SARASOTA - A dueling protest of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters gathered outside Barnacle Bill’s Restaurant on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota Wednesday. They came out over the restaurant owner’s marquee sign supporting Trump. It reads, “NRA Member Concealed Carrier OK, Not Deplorable Vote Trump.”
Trump supporters outnumbered Clinton supporters, a couple of hundred compared to a couple dozen.
The protest was sparked by the power of one word: “deplorable,” used by Clinton to describe some Trump supporters, and was fueled by the business owner’s response on his restaurant marquee.
“That doesn’t make me deplorable, doesn’t make me a racist or bigot. I had enough,” says William Davis, Barnacle Bill’s owner.
Davis says he’d never been political until now. He says, “If the wrong person gets into office we lose the Supreme Court, and change this country forever.”
But making his views public apparently comes at a price.
Davis says, “We’re getting death threats.”
That became an issue when Davis says a week ago he added this message: "NRA concealed carry OK." He says, “I wanted to let them know we weren’t a soft target."
Davis has lost some customers but gained others like Lilly Garcia.
“It takes integrity to do that. It puts his business on the line,” says Garcia.
Davis cites his first amendment right, his freedom of speech.
“I support his right to have a sign say what he thinks. I support our right to say we disagree,” says Tom Walker, Clinton supporter. He joined the protest and says enough with the name calling and death threats.
“I think we ought to raise the level of discourse talk about platforms, issues, the things he stands for and the things she stands for,” says Walker.
Walker says, “I don’t want any violence. I started a barbecue, but now it’s a raging forest fire. It’s out of my control.”
Still, Davis has no plans of taking his sign down before the Nov. 8 election.
He says, “I’m taking it down Nov. 9. I hope to put up a sign saying, 'Congratulations President Trump.'"