Five planes flew over the annual Rose Parade in California, writing messages in the sky that included "America is great! Trump is disgusting. Anybody but Trump, US", as onlookers craned their necks for a view.
CBS News said Alabama businessman Stan Pate was behind the airborne protest targeting Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, over the heads of the hundreds of thousands of visitors at the New Year's Day event. Pate told CBS News he considered the billionaire candidate to be despicable, and "this is just the start". He had also paid for anti-Trump messages at the recent Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl college football games.
"Other candidates can't get in the gutter with him," Pate said. "I can and I will if that's where he wants to continue to go."
CBS reported that Pate, who like Trump is a real estate developer, had donated to Democratic and Republican candidates in the past. In the current primary campaign leading up to the November 2016 election, he has contributed to the campaign of Republican hopeful Marco Rubio.
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The planes circled for almost an hour after the parade of flower-adorned floats and marching bands finished, writing variations on a theme that included messages such as "Trump is delusional" and "Trump is a fascist dictator".