Protesters threw beer and opened a can of pepper spray during a visit from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) visit to the Town Pump Tavern in Detroit on Sunday night where she was slated to campaign for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and participate in an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly.
Palin was in Michigan as part of a series of stops in the state planned by the Trump campaign in the leadup to the election amid a tightening race in the state, which hasn’t been won by a Republican since 1988. Clinton currently leads by five points, according to an aggregate of polls, and has stepped up her presence in Michigan as well.
Shortly after Palin’s arrival at the Detroit bar, two men began to yell obscenities and anti-Trump rhetoric before they were removed by the owner. According to an eyewitness, a woman threw beer on the bar owner while he was walking the men out of the bar.
“I saw two guys being dispersed while Palin was talking (to the crowd), and they were being put out by what I understand to be the bar’s owner,” the eyewitness said. “And then this woman who was sitting at the bar, who was drinking a beer, splashed it on the owner as he was escorting the men out. This caused him to react in a violent way — he threw them all out.”
Once outside, the two men continued to cause a disturbance, knocking on the windows and yelling Palin’s name, prompting her to respond directly.
“I wish you had the guts to come in here and say that to my face,” she said to the protesters through an open window.
The direct engagement between Palin and the protesters led several patrons to leave the establishment and confront the protesters. One man at the event, according to the eyewitness, used pepper spray.
“The guys who were put outside were beating on the window, and some guys went outside,” the eyewitness said. “Then the protesters were trying to come back in but then the next thing I knew there was pepper spray. Me and the rest of the people sitting near the door couldn’t breathe all of a sudden. Of course the man was trying to spray it at the protesters, but the wind took it back inside.”
Shortly thereafter, two police officers arrived at the tavern and dispersed the protesters. Palin then conducted the interview in front of a small crowd of about 50 supporters without further issue.
Palin also made stops in Cheboygan, Alpena and Midland during the weekend.
In her interview for “The O’Reilly Factor,” Palin said she was confident in Trump’s ability to win Michigan given the state’s industrial history.
“There is no reason why (Trump) wouldn’t win here,” Palin said. “There are these ‘Reagan Democrats’ here, these blue-collar, hard-working Americans here. Maybe they are registered as Democrats, but they so want these positive changes for their businesses and for that industry to be ushered in.”
Palin also voiced her ambivalence toward polls, which show the Clinton campaign maintaining their statewide lead.
“As I’ve said before, Bill, polls are only good for strippers and for cross-country skiers,” Palin said.
Following her interviews, Palin left the Town Pump Tavern after shaking hands and taking photos with supporters.