WADENA, Minn. -- 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 Fiberglas 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 of President Trump. "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 Grangruth said the country was and is headed, Grangruth took the advice of his granddaughter prior to the 2016 election. 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. Grangruth and his nephew, Tyrell Grangruth, completed that paint job during the day.
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. 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.
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 functional, he is considering making it so and using the water for raised beds around its base.
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 Rory 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.