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Smith writes: "The large crowd sent a clear signal to a man notorious for his thin skin and prone to boasting about the size of his crowds."

Gloria Steinem spoke to thousands of people gathering at the Women's March in Washington. (photo: Ruth Fremson/NYT)
Gloria Steinem spoke to thousands of people gathering at the Women's March in Washington. (photo: Ruth Fremson/NYT)


ALSO SEE: On His First Day in Office, Trump Broke 34 Promises

Women's March on Washington Overshadows Trump's First Full Day in Office

By David Smith, Guardian UK

22 January 17

 

While women marched around the world, press secretary Sean Spicer berated the media for ‘minimising the enormous support’ at Trump’s inauguration

undreds of thousands of women turned Washington’s National Mall into a sea of pink on Saturday, sending the first concerted message of grassroots opposition to Donald Trump since he moved into the White House.

“Minority president”, “Women roar” and “I’m afraid” were among the signs waved by a crowd which was made up mostly of women but also comprised some men and which far exceeded turnout for Friday’s inauguration. Many wore pink handknit “pussy hats” – a rebuke to the billionaire businessman once caught on tape bragging about his ability to “grab” women “by the pussy”. Organisers estimated that more than a million people attended.

Later, in a blistering press room debut, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer accused the press of “minimising the enormous support” that had turned out for Trump the day before.

He first accused some media of “deliberately false reporting”, citing a “particularly egregious example” of a reporter tweeting that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr had been removed from the Oval Office. “This was irresponsible and reckless,” he said. The night before, he had tweeted “apology accepted” to the reporter, who had apologised for the mistake.

On Saturday Spicer went on to say that photographs of the inauguration “were intentionally framed in a way in one particular tweet to minimise the enormous support that gathered on the National Mall.”

Almost shouting, Spicer continued: “Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted. No one had numbers because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out. By the way, this applies to any attempt to count the number of protesters today in the same fashion.”

Then, although he had just said that no one had numbers, Spicer claimed: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period … These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm for the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Spicer took no questions, and vaguely said the administration would “hold the press accountable”. Only a few hours earlier, President Trump had addressed CIA employees at the agency’s Virginia headquarters, where he mused at length on what he claimed to be the record crowd that witnessed it.

The Washington protest march was not the only one held in the US, however. From Atlanta to Phoenix, from Boston to Sacramento, “sister marches” staged a show of defiance by ordinary citizens determined to rebuke Trump’s values. An estimated 175,000 took to the streets of Chicago, the adopted home of former president Barack Obama.

The large crowd sent a clear signal to a man notorious for his thin skin and prone to boasting about the size of his crowds.

In the White House press room, Spicer also described a warm reception for Trump at the CIA, saying the president was given a standing ovation when he spoke there earlier in the afternoon. He blamed Senate Democrats for blocking the appointment of Mike Pompeo as director of the agency.

“That’s what you guys should be writing and covering instead of sowing division about tweets and false narratives,” Spicer admonished the press. “The president is committed to unifying our country and that was the focus of his inaugural address. This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging the bringing our nation together, is making it more difficult.”

Spicer also confirmed that the president would meet British prime minister Theresa May in Washington on Friday. Trump spoke on Saturday with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, and has a possible meeting with the latter on 31 January.

The noise of popular protest and angry administration statements contrasted sharply with the solemn mood on Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral, where Trump, first lady Melania and other family members attended a multi-faith prayer service.

The new president then headed to the headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Virginia. He has been critical of America’s intelligence agencies in a way that no incoming commander-in-chief has before, over their belief that Russia sought to influence the election on his behalf.

But he used Saturday’s platform to promise the eradication of “evil” radical Islamic terrorism and lambast the “dishonest media” for its reporting of the size of his inauguration crowd. He made no mention of Saturday’s massive protests.

It capped 36 hours that began with Trump’s angry call to arms in a blistering inaugural address, an executive order on healthcare and a much-mocked dance with his wife to Frank Sinatra’s My Way at an inaugural ball.

As the Obama era receded, Washington remained gripped by uncertainty. Trump’s first week in office could lay siege to Obama’s legacy on numerous fronts and set alarm bells ringing in foreign capitals.

When he meets May, trade in the post-Brexit era and the future of Nato, which Trump has questioned, are likely to be high on the agenda.

In Washington on Saturday, organisers of the women’s march in Washington first estimated turnout at half a million, which would have been double the number that marched on the city for civil rights in 1963 and were addressed by Martin Luther King.

Such estimates only increased. Thousands came by bus, train and plane, cramming Washington’s underground Metro to capacity. John Kerry, the former secretary of state, took to the streets along with his dog. Trump’s defeated election opponent, Hillary Clinton, was not present, but tweeted:

There were speeches by politicians and activists and performances from artists including Madonna. “The revolution starts here,” the singer said. “The fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal.

“Let’s march together through this darkness and with each step know that we are not afraid, that we are not alone, that we will not back down, that there is power in our unity and that no opposing force stands a chance in the face of true solidarity.”

Actor and activist America Ferrera spoke about her background as a child of immigrants and argued that Trump was elected on a platform of hate.

“We are gathered here and across the country and around the world today to say: ‘Mr Trump, we refuse,” she said. “ We won’t build walls and we won’t see the worst in each other.”

Feminist Gloria Steinem said: “This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy that I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity and remember the constitution does not begin with ‘I the president’, it begins with ‘we the people’.”

Film-maker Michael Moore said: “We’re in day two now of the Trump tragedy. Who wants to be in my next movie? We are here to vow to end the Trump carnage. I want you to call Congress every single day. Every single day.”

Moore called for change in the defeated political opposition to Trump. “We have to take over the Democratic party,” he said.

The scale of the crowd caught even organisers by surprise but thousands pressed ahead with the march while others headed home. There was a steady flow past the White House, where secret service officers stood guard. Pennsylvania Avenue was closed off by steel barriers.

Among the marchers was Kathleen Prugsawan, 52, from Washington. She said: “This is the most peaceful gathering of people unhappy with the current administration. The message that I hope he gets: you better fucking pay attention to us now.”

Women and other groups were demonstrating in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland and Seattle. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers marched as close as possible to Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.

There were protests across the world. Organisers in London said 80,000 had taken part in an event there. In Prague, hundreds gathered in Wenceslas Square, waving portraits of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin and holding banners that read “This is just the beginning”, “Kindness” and “Love”.

But Trump’s stunning ascent, a repudiation of Democrats and many Republicans, have given succour to rightwing populists abroad. French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen joined fellow nationalists on Saturday at a conference in Germany, declaring that 2017 will be the “year of the awakening of the people of continental Europe”.

Meanwhile the Department of Justice announced that federal anti-nepotism laws do not prevent Trump from appointing his son-in-law to his administration. It released a memo to the White House counsel, concluding that the president’s “special hiring authority” allowed him to make the appointment.

This cleared the way for Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, to take a post as a senior adviser. Kushner became one of Trump’s closest aides during the election campaign and has been an influential figure in the transition.

On Friday, Trump was sworn in and delivered a dark speech that differed little from his campaign rhetoric, vowing to stop “American carnage” in an address widely condemned as divisive. The former TV celebrity raised a clenched fist and eviscerated members of the political establishment gathered around him on the steps of the US Capitol.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” he said. “From this moment on, it’s going to be only America first.”

There was an instant overhaul of the White House website, with Obama administration priorities such as climate change and LGBT rights abruptly disappearing.

Protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a series of clashes that led to more than 200 arrests. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the violence from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and evening balls. Police said six officers suffered minor injuries.

After an inaugural parade where he faced boos and heckling from protesters, Trump settled into the Oval Office. He sat at its famous desk as he signed the order that chief of staff Reince Priebus said was aimed at “minimising the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act. The order notes that Trump intended to seek the “prompt repeal” of the law.

Already the Oval Office had been fitted with gold curtains and a reinstalled a bust of Winston Churchill, seen as a hint that America’s “special relationship” with Britain is high on his foreign policy agenda.

Moments later, vice-president Mike Pence administered the oath of office to defense secretary James Mattis and homeland security secretary John Kelly, the first members of Trump’s cabinet to clear Senate confirmation.

Trump and Melania, who was wearing an ivory off-the-shoulder column gown, danced at three inaugural balls. At the first they danced to My Way along with Pence and his wife, Susan, and Trump family members.

Trump told guests: “People that weren’t so nice to me were saying that we did a really good job today. It’s like God was looking down on us.”

At the second ball, Trump asked guests whether he should “keep the Twitter going?” The crowd roared in apparent approval. Trump said his regular tweeting to more than 20 million followers is “a way of bypassing dishonest media”.

At the third ball Trump and Melania danced to I Will Always Love You with members of the armed services.

Early on Sunday, the president tweeted:

Obama, who flew out of Washington shortly after the inauguration ceremony, bound for Palm Springs, California, posted on Twitter:


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+10 # Carol R 2017-01-22 10:48
The Women's March/Rally in Chicago numbered 250,000. There were marches held around the world in support of these marchers.

Cities in nearly every state played host to sister marches. The largest demonstrations were held in Chicago, Boston, New York, Denver, Los Angeles and Madison, Wisconsin. …

There were also demonstrations across Europe and the UK, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa also took to the streets to protest Trump and the values – racism, misogyny, bigotry – to which he gives voice. The list is too lengthy to fully include here, but there were 30 events in Canada alone, as well as marches in Berlin, Cape Town, New Delhi, Belfast, London, Oslo, Nairobi, Sydney, Mexico City, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Reykjavik and Stockholm…
 
 
+2 # elizabethblock 2017-01-22 18:37
There was even a little one in Antarctica! with penguins. Google it.
 
 
+1 # Cassandra2012 2017-01-27 17:08
Actually probably more--- the streets were filled in every direction and this was merely the Repug yellow press Trib's estimate....
 
 
+4 # HowardMH 2017-01-22 14:25
It is time for RSN to have One Article Each Day Titled “Trump Lies”.
List each lie Trump has said to the media or tweeted the previous day with a short explanation of what the Truth is on that subject.
Robert Reich | Five Ways Trump's "News Conference" Wasn't a News Conference by RSN was a good start. Now list all the Lies and why they were lies.

RSN are you paying attention? I have had over 150 positives on this post in the past two weeks.
ANS: ONE article per day about Trump’s Lies that day would be reasonable,
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2017-01-23 00:48
oakland ca also marched - some of my favorite signs were -

keep your grabby little hands off my rights!

truck fump!

pussy power!

we chanted "not my president!"

and "this is what (democracy / america / oakland) looks like! - at the scene of occupy oakland!

power to people!
 
 
+2 # michelle 2017-01-23 14:59
Beautiful and creative signs here as well. My favorite was an homage to Dr. Seuss.

I do not want you
Down my shirt

I do not want you
Up my skirt

I do not want you
Near my rump

I do not like you
Mister Trump
 

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