#ResistTrumpTuesdays Launches Nationwide

The coalition is seeking to pressure Democrats to oppose Trump’s Cabinet nominees, as well as push for progressive change.

John Knefel

There were more than 100 actions in cities across the country, according to organizers, who plan to protest every Tuesday. (John Knefel)

Hun­dreds of New York­ers turned out in the pour­ing rain Tues­day to show their oppo­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Cab­i­net appoint­ments and to demand the same of their elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The demon­stra­tion was held out­side the Man­hat­tan offices of Sens. Kirsten Gilli­brand and Chuck Schumer as part of a day of nation­wide protests called #Resist­TrumpTues­days.

"The message to Democrats was clear: Cave to Trump and there will be consequences."

There were more than 100 actions in cities across the coun­try, accord­ing to orga­niz­ers, who plan to protest every Tues­day. The next planned action in New York City will take place out­side Sen. Schumer’s home in Brooklyn.

We’re going to come out every Tues­day,” says Neli­ni Stamp, an orga­niz­er with the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Par­ty, one of the groups that called for the demon­stra­tion. We’re out here to block Trump’s Cabinet.”

In addi­tion to the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Par­ty, the coali­tion that called for #Resist­TrumpTues­days includes MoveOn​.org and People’s Action. Orga­niz­ers esti­mat­ed that between 8001,200 peo­ple attend­ed the New York action, which stretched eight rows back from police bar­ri­cades for much of the afternoon.

The protests come just days after the Wom­en’s March, which saw mil­lions around the coun­try and the world show their oppo­si­tion to Trump’s agen­da, and the small­er but more con­fronta­tion­al actions known as #DisruptJ20 that took place on Inau­gu­ra­tion Day. Tak­en as a whole, these actions make it clear that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is fac­ing coor­di­nat­ed grass­roots protest from the out­set of his first term.

The event called for Democ­rats to oppose all of Trump’s appoint­ments, but sev­er­al nom­i­nees gar­nered extra crit­i­cism. Bet­sy DeVos, who Trump tapped to head the depart­ment of edu­ca­tion, was a main focus of the crowd and orga­niz­ers who led chants. Numer­ous signs also sin­gled out Okla­homa Attor­ney Gen­er­al Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, and Andrew Puzder, chief exec­u­tive of CKE Restau­rants, par­ent com­pa­ny of fast-food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, and a long­time oppo­nent of unions, who Trump has tapped to head the labor department.

Puzder, Pruitt, DeVos — they only serve the inter­ests of the pri­vate sec­tor and cap­i­tal,” says Stamp. Trump is in the process of putting togeth­er the wealth­i­est Cab­i­net in the mod­ern era, with some esti­mates putting the nom­i­nees’ com­bined net worth at some $14 billion.

In an ear­ly sig­nal of what Trump’s ener­gy and envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies will look like, the pres­i­dent signed exec­u­tive orders Tues­day reviv­ing the Dako­ta Access and the Key­stone XL pipelines, two projects long-opposed by envi­ron­men­tal groups. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion had waf­fled on both, but by the end of his term the projects had been put on hold fol­low­ing intense pub­lic pressure.

The con­struc­tion of new pipelines isn’t the only dan­ger to the envi­ron­ment, either. Pruitt, Trump’s EPA pick, has sued the agency he may now over­see 13 times. I oppose Pruitt. He will wipe out the EPA,” says Lori Chlapows­ki. She held a sign that read No Silent Spring,” a ref­er­ence to Rachel Carson’s book that was instru­men­tal in launch­ing the envi­ron­men­tal­ist movement.

Chlapows­ki was joined by her friend, Lau­ra Beth-Kerr Gilman, who marched on Sat­ur­day in New York City. Watch­ing the Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings was par­tic­u­lar­ly infu­ri­at­ing for her. I was so angry, my blood was boil­ing,” Gilman told In These Times. You know how Trump said [Meg­yn Kel­ly] had blood com­ing out of her wher­ev­er? Blood is com­ing out of my everywhere.”

The mes­sage to Democ­rats was clear: Cave to Trump and there will be con­se­quences. Reuben Hayslett, one of the demonstration’s orga­niz­ers, led the crowd in chant­i­ng a col­lec­tive promise. Democ­rats who cut deals, we’re com­ing for you,” he shout­ed. We’ll remem­ber in November.”

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Sen. Gilli­brand’s office spoke with Stamp briefly, and then with the soak­ing wet participants.

Sen­a­tor Gilli­brand sup­ports and is grate­ful to all the New York­ers who stood up and demand­ed action today,” spokesman Marc Brumer said lat­er. She oppos­es Bet­sy’s DeVos’s nom­i­na­tion and has seri­ous con­cerns about Pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s oth­er Cab­i­net nominees.”

Sev­er­al mem­bers of a new­ly-formed group called Pub­lic School Watch­dogs were present at the action, pri­mar­i­ly in oppo­si­tion to DeVos. We’ve spread by word of mouth from just me in front of my school col­lect­ing let­ters to par­ents from about 25 NYC schools col­lect­ing over 4,000 let­ters to Sens. Schumer and Gilli­brand oppos­ing DeVos,” Lizzie Scott, who found­ed the group, told In These Times.

It’s spread like wild­fire,” Scott added. It’s been so easy to orga­nize because to pub­lic school par­ents and their kids, the appoint­ment of Bet­sy DeVos is an emer­gency — as seri­ous an emer­gency as ACA [Afford­able Care Act] reform. She’s hos­tile to chil­dren with spe­cial needs, to LGBT and gen­der-non-con­form­ing stu­dents, to teach­ers. She’s basi­cal­ly hos­tile to the whole idea of pub­lic school. And that’s terrifying.”

Scott says her group has had suc­cess meet­ing with Gilli­brand’s staffers, but we’ve been pret­ty much ignored by Chuck Schumer’s office.” His office also did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment from In These Times.

We orga­nized a let­ter deliv­ery with the chil­dren who’d worked so hard, and Schumer’s office would­n’t even let them in,” said Scott. It’s been a frus­trat­ing and sad les­son to the kids about how lit­tle our rep­re­sen­ta­tives care about some­thing so incred­i­bly impor­tant to so many people.”

John Kne­fel is an inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ist cov­er­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty and civ­il lib­er­ties. He is also the co-host of Radio Dis­patch, a dai­ly left­ist polit­i­cal podcast.
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