WASHINGTON — The clatter of horse hooves echoed off the buildings in downtown D.C. as two dozen horseback riders made their way into the city with a police escort.
They were dressed in cowboy gear and held American flags along with blue flags that said “Trump” as they rode toward the White House.
Friday’s arrival concluded an eight-day ride from Cumberland, Maryland, that began on Feb. 15, the same day President Donald Trump declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. The start day wasn’t a coincidence for the group: They decided to depart the day of the announcement to support Trump’s decision.
“We support the president through the actions that he’s taken as far as securing our border,” said organizer Couy Griffin of Cowboys for Trump.
Griffin, of New Mexico, said that the ride began as an idea posted to a GoFundMe page, and that after donations of more than $18,000, he was able to buy airfare to Maryland for all those who participated.
Democrats have vowed to fight Trump’s decision to declare the emergency in order to secure funding for his promised border wall without the help of Congress. Also challenging the president’s decision: 16 states that are suing the president over the declaration.
With the news of the lawsuits, Griffin said he felt it was important the riders come to D.C. and show their support for the president on Capitol Hill.
“We’re directly affected in New Mexico by the border situation,” Griffin said.
For Griffin, the group is not anti-immigration, he said, but they feel more needs to be done to secure the nation’s southern border.
“We want to welcome immigrants to come into our country, but they have to go through the legal processes,” Griffin said.
The group rode 25 miles a day to get to the nation’s capital, much of the ride taking place along the C&O Canal towpath in Maryland.
Though the ride was enjoyable, Griffin said it wasn’t always easy. “We rode through some pretty severe weather, as far as snow and ice,” he said.
Wolf Portugal said that as a Native American, he decided to take part in the ride to support what Trump is doing. “I can safely say if the Native American Indian could build walls, they would have built them,” he said.
Kina Davis, of Cumberland, owns a horse farm that donated the horses that the riders used to get from her farm to the capital.
“I am just out here to support the Cowboys for Trump. I believe in the cause. I believe in our president,” Davis said.
One of the members of the group made a cowboy hat for the president in case they saw him. They didn’t, but they hope to get it to him in the near future.