On Saturday, millions of people worldwide poured into the streets to protest the presidency of Donald Trump. In Washington, D.C., more than half a million people flooded the National Mall for the Women’s March on Washington—many wearing pink hats dubbed “pussyhats.” So many people turned out that by midday the entire planned march route was filled with people. This is one of the protesters.
Samia Assed: “My name is Samia Assed. I’m with the New Mexico delegation. And it took us 39 hours, two buses. We picked up passengers also in Oklahoma. We’re very proud to be here. We can’t divorce ourselves, our opinions, our presence as one community, one sisterhood, to say no to bigotry, no to Islamophobia, no to xenophobia, and to stand for justice for every one of us—every one of us, no matter our gender, our color, our race.”
Amy Goodman: “And what’s your group’s name?”
Samia Assed: “Enchanted Uprising!”
The New York Times reports Saturday’s protest in D.C. drew three times more people than Trump’s inauguration on Friday. In New York City, 400,000 protesters poured into the streets around Trump Tower. A quarter of a million people gathered in Chicago. Hundreds of thousands more took to the streets in Boston, Los Angeles, Denver, Madison, Wisconsin, and other cities. Saturday’s nationwide demonstration was the largest anti-inauguration protest in U.S. history and ranks among the biggest mobilizations ever in the United States. It was also one of the largest coordinated global days of action in world history, with protests spanning every continent on Earth, including Antarctica. Massive crowds gathered in major international cities, including in London, Paris, New Delhi, Sydney, Mexico City and Buenos Aires.
Saturday’s historic mobilization came one day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. During New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s speech at the inauguration, some in the audience booed as he spoke about being inclusive of all races, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations. Minutes later, Chief Justice John Roberts swore Trump into the office of the presidency, sparking outcries from some in the crowd.
Chief Justice John Roberts: “Please raise your right hand and repeat after me: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear…”
President-elect Donald Trump: “I, Donald John Trump…”
Protesters: “Unfit, not legit! Unfit, not legit! Go to hell! Go to hell! Go to hell! Go to hell!”
Coordinated actions in Washington, D.C., also shut down multiple checkpoints to block people from attending Trump’s inauguration. This is Democracy Now!’s Carla Wills, reporting live from a Black Lives Matter action where activists locked down in order to block off the checkpoint.
Janaya Khan: “My name is Janaya Khan, and I represent the Movement for Black Lives, hailing from Toronto, but in California.”
Carla Wills: “And describe the scene here right now.”
Janaya Khan: “What we’re seeing is people actively voicing their dissent in light of a horrible truth—that is, Donald Trump. He has used racism, bigotry, suggested a Muslim registry. He’s used Islamophobia. He has used and enacted every system of oppression in order to gain power. And this is 2017. He is an illegitimate president, and we do not respect him as such.”
Police deployed pepper spray, tear gas and concussion grenades as they chased crowds of demonstrators during some of Friday’s protests. More than 200 people were arrested—the majority of whom were charged with felony riot. After being sworn in, Trump gave an inaugural address in which he offered an extreme vision for the future of the United States.
President Donald Trump: “January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
The Washington Post reports the address included 24 words never before uttered in any U.S. inaugural address, including the words “carnage,” “bleed,” “stolen,” “trapped,” “disrepair” and “sad.” Trump took the office of the presidency with a 32 percent approval rating, the lowest approval rating of any incoming president in recent U.S. history.
On Saturday morning at 9:40 a.m., The New York Times tweeted a photo comparing the crowd size from Trump’s inauguration to that of President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, which drew a record 1.8 million. In response, on Saturday, new White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer angrily stormed into the press room and lied multiple times about Trump’s inauguration, falsely claiming more people had attended or watched on TV than any other inauguration in U.S. history.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. Even The New York Times printed a photograph showing that—a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original tweet in their paper, which showed the full extent of the support, depth and crowd and intensity that existed. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
That was the new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, who also lied about the number of people who rode the D.C. Metro Friday and whether Friday was the first time in U.S. history that floor coverings had been used on the National Mall. He immediately left the podium after reading the press statement without taking any questions from reporters. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd confronted counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway about these lies.
Kellyanne Conway: “Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What it—you’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving—Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains—”
Chuck Todd: “Wait a minute. Alternative facts?”
Kellyanne Conway: “—that there’s—”
Chuck Todd: “Alternative facts? Four of the five facts he uttered—the one thing he got right—”
Kellyanne Conway: “Hey, Chuck, why—hey, Chuck—”
Chuck Todd: “—was Zeke Miller. Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”
President Trump himself attacked the press during a speech at the CIA headquarters Saturday.
President Donald Trump: “As you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”
That’s Donald Trump, speaking before the Wall of the Fallen, those in the CIA who’ve died around the world. Many attacked him for this political speech, obsessing about the size of his inaugural crowd. Among those who criticized him was former CIA director John Brennan.
On Sunday morning, Trump also attacked Saturday’s protesters, tweeting, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” In fact, while Trump won the Electoral College, he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million. In a follow-up tweet, Trump said, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”
President Trump signed his first presidential documents Friday, which included a proclamation for a new “National Day of Patriotism” and an executive order making the “prompt repeal” of the Affordable Care Act his administration’s top official priority. He also signed legislation to freeze the implementation of new regulations passed by President Obama in recent weeks.
On Friday, the official White House website was also completely replaced, with nearly every reference to climate change erased from the site. The only remaining reference to climate change on the new WhiteHouse.gov website appears on the first of his six “issues” pages, which reads, “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan.” The Trump administration also took down the White House website’s pages on civil rights and a fact sheet on the Violence Against Women Act. The civil rights page was replaced by a page entitled “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community,” which calls for “more law enforcement,” “building a border wall” and “ending sanctuary cities.” It also reads, “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote this afternoon on whether to confirm longtime ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. Many lawmakers and environmental activists have expressed concerns over his potential confirmation. Here in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Film Festival, Democracy Now! interviewed former Vice President Al Gore about Rex Tillerson.
Al Gore: “ExxonMobil has financed climate denial. And every year, they say they have stopped. And then, when the funding reports come out at the end of the year, we find that they have continued. I think what ExxonMobil has done is deeply unethical.”
The Senate confirmed the first two Trump Cabinet members on Friday: retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as defense secretary and retired General John Kelly as secretary of homeland security. The confirmation of the rest of Trump’s Cabinet has been delayed because many of the nominees failed to submit the required ethics and financial disclosure forms to Congress in time for them to be reviewed by the Office of Government Ethics ahead of the scheduled hearings. The confirmation process has also been slow because Trump’s Cabinet is the richest in U.S. history, consisting largely of white male millionaires and billionaires whose array of financial ties pose unprecedented potential conflicts of interest.
In international news, longtime Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh agreed to step down Friday, averting a political crisis in the African nation. West African troops and tanks had entered Gambia in the event Jammeh continued to refuse to relinquish power. He’d been the leader of Gambia for 22 years. On Friday, incoming President Adama Barrow said, “The rule of fear has been vanished from the Gambia for good.” Barrow had been inaugurated on Thursday in the Gambian Embassy in neighboring Senegal, as Jammeh clung to power.
The Pentagon says a U.S. airstrike and U.S. drone strikes in Idlib, Syria, killed more than 100 people Friday. U.S. officials say the victims of the airstrike were al-Qaeda fighters. But the Syrian opposition group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham says the airstrike hit its camp and that the victims were not al-Qaeda fighters. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is the new name for the group al-Nusra, which says it broke from al-Qaeda in 2016. The airstrike was one of the final military acts of Obama’s presidency.
And in Seattle, an activist is in the hospital recovering after being critically shot during a protest against a speech by white nationalist Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos hosted at the University of Washington. The 32-year-old activist, who has not been named, is an anti-racist organizer and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Milo Yiannopoulos is a leading white supremacist who has a long history of making racist, sexist and xenophobic statements. He has faced protests at multiple university speeches in recent months. The shooter was released by police on Saturday after he claimed the shooting was in self-defense.