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After anti-Trump protests, the president’s fans organize their own rallies

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Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are holding rallies in towns and cities across the country on Monday, partly as a rebuttal to waves of anti-Trump protests that have taken place since the Republican’s election last November.

Trump is not scheduled to appear at any of this week’s rallies, which are being held in cities small and large, from coast to coast. The venues range from a park in the small town of Gravette, Arkansas, to the plaza outside the Georgia State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta.

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Some of the rally organizers came out of the Tea Party movement, a large informal network of anti-establishment conservatives that has become an increasingly powerful force in Republican politics since its beginnings in 2009.

A group called Main Street Patriots said it helped organize so-called Spirit of America rallies in at least 33 of the 50 states, both on Monday and Saturday.

“Unlike those protesting against President Trump’s vision, we are a diverse coalition that are the heart and soul of America that wants our nation to fulfill our potential, as the greatest nation on God’s green earth!” organizers wrote on the group’s website.

“Blue-collar voters helped propel President Trump to victory and these rallies will help provide those forgotten voices a mechanism so they can be heard,” they said.

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Raucous rallies, often filling sports arenas, became a hallmark of Trump’s 17-month presidential campaign, in contrast with lower-key events staged by his main rival, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s candidate.

Last weekend, Trump rekindled that campaign energy for the first time since his election in a characteristically freewheeling rally in Melbourne, Florida.

But Trump’s crowds have rarely regrouped since November’s election, while large protests by people who opposed Trump’s policies, particularly his crackdown on immigration, have become a frequent occurrence in the country’s cities.

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Among the biggest was the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, where attendance far exceeded the crowds who attended Trump’s inauguration the previous day.

Betty Blanco, who is organizing the Spirit of America rally in Denver, was in Washington for the women’s march. She said she was saddened by what she saw.

“I had the opportunity to ride on the subway with the women marchers,” she said in a telephone interview. “They were excited, they were happy, but I never heard them talking about women’s rights, but I did hear them trashing Trump, and I got the idea they were just mad because they lost the election.”

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The retired schoolteacher, who now writes children’s books and runs a local Tea Party affiliate, said the pro-Trump rallies would be more respectful, even if they might not prove quite as large.

“I don’t know that you’ll see those big, gigantic, hundreds of thousands of people like the Women’s March,” said Rob Maness, a 55-year-old former Air Force colonel in New Orleans helping organize the nationwide effort. “I think they’ll be smaller, patriotic, peaceful – those kind of things.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China

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Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.

Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.

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Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs

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President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.

But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.

"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.

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Persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom in Sudan

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Sudan's Christians suffered decades of persecution under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. Now they hope his downfall will give the religious freedom they have long prayed for.

Deep within the maze of dusty alleys that honeycomb Omdurman, Khartoum's sprawling twin city, Yousef Zamgila's church is not visible from the street.

It is hidden in the courtyard of a friend's home and consists of a few iron benches, a pulpit and crosses hastily painted on pillars holding a corrugated roof.

"The previous centre got destroyed because we didn't have the right papers. They always refused... So we use the land of our neighbours," says the Lutheran reverend.

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