Several speakers, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), said the impeachment effort suggests Democrats intend to use Congress to remove the president because they fear another possible loss at the ballot box next year. Some characterized the process as an attempted “coup.”
“They are running scared. Why? Because you are America, and you have the president’s back,” Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump aide, told the crowd. “This fake impeachment has one purpose — to nullify the votes of 63 million Americans: white, brown, yellow, all Americans together. Enough of the swamp!”
Flags and banners whipped in the blustery weather as other speakers and demonstrators attacked what they called a “deep state” conspiracy involving Democrats, federal bureaucrats and the media to undermine Trump.
People wore “Make America Great Again” caps and T-shirts saying, “If you don’t like Trump, you probably won’t like me. And I’m ok with that.” A moment of silence was observed for Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who died Thursday at the age of 68 in a Baltimore hospice center, before several speakers took turns venting about Trump’s opponents, characterizing them as socialists or communists.
“I call them Dumbycrats,” said Kerry-Ann O’Connor, 54, who said she took time away from being her mother’s caretaker (with her mother’s blessing) to travel from Chicago. “When I’m really mad, I call them ‘Damnocrats.’ These people, they want to destroy the country.”
Many slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for failing to hold a floor vote on the impeachment inquiry and overseeing a process that has so far involved taking closed-door testimony about Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine into investigating former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden (D) and Biden’s son Hunter. Trump and his supporters have accused the Bidens of corruption — in tweets, at a profanity-laced campaign rally in Minneapolis and in an ad blitz worth millions of dollars — without offering evidence to support those claims.
Some spoke in conspiratorial tones, alleging opponents had harassed them or attempted to silence them through social media. They implied that dirty tricks of some kind were behind the cancellation of trips by at least six chartered buses from Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New York. James Lyle, an organizer, said it was not clear why the rides had been canceled.
Several times, the crowd broke into chants of “U.S.A.!” and “Build that wall!” There were no counterdemonstrators in sight, though several supporters of the late conspiracy theorist Lyndon A. LaRouche Jr. worked the fringes of the peaceful, if sometimes raucous demonstration on the Capitol’s west lawn.
Jauna Valezquez, a New York resident whose family legally immigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States when she was a child, said she supported the president’s crackdown on people who try to do the same thing illegally.
“They are definitely stepping over the people who are here already,” she said. “He is the first president who talks about America first.”
Meg Fisher, 64, who owns a landscaping business in Chicago, said Trump has said things that seemed shocking or offensive to her since taking office, but that outrageous and unrestrained style was also why she and many supporters liked him.
“He’s a normal person. People say offensive things to me all the time. I don’t attack them. I turn the other cheek. He’s not politically correct — he’s just correct,” Fisher said. She credited Trump administration policies for a strong economy that has allowed her to take home more pay and pay her workers more while excusing his inability to carry through on some promises — such as building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — as the fault of opponents.
“If he had Congress on his side, he’d have the wall done,” Fisher said.