Painted in bright red, white and blue, with the words "TRUMP - KEEP AMERICA GREAT - 2020" at its peak, and an American flag emblazoned beneath the letters MAGA, it's hard to miss the 40-foot water tower next to Rory Grangruth's home near Wadena.
Most people don't have their own personal water tower erected next to their home and it's possible none have one with the message Grangruth said he carefully chose. The 60-year-old owns and operates Tri-City Coatings, a business that specializes in painting water towers. He said he's had the tower for more than 20 years next to his home for the same reason that a horse business has a fiberglass horse out front, it's what his business is all about. Tri-State Coatings works all over the Midwest during the warm months and works largely in the Texas and Oklahoma areas in the winter months performing sandblasting and painting of water towers, storage tanks and more.
It wasn't until 2016 that Grangruth chose to use that tower to convey his political thoughts.
"I think he's getting a huge injustice along with the American people by our own government," Grangruth said. "We've got one part of our government trying to tear our other part of our government down at the sacrifice of our country, and I think that's treason. They think they're after Trump but it's the United States that's gonna pay the bill."
Fed up with the actions of politicians, and the direction the country was and is headed, Grangruth said he took the advice of his granddaughter prior to the 2016 election and his son, Travis Grangruth and family friend, Jamie Line, painted the tower with the message of "TRUMP - Make America Great Again."
Fast forward to just months away from the 2020 presidential election and the family once again came together, this time on the Fourth of July to send a new message. Now the message proclaims it's time to keep America great. Rory and his nephew, Tyrell Grangruth completed that paint job during the day.
While that new message may imply that all things are great in America, Grangruth is insistent that things are not OK and in fact could go horribly wrong if the country continues down the chaotic path he's been watching in recent months and years. He believes Trump is being wrongly attacked and treated poorly. He believes the result is injurious to the country.
"He (Trump) went in for the same reason that we put that sign on there, we were getting sick and tired of the politics being run the way they were," Grangruth said. "That we, the people, don't have a say in nothing anymore, they say we do, but we don't."
Grangruth did at one point have a different idea for the water tower. He considered placing the American flag upside down as a message that the country was under attack.
"I feel that the United States of America is under attack," Grangruth said.
He gave an example of what a U.S. embassy may do if the country that the embassy was in suddenly revolted against them. He said they would put the American flag upside down as a sign of distress. But Grangruth considered that the image may also invoke disrespect of the flag, and that was not his intention.
Grangruth said he was never a Republican or Democrat before the 2016 election, rather he voted for a person. Now he said he can go on for hours about the insanity of the politics he sees. Even now he believes the country needs both Democrats and Republicans to create balance in the democracy.
"You have to have them, but the Democrats and the Republicans have to have brains of their own," Grangruth said.
Grangruth has his complaints about Minnesota and national government. He is opposed to opening borders. He is upset about media coverage of current political events. He also has his concerns about high taxes at home. He maintains that the Trump tower is not a party statement.
"I don't think this is Democrat or a Republican issue, I think it's both," Grangruth said. "The country needs to say 'do we want to be a country or do we want to give up our country?'"
The water tower was made for Grangruth by a business that he has done a great deal of work with, Maguire Iron Inc., of Sioux Falls S.D. He said while the tower is not currently functional, he is considering making it so and using the water for raised beds around its base. The tower can be seen on 150th Street, east of Wadena.
After the election is over, Grangruth said he'll revisit the tower once more. If Trump loses the election, the look could be vastly different.
"If we win, we'll leave it there until we see who is running next," Grangruth said.
Trump Towers of the world
While Grangruth's Trump tower is not an officially licensed Trump property, there are dozens of Trump Towers around the globe that bear Trump's name through real estate licensing agreements. Those include, of course, Trump Tower in New York City, which houses Trump's presidential campaign among other things. There are also other Trump Towers in Chicago, Florida, Istanbul, Manila, Mumbai and Uruguay, according to Business Insider. There is at least one other water tower in Louisiana with Trump's name on it.