Attendance at Thursday’s presidential debate was strictly limited out of deference to the risks posed by COVID-19, but hundreds of revelers and protesters lined the streets of Nashville to air their political opinions.
President Donald Trump arrived in Nashville around 3 p.m. and went first to a $250,000 per person fundraiser at the downtown J.W. Marriott. Guests included singer Kid Rock and Damon Hininger, president of private prison company CoreCivic.
Following his mid-afternoon walk through at Belmont University, the site of the debate, Democratic nominee Joe Biden retired to a private house in Green Hills. Sources said the Biden camp viewed a private home as more secure than a hotel.
Just off the Belmont campus, Indivisible Tennessean, a non-partisan activist group, had organized a anti-Trump protest that drew several hundred people, including representatives from progressive groups that included labor unions and Our Revolution, a spin off from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaigns. On the opposite side of the street, an organic crowd of Trump supporters thronged, wearing clothing emblazoned with Trump’s face and waving Trump 2020 flags.
On one corner, a shirtless man gyrated to dance music while waving a Gadsden flag. A few feet from him, a man decrying abortion yelled through a bullhorn at the PETA representatives: “Thank you for not eating meat!,” he said. “It makes steaks cheaper for me.”
Photojournalists John Partipilo, Ray Di Pietro and Alex Kent captured the scenes.
(Featured photo by Ray Di Pietro.)