Trump Unity Bridge catches Dream Cruisers’ attention

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

Royal Oak — The Trump Unity Bridge, Trump Mobile and even a cutout of Donald Trump — a selfie magnet — drew a lot of interest Saturday at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Rob Cortis, 55, of Livonia said he brought the Trump Unity Bridge to the Dream Cruise after people encouraged him to attend the event. He arrived at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, parking just south of Webster along Woodward on the east side of the street and said he plans to stay until after the bars close.

The large trailer bridge features a Statute of Liberty, many flags, Trump’s name and signs. There are also Trump campaign themes including: infrastructure, common sense, buy American, hire American, military, fair trade and NAFTA, health care, veterans, jobs and taxes.

The Trump Unity Bridge was noticed along the Dream Cruise route on Saturday.

“We’re trying to educate Americans, and trying to share the messages from all Americans, the way they were intended to be shared,” said Cortis, who played patriotic music such as “God Bless America.”

Cortis said he is in the midst of a national Coast 2 Coast and Border 2 Border tour and has traveled more than 40,000 miles since October. He said he uses his own money and donations to travel.

The reaction to the bridge at the Dream Cruise has been “99 percent positive,” Cortis said.

“Everybody’s coming by filming,” he said. “People that have (said), ‘while I didn’t vote for Trump,’ when we talk to and we explain to them … that the messages are from the people just like you, and if we can work together and pick a message that we could work on to get done, America would be better instead of worrying about ‘I don’t like this’ and the hate, nothing’s getting done.”

The Unity Bridge is 50 feet long, 13 feet and 6 inches tall with white block letters and a human-sized Statue of Liberty tailgating the back.

Cortis said fully loaded, his bridge weighs approximately 9,180 pounds. However, he has a registered motorcycle trailer attached to hold it.

This year, the Dream Cruise has increased its security measures and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has mandated vehicle restrictions on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., one of which impacts Cortis. The restrictions cover commercial vehicles, those over 10,000 pounds and bar trailers between Eight Mile to the loop in Pontiac.

Cortis said he was joined by about 10 Bikers for Trump members and some family and friends. Many cruisers honked in support of Trump and the bridge as they drove by. Cortis said they have been answering many questions about Trump, too.

The Trump Mobile joined the Trump Unity Bridge at Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

The Trump Mobile, a product of Cortis’ brother, Mike Cortis of Novi, was at the 2016 Dream Cruise. Mike Cortis echoed his brother’s comments that they’ve been hearing from many supporters during the day.

“They’re in support of President Trump, positive support for our president,” he said.

Rob Cortis said he is passionate about the bridge and educating people about Trump.

“(I like) seeing the smiles on people’s faces that are happy with it,” he said. “And then when someone has a sour face and we speak with them and I can turn to them and say ‘look at the messages,’ and where we’ll take a picture, that’s gratitude enough that we’ve made a difference and we’re educating somebody.”

Cortis has owned the bridge since 1985 and originally envisioned it would serve as the backdrop for wedding celebrations and photographs. It made news after it was stolen from his property in 2014.