Large Trump banner outside Long Island ice cream shop sparks controversy

Stacey Sager Image
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Large Trump banner outside LI ice cream shop sparks controversy
The "In Trump We Trust" sign adorns Roger's Frigate in Port Jefferson, and the mayor claims it's a code violation.

PORT JEFFERSON, Long Island (WABC) -- A large banner reading "In Trump We Trust" placed outside an ice cream shop on Long Island is stirring controversy in the town.

The sign adorns Roger's Frigate in Port Jefferson, and the mayor claims it's a code violation.

The waterfront community is known for its quaint shops, history, and ferries to Connecticut. But this week, the focus has been on the impossible-to-miss banner at the cross of Main Street and West Broadway.

"That's sort of, you know, we're replacing the 'big guy' with Trump's name," resident Michael Strauss said. "I don't know, that's a little over the top."

Trump supporters, though, were all about it.

"I'm happy that there's a Trump sign up there," resident Joanne Pinata said. "I'd hate to see it come down, because I'm a Trump fan. He's helping Americans."

But no matter how you feel politically, Mayor Margot Garaant says the sign needs to go because it's disproportionately large and improperly hung, and they've cited the building's owner for the code violation.

"It's not about whether you support the president or not," she said. "It's about keeping our village safe and having a uniform look. We're a beautiful village, and that's the purpose of the code."

This is not the first time the owner, George Wallis, has put up a sign like this. He was also cited in 2016 when Trump ran for president, then again in 2017 for his inauguration.

Wallis lives in St. James, not Port Jefferson, and he declined to comment. But manager Roger Rutherford insists the sign is good for business.

"The sign went up, very favorable," he said. "People are coming by taking pictures, love the sign and all in support of our president."

What is clear, though, is that it's certainly a talker.

"It's freedom of speech, so whatever, you know?" resident Brian Fee said. "You want to put a Bernie sign up? Put a Bernie sign up. Doesn't matter. Life's too short."

Still, fines could total $2,000 per day if the sign remains.


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