A group of protesters calling themselves “Veterans VS Hate,” an anti-Donald Trump group led by Hillary Clinton supporters, has been rallying outside the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week. The group joined protesters to “Wall off Trump.”
McCoy’s public Facebook page states he’s from North Kingston, R.I., and lives in New York. His LinkedIn account states he’s the communications director and co-founder of High Ground Veterans Advocacy and a former intern for U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.). Here’s what you need to know about McCoy and Vets VS Hate:
1. McCoy Supports Hillary Clinton for President But Doesn’t Work for Her Campaign
A May protest of veterans outside Trump Tower was organized by Clinton’s campaign, according to The Daily Beast. McCoy served as a spokesman for the demonstrators — and went to great lengths to hide the Clinton campaign’s involvement with organizing the demonstration, the Daily Beast reported.
“We’re not affiliated with any campaign, we’re not affiliated with any organization,” McCoy told reporters, saying the protesters used “grassroots organizing techniques, we came together over social media.”
“Then, reached by phone after the event, McCoy acknowledged that the Clinton campaign organized the conference call bringing together possible attendees to the protest,” the Daily Beast reported.
McCoy appeared on CNN and said, however, he was not working for the Clinton campaign:
2. McCoy Publicly Spars With Trump Supporter Al Baldasaro
New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro is the Trump campaign’s veterans advisor and a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps — and he isn’t a big fan of McCoy:
“You got a guy outside, McCoy, go do a Google search on his Facebook. He’s out there, his picture is with Clinton. They are using veterans as political pawns, it must stop Donald Trump is doing this from the heart. You’re all focused on the way he’s raising money and you’re not looking at the 22 veterans that are killing each other every day…,” Baldasaro said.
The feuding began when Trump overstated the amount of money he donated to veterans organizations, and McCoy organized the initial protest.
3. Vets VS Hate: ‘United Against Rampant Hate’
Although they don’t have a large following, Vets Vs Hate has been taking on the Trump campaign since at least May when McCoy and the Clinton campaign organized the protest outside the Trump Tower in New York. They turned their efforts to the 2016 Republican National Convention where Trump solidified his spot as the GOP candidate for the White House.
“We’ve come together to challenge the hate rhetoric that has been coming out of the Trump campaign since the beginning,” Ramond Curtis, an Iraq veteran, told KOLR.
McCoy and his group, along with immigration advocates, dressed in ponchos with brick and chainlink fence painted on — attempting to “wall off Trump” — took to the streets in Cleveland:
The group has this video on its Facebook page:
4. They Want to ‘Wall Off Trump’ Instead of Mexico
Cleveland’s downtown Public Square was alive with protesters during the GOP convention, but the “Wall Off Trump” group, which includes McCoy and Vets Vs Hate, was gaining national recognition Wednesday.
The purpose was to form “a human wall… to mock Donald Trump’s plan to seal off the Mexican border,” according to the Associated Press.
“If he wants a wall we’ll give him one,” veteran Curtis posted to Facebook:
The protesters gathered outside the Quicken Loans Arena, where the convention is being held, to slow down conventiongoers, The Hill reported.
5. At Issue is Trump’s Promised Donations to Veterans Groups
“(Of) the $6 million that Donald Trump supposedly raised for veterans charities, a significant portion of that money either never existed or it just vanished,” Perry O’Brien, 34, who served in Afghanistan for over three years, told the Daily News.
According to the Daily News: “O’Brien and McCoy, whose anti-Trump efforts have taken on the ‘#VetsVsHate’ hashtag on social media, have also opposed the mogul’s plan to privatize the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and his suggestions that the military should target the families of terrorists.”