Duluth Pack faces backlash from protesters during Ivanka Trump's visit | www.WDIO.com

Duluth Pack faces backlash from protesters during Ivanka Trump's visit

Updated: July 27, 2020 06:54 PM

Protesters gathered outside the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park Monday morning as many voiced disappointment and anger at the store's decision to host Ivanka Trump.

There were police on scene during the protest to make sure things stayed peaceful. The store was supposed to open at noon, but chose to stay closed. People left signs outside the store expressing their objection on the store's decision and the Trump administration.

Duluth Pack has gotten a lot of backlash online and verbally about this and many people have said they will no longer be shopping at Duluth Pack. The proposed Twin Metals Mine got the most attention at the protest.

Protesters gathered outside the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park to voice their disappointment and anger for the store's decision to host Ivanka Trump. | Ben Harper, WDIO Protesters gathered outside the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park to voice their disappointment and anger for the store's decision to host Ivanka Trump. | Ben Harper, WDIO

"I thought how ironic that they would choose the pack stores and that the pack store would be promoting this because Duluth Pack in my mind promotes traveling the Boundary Waters and the Trump administration is trying to put a copper sulfide mine right near the Boundary Waters," said Judy Derauf, a protester.

"I think it is very disingenuous of a store that promotes packs to use in the wilderness and relies on a pristine wilderness for its' business is supporting an administration which has done everything in its' power to basically sell out the edge of our wilderness," said Jen Pearson, a protester.

There were also protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. | Ben Harper, WDIO There were also protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. | Ben Harper, WDIO

Protesters emphasized it's important to protect the Boundary Waters and said President Trump is trying to fast track the mine. They also said the president has not done a good job in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm here to denounce nepotism at all levels of government because it increases incompetence of the sort that we're seeing with the the pandemic response," said Allen Richardson, a protester. "They are in there right now talking about a pledge to America's workers and making all these grand promises to the workforce and my message to them is, is there a pledge to America's workers for the over 140,000 Americans that have been killed by this pandemic crisis which President Trump did not take seriously and constantly downplays the seriousness of it?"

Protesters spoke with a member of the Duluth Police Department while Ivanka Trump was inside Duluth Pack. | Ben Harper, WDIO Protesters spoke with a member of the Duluth Police Department while Ivanka Trump was inside Duluth Pack. | Ben Harper, WDIO

"Everybody here should be protecting the water. Our water is in grave danger and so is our women and our children of all colors," said Giiwinookwe, a protester.

The Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt maintained there will be a rigorous process for Twin Metals by saying, "We will not sacrifice clean air or water for economic development."

There were also protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Protesters stayed across the street of the store at first but later gathering outside the back entrance. They then were back to the front as Ivanka was leaving the store. Some of the protesters banged on the front door after she left.

Duluth Pack president and CEO Tom Sega told WDIO, "This is not a political issue. It's for our employees and the American worker. To be chosen was an honor. We don't make political or social statements."

Sega also said, "It's employees engine that drives everything we do. Today we are signing our pledge to continue to do what we've done for 138 years."

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