“I’m here to support Trump and stand for freedom,” said Mitchell, who was wearing a “Trump won 2020” sticker. Biden, Mitchell added, is “is in there illegally.”
Biden visited Boise as part of a swing through three Western states to promote his administration’s use of a wartime law to aid in wildfire preparedness, survey wildfire damage and push his economic agenda. He arrived at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise late Monday morning to meet with fire officials and Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican. Lisa Mitchell, 65, of Middleton, Idaho, said she showed up to demonstrate because she doesn’t believe the 2020 election was valid and thinks former President Donald Trump actually won. Though some of former President Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters believe his continued claims that the presidential election was stolen, there is no evidence of widespread fraud and Republican and Democratic election officials certified the election as valid. Courts have also repeatedly rejected lawsuits claiming the election was tainted.
About a half-dozen Boise police officers were stationed at the entrance to the National Interagency Fire Center and other law enforcement officers patrolled the area on motorcycles. Police estimated the number of protesters to be at least 1,000 at its peak. The complex that houses the center is generally closed to the public and the protesters gathered outside its entrance. Many protesters carried expletive-laden signs or waved U.S. flags hung upside down as a signal of distress.
Biden was also scheduled to visit Sacramento, California, and Denver during the two-day trip and will campaign in California for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall election on Tuesday. His administration last month activated the Defense Production Act to boost supplies from a U.S. Forest Service firefighting equipment supplier. Wildfire activity has been growing increasingly extreme across the West. Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in recent decades and that it will continue to make wildfires and weather more extreme and destructive.
Among the demonstrators was Chris Burns, of Boise, who said he attended the protest because “I’m against everything Biden is for.” Burns said he was irate over the president’s sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans announced last Thursday. The vaccine requirement says that all employers with more than 100 workers must require them to be vaccinated or test workers for the virus weekly. Workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also have to be fully vaccinated, as well as employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government.
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