Merchant shouts ‘Trump’ from his rooftop
Published 12:30 pm, Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Santo Silvestro is proclaiming his admiration for U.S. presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump from his rooftop.
Silvestro, who owns the Veggie Barn at 22 Cross Street, had “Trump” painted to fill both sides of the pitched roof of the long-standing Cross Street deli last week.
“I’m not happy with the status quo,” Silvestro said. “Some people like the sign, and others don’t and maybe I have a little different way of expressing myself.”
Silvestro said the sign expresses his support of Trump’s platform and Silvestro’s growing impatience with what he sees as ineffectual establishment politicians in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
The emergence of Trump, a businessman and real estate developer at the front of the pack of the wide field of Republican candidates, is not a surprise to Silvestro, who believes Trump is likely to favor policies protecting American companies, he said.
“I’ve actually taken a dislike to politicians in both parties who like the status quo,” Silvestro said. “Nothing ever gets done and everything goes from committee to committee, to subcommittee. We need a business person in the White House.”
Silvestro said he hopes Latino-Americans are not offended by the sign, and said he takes issue with Trump’s more hard-line positions such as deporting millions of illegal immigrants and other controversial statements. Nonetheless, Silvestro said he thinks the next president should do something to document foreigners in the country and ensure they pay income taxes.
“You can’t deport 11 million people but you have to find a solution,” Silvestro said. “I know that Donald Trump probably has thousands of Spanish people who work for him, and I also have many that work for me. But I want everyone to be accountable and legal. They are great workers and a vital part of our economy. But they need to be legitimized.”
Silvestro said he did not run the sign by local land use officials, but believed the painted roof didn’t violate local regulations.
“I’m exercising my First Amendment rights,” Silvestro said. “If there was any kind of ordinance I violated I guess I would take it down.”