administration has followed through on its campaign promises.

“The American machine is booming and when the American machine booms, we’re the most charitable nation on the planet,” Fishburne said. “People that are happy that our economy is booming, that our employment is down and that there are promises being kept.”

Across the street were two Americans who are not happy with the state of the country. Samantha Archer and her friend Derrek Baughn were protesting for equal rights for people with disabilities and the transgender community. While they don’t agree with Fishburne, they were grateful for the freedom to protest.

“It hurts that people take that freedom away from us, that people take that humanity away from us,” Baughn said. “Most people think that just, you believe what you believe but when you actually stand out here and you protest, and you put those words with a meaning, it adds a whole other value to it.”

Archer spoke out for survivors of sexual assault.

“It happened to me, and I deserve respect and I deserve justice for what happened to me,” Archer said. “Mike Pence, he believes exactly the opposite of me. And I mean, that’s perfectly okay. It’s perfectly okay to have your own opinions and your thoughts.”

The protest got heated as the event let out Tuesday evening as supporters of McMorris Rodgers made their way out of the convention center, clashing with protesters across the street on Spokane Falls Boulevard. While KXLY4 was outside, Spokane Police did not arrest anyone.