In the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20, New York City has been a hotbed of non-violent protest against the soon-to-be 45th U.S. president.
On Saturday, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore announced he's teamed up with actors Alec Baldwin and Mark Ruffalo to lead a star-studded demonstration Thursday evening outside the Trump International Hotel near Columbus Circle. Writers like Michael Cunningham and Eve Ensler gathered on the steps of the New York Public Library Sunday afternoon to defend freedom of expression under the incoming Trump administration. And at least five local congressional representatives have decided to boycott the swearing-in on Capitol Hill.
However that political action didn't spook Michigan brothers Rob and Mike Cortis, who drove a float they built and dedicated to the president elect through Manhattan Monday and Tuesday.
The Cortis men built their "Presidential Trump Unity Bridge & Trump Mobile" after the final presidential debate in October, Rob wrote on a GoFundMe page raising funds to finance its pre-inauguration tour.
"With all the division this political season, we felt it was important to bring to the forefront issues that unite all Americans together," he explained. "The Trump Unity Bridge is indeed doing that bridging the gap on issues that will unite all Americans together as one under a Donald Trump Presidency."
The red-white-and-blue 30-foot float features a small-scale Statue of Liberty replica and signs bearing such slogans as "1 Flag, 1 Nation, 1 God," and "Secure America's Borders."
The feast for the eyes also blares patriotic music.
The glitzy Trump tribute — "a symbol to all Americans that unites us together, building the BRIDGE of a stronger, safer, more united America, putting America first as one nation, under God, under one flag with freedom, liberty, and justice for all," in Cortis' words — attracted the attention of Trump's son Eric in Michigan in November, when he tweeted a picture of the display with the hashtag #FanOfTheDay.
The Cortises have since taken their bridge and grassroots activism attitude on a road trip across America, spreading their message of unity across the land. Times Square, the Empire State Building, Trump Tower and Fox News Channel are brief stops on their way to Washington D.C., where they hope to participate in the inaugural parade on Friday. Gothamist first reported the Unity Bridge's passage through the Big Apple.
"This means so much to me," Rob Cortis wrote in his fundraising statement, "because I have been told by countless people how much the Unity Bridge helped win Michigan for Donald Trump as well as others who have said 'this bridge could save our country, and unite all Americans.'"
As of Tuesday morning, the Unity Bridge's month-long GoFundMe campaign had raised $430 of its $50,000 goal.