Planet Princeton

On Nassau Street, a Spirited Debate about the Presidential Race (Video)

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s biggeat supporter in Princeton is a man named Lee Eric Newton who has become a fixture on Nassau Street, sitting in front of the Fitzrandolph Gate holding Trump/Pence campaign signs on most days.

Newton, who grew up in Princeton, is a businessman who is fluent in Mandarin. The 52-year-old is also a single father who has been battling cancer for the past six years. He lives on Alexander Road, where his Trump signs are prominently displayed and often snatched. He promptly replaces the signs, determined not to let others take away his first amendment right to freedom of speech, he says.

Sometimes as people pass him, they yell profanities, give him the finger, or call him a racist. “They don’t even know me or my family history,” says Newton, who attended the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church as a child and whose father helped build the first interracial middle-class housing development in Princeton.

This Monday afternoon was different. Leon Rainbow, an artist who works at a graphic design firm in downtown Princeton, stopped by to chat with Newton and recorded their conversation. Both were surprised by the civil but lively discussion they had.

“He was not like some of the university and town people, even the elderly, who yell profanities at me,”  Newton says.

Rainbow says he appreciated the opportunity to try to understand an opposing point of view.

Although we are never going to see eye to eye, I respect him for having an open dialog with me,” Rainbow says. “I walk by him on my break and see him outside of his house with Trump signs. I could not simply walk by anymore.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Joe

    Newton said he likes Trump because he’s anti-establishment. Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders are/were anti-establishment candidates and they are not narcissistic pathological liars. Of course Stein can’t win and Bernie lost to HRC. Trump appeals to the lowest common denominator: racists, xenophobes, misogynists, climate change deniers and homophobes. His economic policies would be Bushonomics all over again.

  • Thomas Rooney

    Mr. Newton is a hero. The young man asking the questions was not very well informed but he was making the effort.

  • Robert Dana

    It’s too bad Donald Trump is borderline psychotic. He has raised many valid concerns, which, if articulated and sheparded by a more careful & thoughtful candidate, would have gone a long way toward an easy Republican victory in two weeks.

    Mrs. Clinton is the poster child for everything that is wrong with our politics. As with her husband’s indiscretions, which enabled her to win a Senate seat in a State with which she had little contact (other than shopping), she’ll benefit once again by the despicable behavior of a man.

    That is so tragic because there are so many more capable and deserving women for the Presidency.

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