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Thomas Nguyen, 61, took his place in a line of Trump supporters at a rally Saturday on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, sporting a “Vietnamese Americans for Trump” T-shirt and waving an American flag.
Nguyen, an accountant, was incensed by what he described as the Democrats’ attempts to “steal” the election with illegitimate votes. President Trump and his supporters have accused Democrats of election fraud, offering no evidence to back it up. So far, courts have rejected GOP efforts to stop the voting counting over unfounded fraud concerns.
Asked if he would recognize Joe Biden as president should Trump concede, Nguyen said, “He will never concede, because the righteous will always win.”
It was a dejecting ending to a divisive campaign for Trump supporters in California. Far outnumbered in a deep blue state, the Trump faithful had been gathering for rallies in Beverly Hills for several weeks. They knew they were not going to turn California but wanted to show the president that he had some support here.
The small group of supporters who came Saturday said they fear what will happen once Trump leaves office.
Nguyen approves of Trump’s approach to economic regulation, his handling of the pandemic — “He’s done an excellent job” — and his elevating conservative justices to the United States Supreme Court.
Nguyen criticized Biden supporters who streamed past, many with middle fingers extended and the song “F— Donald Trump” blasting from their speakers. “They say bad words: ‘F Trump.’ They even have a song,” he said. “We don’t say, 'F Biden.’”
Unlike most people at the rally, Nguyen was wearing a mask, but he explained that he only wore it because it was emblazoned with Trump’s face.
Carrie Johnson, who drove to Beverly Hills in a caravan from Mission Viejo, said she doesn’t recognize the Associated Press and other media (including Fox News) calling the race in Biden’s favor.
“The media doesn’t decide the election — the people do,” she said.
Were Biden to take office, Johnson said she wouldn’t recognize him as president.
“I don’t think any of us are going to acknowledge Biden as our president,” she said.
Johnson, who lives in Orange County, said she is particularly concerned about “national mask mandates” and “mass vaccines” she worries could be coming, and beyond that, an erosion of civil liberties.
She added it might take a Biden administration for "Americans to wake up and realize what we have."
Across most of L.A., there were celebrations in the street for Biden. But in Beverly Hills, the Trump supporter did get a bit of support. “Don’t lose hope!” one woman called out from a yellow Jeep, which made several rounds around the Beverly Hills rally, decorated in several Trump and American flags and a sign that read, “Voter fraud is real in America.”
Just hours after networks called the election for Biden, Trump supporters began gathering at California’s Capitol, where a smaller contingent of Biden supporters also staked out a spot on a street corner, waving sings for the president-elect as a caravan of a dozen cars with Trump and American flags went by.
While the two sides were mostly peaceful, tempers were on edge. At an intersection, a skateboarder crossing in front of a blue Jeep with a large Trump flag gave its occupants double middle fingers before spitting on the vehicle and riding away. The driver of the Jeep jumped out and gave chase for about half a block before giving up.
Trump and Biden supporters came face to face at an intersection near the Capitol with neither side willing to cede ground or the election. They screamed at each other that the other candidate was racist and their man had won.
Dozens gathered along the Huntington Beach Pier divided in two camps of Biden and Trump supporters. The sound of cars honking nearly drowned out the rain. Danielle Manatt and Destinee Nicholson, both 25, cheered and shouted as cars with Biden signs passed and booed at cars with Trump flags.
The two Biden supporters awoke this morning and popped Champagne. They didn’t plan on joining the rally, but saw a lone Biden supporter at the corner as they were leaving from Starbucks with their chestnut praline lattes. As young women in a conservative city, they knew they should join.
The women’s rights advocates could not wait to see Harris at the helm. It brought the best friends to tears.
“She’s opened doors for all of us, we shouldn’t have to argue that women should have rights to their own bodies,” Manatt said. “It’s like we’ve been going back in time,” Nicholson said. The two Huntington Beach residents were shocked to see their city become the poster child of Trumpism this year.
They called the surrounding Trump supporters embarrassing.
“Since I’m white, I haven’t had to worry that much, but a lot of my friends aren’t, and they’re worried sick,” Nicholson said. “They deserve to be here just as much as I do. My ancestors are from France so what makes me more important than them, just because they came here in the 1800s doesn’t make them any different.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.