A crowd of protesters, some supporters, greet the first lady in Allentown
FOLLOWING: Jill Biden hears local stories of hardship and hope in Lehigh Valley ‘charla’
First Lady Jill Biden walked the sidewalk along Linden Street in Allentown at 2:05 p.m. Wednesday, for her visit scheduled with the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Protesters unhappy with her husband, President Joe Biden, and his 2020 election against former President Donald Trump had gathered earlier in front of the nearby PPL Center. Waving flags and sometimes singing, they far outnumbered the Biden supporters standing in the city streets for the occasion.
“Is she coming here?” Yes! âSaid Jim McKeown, who was in the area where Jill Biden visited the Learning Hub on North Sixth and Linden streets as he pulled into one of the garages in town.
McKeown, wearing a cap and t-shirt from his alma mater, Temple University, ran to his car after being informed of the visit, to pick up campaign signs for Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
âWhat can I say, Republicans are going to destroy the US Constitution,â McKeown said. “That’s all I have to say – and thank goodness for Joe Biden.”
Protesters, of course, would tell you otherwise, and some did to lehighvalleylive.com.
A man in Bethlehem, who declined to give his name, spoke to motorists passing through Joe Biden’s PPL Gas Prices Center, Afghanistan and the Catholic religion.
âWe have an unelected president right now,â he said, saying the evidence was there, but no one is taking the time to prosecute it âin the right wayâ.
There has been no credible evidence since the 2020 election of widespread fraud that would have impacted the outcome of Joe Biden’s victory.
âI am here for our country,â the protester continued, holding a âDon’t blame me, I voted for Trumpâ flag. âI don’t want him to become a communist.
Rozalia Polianska, now from Bethlehem Municipality but originally from Ukraine, said she had similar concerns about the United States becoming communist as she was holding a sign opposing the right to abortion. Beside her, Rick Werkheiser, a resident of Nazareth, said he feared Democrats like the Bidens would lead America to one world government with one currency.
âThe big problem for me is globalism and Democrats are in cahoots with the whole movement,â he said, sporting a T-shirt from Victaulic, where he worked before he retired.
Allentown police cordoned off Sixth and Linden streets half a block in each direction before the first lady arrived. Parents have been granted permission to access The Learning Hub children’s community services at 101 N. Sixth St. to pick up their children.
Protesters descending from the PPL center typically gathered in the alley leading to the Allentown transport hub, which was closed with LANTA stops rerouted due to the event. It was on the corner of North Sixth Street from where the first lady entered for her visit.
The lockdown meant the handful of Biden supporters shared the sidewalk with the protesters. Holding a pink sign saying “Love Jill & Joe Too!” Was Karen Schlegel, who walked 21st and Linden Streets to show her support.
âI really think she’s good and that she cares about everyone, especially the kids,â Schlegel said.
Protesters shouted that Joe Biden is a murderer of children and soldiers in Afghanistan. They sang, “Come on Brandon,” a reference to a sports venue song born from a bad hearing from a commentator on a curse named Biden. A man with a megaphone berated anyone wearing a mask.
“We don’t want the jab,” he intoned, continuing, “I don’t want the jab, I don’t know about them.”
Mask warrants on board transport and coronavirus vaccine warrants for employers of a certain size brought out one of the protesters, he said, offering his name only as Jim.
“I don’t like liars,” he said, accusing Joe Biden of going back on his promises that there would be no such warrants.
He joined Hannah German, of Bethlehem, in holding flags that preceded “Biden” with a curse, and one in support of “Trump 2024”.
âEverything,â German said of what prompted her to protest. “They’re ruining our country, 2021 is the year our country went to shit.”
The first lady traveled from Chicago to the Lehigh Valley, as she continued her series of conversations and listening sessions with the Hispanic community across the country.
Allentown in 2019 was 52.5% Hispanic or Latino, well above the state average of 7.8%, according to the US Census.
She and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and US Representative Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley, were in town to visit The Learning Hub and to host a charla, Spanish to chat , the White House had announced.
The previous and most recent sitting First Lady to visit the Lehigh Valley was Michelle Obama in August 2012.
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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected].