Protesting Donald Trump on Presidents Day in Lewiston. (Sun Journal photo by Steve Collins)

LEWISTON — A Presidents Day rally in front of the closed courthouse drew about 40 people angry President Donald Trump had declared a national emergency in his bid to fund his long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Betty Wilkins of Readfield shares her feelings Monday at a Lisbon Street rally in Lewiston called to counter President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. (Sun Journal photo by Steve Collins)

“I’m outraged by this man,” said Betty Wilkins of Readfield, who said she was thrilled to find a protest against what she called “a power grab” by the president.

Trump declared a national emergency Friday because, he said, he needed “to address the crisis at our southern border and stop crime and drugs from flooding into our nation.”

The announcement followed his failure to convince Congress in the two years since he took office to fund the wall Trump vowed to build during the 2016 presidential campaign. On the campaign trail, he repeatedly said he would make Mexico pay for the wall.

“Trump Is The Real National Emergency,” one sign held by a protester claimed.

Several others called the crisis phony, bogus or fake.

Organized by activist Pat Fogg of Greene as part of a series of protests across the country called for by MoveOn.org, a liberal group, the Lewiston rally brought out more people than Fogg expected.

She said given the snow, she thought it would a smaller group that showed up at Dufresne Plaza to hold signs in the cold.

Anne Burg of Lewiston said she came to the rally despite a light snowfall because “I’m very concerned about preserving our balance of power” between the three branches of government.

Anne Burg of Lewiston calls for President Donald Trump to respect congressional rights at a protest Monday. (Sun Journal photo by Steve Collins)

She said bypassing the constitutional requirement that funding should come from Congress is “not setting a good precedent” no matter which political party controls the White House.

Burg said she hopes the Republican-controlled Senate “will do its job” and force Trump to back down from his emergency declaration.

Wilkins said she has been doing what she can to counter Trump since the day he took office.

“It’s his policies and his continual lying” that gets to her, she said.

Kevin Simpson of Auburn, a member of Resist Central Maine, said he is upset Trump’s policies favor “the upper end of country and the heck with everybody else.”

Kevin Simpson of Auburn is among about 40 people attending a rally Monday to protest President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration in a bid to kick-start construction of a wall on the country’s southern border. (Sun Journal photo by Steve Collins)

He said Trump’s immigration stance is so unreasonable that the president is “deporting people who have a right to be here” while their asylum claims are weighed by federal authorities.

Fogg said she comes to Lewiston for rallies weekly across from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Lisbon Street office because she thinks it is important for people to see there is opposition to what Trump is doing.

She said too many Americans watch what is happening in fear and do not step up to counter what they know is wrong. By taking a public stand, Fogg said, the president’s critics can help break the isolation of those who simply stay home and fret.

But not everybody is on board.

Though a handful of cars driving by beeped in clear support of the rally, one woman rolled down her window and yelled that Trump was right about the wall.

She said if his foes do not want a wall, they should pay the tab for taking care of the problems created by immigrants.

Most studies show, though, that immigrants contribute far more to the economy than it costs the country to have them. They are also significantly less likely to be criminals than native Americans.

All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation oppose the emergency declaration.

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