Hays resident Darrell McGinnis describes himself as an old man with a sign.
McGinnis stood outside the U.S. Post Office in Hays at the corner of Eighth and Fort streets in Hays on Tuesday morning, saying he had started his protest a little later than he’d planned due to strong rains that moved through the area overnight.
Holding a sign reading “Vladimir Trump” on one side and “No!” on the other, McGinnis said he was there to protest the favorable comments made Monday by President Donald Trump toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It was awful. It was so anti-American,” said McGinnis, a soft-spoken man who said he is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a retired professor from Fort Hays State University. “How long have we been struggling with communism?”
McGinnis was motivated to go public after watching news reports about the Trump-Putin press conference in which Trump accepted Putin’s denials that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
A professor of ceramics for 31 years, McGinnis said it surprised even him that he was out in front of the post office, which he picked because it’s the only federal building he can think of in town.
“I have never made a sign in my life or walked a sidewalk in my life,” said McGinnis, noting he didn’t even tell his wife until he needed help making his sign of wood, Styrofoam and homemade lettering. “I’m so disturbed by yesterday. I feel so depressed. It is very said. I just don’t want to die with things like this.”
With his oxygen tank in tow, McGinnis was gently shaking hands and allowing picture-taking from approving post office customers going in and out. He said he’d stay as long as he was able, adding that Tuesday’s mild temperature for a July day would help his cause.
McGinnis said Trump’s comments did not surprise him, given Trump’s previous comments about Russia.
“But it just became so painfully obvious — in a press conference before the world,” he said. “Trump sides with Putin against our FBI and CIA.”