CATALINA, AZ — It started with a picture, showing restaurant owner Betty Rivas in a red cowboy hat at President Donald Trump’s Phoenix campaign rally in February.
Betty and her husband Jorge Rivas, both immigrants and the owners of Sammy’s Mexican Restaurant in Catalina, said they started getting hateful phone calls and negative reviews on social media.
Supporters joined in to support the Rivas online and started organizing meet ups at Sammy’s.
“If you can think of the most negative and nasty things you can say about a restaurant,” said Jorge Rivas. Then on Sunday, President Trump praised the restaurant in a tweet. Despite getting the city wrong, the endorsement brought hundreds of trump supporters through their doors Monday afternoon.
“It’s crazy good, just to see so many people respond. I want to have the right to say what I feel anytime without being persecuted,” said Jorge Rivas.
“All the criticism they have received is absolutely ridiculous,” said a customer. “Can I call them a snowflake? That’s exactly what I think they are. They push back, trying to hurt people, then we are going to defend them,” said another customer.
Jorge, who was born in El Salvador and was awarded political asylum in the 1980s, said he isn’t bothered by Trump’s immigration policies, which now block most asylum seekers from Central America.
Another meet up of Trump supporters in planned at Sammy’s this Saturday, with patriots coming from Phoenix and Tucson to support their fellow Trump supporters.