CLEVELAND — On the edge of a protest zone at the Republican convention, a Donald Trump admirer and a Black Lives Matter supporter shook hands, and then went their separate ways.
The handshake was not a sign that they found some sort of common ground. Rather it was, “an understanding to agree to disagree,” said Cedric White Jr.
White is a 29-year-old Cleveland native. He is African-American and was wearing a black shirt with the words “Black Lives Matter”emblazoned in large white letters.
He was standing on the edge of Cleveland’s Public Square when Trump supporter Ronald Pittman approached him. Public Square is one of the designated protest areas during the convention. Protesters gathered there Thursday with scores of police officers on hand.
“He asked me to look at the cops. Do I believe they deserve to be killed? No,” White said.
Pittman, 63 of Milton, Florida, said he approached White to talk about “Blue Lives Matter,” a slogan expressing support for the police. Pittman, who was wearing a black “Bikers for Trump” shirt, said he wasn’t looking for a confrontation.
“We had a good interaction,” the Floridian said. “He doesn’t advocate the shooting of cops.”
It has not been uncommon to see individuals on opposite sides of the political spectrum engaging one another in Public Square. On the hot Thursday afternoon, protesters milled about, with some groups more vocal and confrontational than others. Officers continued to patrol the area, and stood between groups that angrily faced off.