2020 | Coronavirus

Some confrontations break out between Trump supporters, critics on Saturday at Walter Reed

Police report a ‘few scuffles’

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Trump supporters gathered at Walter Reed in Bethesda cheer as fellow supporters drive by, along Rockville Pike.

Photos by Caitlynn Peetz

As crowds gathered on Saturday outside of Bethesda’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, supporters and critics of President Donald Trump occasionally clashed. Trump, who announced early Friday morning he had tested positive for COVID-19, is undergoing treatment at Walter Reed.

A throng of about 50 supporters, many who were not from Montgomery County or wearing masks, lined Rockville Pike outside of the hospital in a show of support for the president on Saturday afternoon. Sometimes, when a Trump critic infiltrated the crowd, there were tense arguments, but they were usually resolved quickly.

Montgomery County police on scene said there had been a “few scuffles” throughout the day, but “nothing major.”

In one incident, a group of four local teenagers stood on the fringes of the crowd and began chanting, “Black lives matter.” Led by a young man with a bullhorn, some of the Trump supporters began chanting over the teens, “blue lives matter.”

One woman confronted the teens and said they were too young to understand politics, and that they “don’t even have jobs.”

A man got between the two groups and told them to “break it up,” but they continued arguing.

The man with the bullhorn said a sign that read “Black lives matter” should instead read “criminal lives matter.” He challenged the teens to “lecture me on any dead criminal of your choice.” He later offered to debate about Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed by police in Kentucky, or George Floyd, a Black man killed by police in Minneapolis.

Trump supporters pack into a pickup truck on Rockville Pike.

“That’s the most racist thing I’ve ever heard,” one girl said back.

The confrontation calmed shortly after.

Most of the people outside of the hospital on Saturday afternoon were peaceful and kept to themselves, cheering as cars drove by and honked to indicate support. Most were dressed in Trump gear and many waved Trump flags.

People left signs offering well-wishes to President Donald Trump.
A Trump supporter waves a flag on Saturday outside of Walter Reed.
A woman gives a thumbs-up to cars passing on Rockville Pike.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com