MIDDLETOWN -- More than 200 supporters of President Trump gathered on Monday for the first of two planned rallies to promote the president's "Contract with the American Voter."
The protesters lined up along the side of Route 35 outside the ShopRite Plaza holding signs that read, "We support our president," and "Make America great again."
"He's everyone's president, not just ours," said Patrick Cranwell, 22, of Point Pleasant.
After the rally, many in the large crowd headed to Red Bank to protest a 6 p.m. meeting by the borough's Human Relations Advisory Committee over whether to recommend Red Bank become a "sanctuary city."
Katherine Kizun, of Keyport, was standing near the chanting crowd outside the ShopRite Plaza, which cheered every time a car honked as it drove by.
"I'm opposed to it," she said, referring to making Red Bank or any municipality a sanctuary city. "This should be a country of laws, and it would be against the law to give sanctuary."
There was a small group of counter protesters also set up along Route 35 who came to speak out against Trump's immigration policy.
"We are standing in solidarity with the immigrants and refugees of New Jersey and across the country," said Dan Marrone, 18, of Middletown.
Joseph Rudy Rullo, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, joined the pro-Trump rally and said he, too, opposed municipalities declaring sanctuary status.
Rullo, of Little Egg Harbor, operates a landscaping business and said he is constantly frustrated by other landscaping businesses hiring unauthorized immigrant workers.
"I do everything the right way," he said. "I'm not a racist, I'm just upset. I can barely make ends meet ... And I'm so happy things are going to change."
Another rally is planned for March 4 at the same plaza between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
The rallies -- which are affiliated with the "Main Street Patriots" activist group -- were part of more than 70 similar events held across the United States on Monday in support of Trump's agenda.
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