It was just a spontaneous idea, conservative activist Scott Presler said, in explaining how he came to oversee almost 100 people who have volunteered to pick up trash in Baltimore.
“My folks always told me, ‘Don’t ever offer a problem without offering a solution,’” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times.
When President Donald Trump recently chided Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for squalid conditions in the congressman’s district, which includes downtown and West Baltimore, political talking heads offered their two cents on the matter, many focusing on Trump’s choice of words.
Presler, however, decided to act.
“I’m so tired of people saying, ‘We should do this, we should do that’ … I was just like, ‘I’ve had it. I’m going to go to Baltimore, even if it’s just me on a street corner picking up trash,’” he said.
He put out a notice on July 28 to his more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, asking if anybody wanted to join him. By the next day, he had almost 100 volunteers, about half of them from Baltimore and the rest from across the country.
“I think this is going to be pretty significant,” Presler said.
Presler is known for his high-energy style in organizing voter registration drives and conservative activism workshops.
He quickly set up a spreadsheet and began to put together the plan—all volunteers will congregate next week at a designated location, sign in, receive gloves, trash bags, and water, and disperse into two neighborhoods that locals have guaranteed have “ample amounts of trash” to pick up, Presler said. He added that the numerous donations he has received will allow him to arrange for dumpsters, so trash collected during the initiative can be properly disposed of.
Some of the poorer areas of the city have had issues with littering and illegal dumping for years, made worse by the abandoned buildings and empty lots left behind by people who fled the pervasive and interconnected problems of violent crime and lack of economic opportunity.
Not a Rally
While Presler encourages participants to come wearing their pro-Trump apparel, he said the initiative isn’t a campaign rally.
“I just want the citizens of Baltimore to see [that] we do care. We do give a darn. And at the end of the day, we’re all American and if y’all are struggling in Baltimore and you guys need help, then we’re going to be there for you,” he said.
“I don’t want this to be an anti-Rep. Cummings event. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping our fellow American citizens.”
The attendance is not Republican-only either, he stressed.
“If Democrats want to come help, I would love the opportunity for this to be a community event where everybody comes together.”
As for the date, time, and location, Presler wants to keep the specifics under wraps for now.
“I don’t want there to be any organizing against us,” he said, specifically mentioning that he wouldn’t want a far-left “Antifa,” or anti-fascist, group to show up and protest.
He welcomes volunteers to message him on Twitter under his handle @ScottPresler.