Trump’s one year anniversary met with protests, shutdown
Meeting on Worth Avenue at noon on Saturday, over 300 people from all over the country gathered to walk 1.7 miles to President Donald Trump’s Florida home for the Inaugural Impeachment March to Mar-a-Lago. They arrived with bullhorns and signs reading phrases like, “We shall [over comb],” and “There comes a time when silence is a betrayal.”
The crowd chanted, “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter.” Some even donned elaborate costumes, dressing like the oppressed women in Hulu’s popular political satire, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” or carrying a coffin for the American flag.
Participants used these demonstrations to communicate a message. The event’s Facebook page asserts that the goal was to “show civilization that President Donald J. Trump has no mandate here, in Palm Beach County, or the United States.”
Protest coordinator Mark Offerman planned the event for the first anniversary of the president’s inauguration. The day before the event, Trump was scheduled to arrive in Palm Beach for his 12th visit to the Winter White House over the course of his presidency. But Trump changed his plans the morning before the protest. He opted to stay in Washington, D.C. because of Congress’ inability to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown.
While the Senate has agreed on a bill to reopen the government, the House has yet to reach a consensus. This three-day shutdown stirred up more conflict, prompting both parties to assign fault.
Trump called the situation, “the Schumer shutdown,” after the Senate minority leader, whom the president blamed for the chamber’s inability to pass a bill that would have kept the government open for another three weeks.
Dr. James Todd, assistant professor of politics and law at Palm Beach Atlantic University, argues that neither party is completely guilt-free.
“Democrats make a point to say it’s a ‘Republican shutdown,’” he said. “But there’s enough blame to go around.”
Amidst these tensions and a myriad of other controversies surrounding the president, unsatisfied citizens flocked to the Palm Beach protest. Participants of the march took the opportunity to voice their various frustrations with the current administration.
The crowd, consisting of people from various ages and backgrounds, championed a host of different causes while simultaneously calling for Trump’s impeachment.
Many protesters made the trek to Mar-a-Lago in solidarity with the women’s marches which took place across the country. Ilysia Shattuck walked with her 4-year-old daughter on her back and her 8-year-old daughter by her side.
“My daughters deserve a better future,” Shattuck said. “I am teaching my kids to stand up for what they believe.”
Other protesters were marching to denounce the president’s immigration-related policies and statements. Cynthia Goral and her daughter travelled to Palm Beach from Columbus, Ohio and New York City, respectively, to participate in the march.
Goral admits she was not politically active before Trump’s election. Now, however, she feels the president has “destroyed everything that could be great about America.”Goral lists Trump’s immigration views as one of her main issues with his presidency.
“I just want people to feel welcome here,” she said.
Still other participants spoke out against the president’s general style of leadership.
“If you look up psychopath in the dictionary,” Jamie Friend said, “He fits every definition.”
But with all of these different sources of unrest, Americans question whether or not the impeachment process could be set in motion.
“Impeachment is unrealistic [at this time] because Republicans have control of both chambers,” Todd said. “Democrats will have to win control of Congress before that is on the table.”
While there was no obvious presence of the president’s supporters during the protest, a parade of cars decorated in Trump signs drove around the area after roads cleared. They shouted their support for the president and told the remaining protesters, “Trump loves you.”
Boynton Beach rabbi Barry Silver, who calls himself a “rabbi rouser,” disagreed. “We are trying to take back control from a tyrant,” he said. “The last thing we need is a bully in a bully pulpit.”