Adam Brown and his brother Brandon, both 24, wore red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps that stood out like targets in a sea of protest signs. They had come from Detroit to attend the inauguration, and then took a walk through the city to see what was happening.
Protesters converged on them as they stood on the corner of 13th and K streets NW, where police and protesters had had an angry confrontation a half-hour earlier.
“You have no idea who I am and what I’ve been through,” a woman yelled angrily at Adam.
“You don’t know who I am either,” replied Adam, a finance major, with a polite smile. “People have the right to protest but have to keep it civil.”
“Oh no, that went out when you voted for Trump,” she replied.
Alyssa Renee, 25, who was there with the Brown brothers, said she was attacked several times Thursday night when she got split off from her friends trying to get to the pro-Trump “Deploraball.” She said she was shoved and spit on by a woman who called her a racist, a homophobe and an Islamophobe.
“It made me feel very hurt,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that to happen.”
Now, on K Street, a young woman wearing a rainbow scarf was yelling at her, telling her she didn’t know what it was like to grow up knowing from a young age that she was different.
“I’m sorry that people assaulted you, that is wrong,” the young woman told Renee, “but you can’t tell me—”
“I’m not telling you anything,” Renee said calmly.
“But your vote did,” the young woman said.
The brothers were two of a set of triplets. Their third brother had not come. He had voted for Hillary Clinton. Now, the brothers and Renee fielded questions from more protesters.
“He didn’t pay taxes for 17 years,” a protester in a pink knit “pussyhat” said of Trump.
Another, wearing a pink and purple pussyhat that she said she had knitted herself, asked Renee and the Brown brothers, “What can he do to disappoint you? Because right now I’m not hearing anything he can do to make your people disappointed in him.”
At that moment, a skinny young man dressed in black and wearing a black scarf around his face flashed by and grabbed the hat off Adam Brown’s head. Another snatched off his brother’s hat.
“I’m sorry they did that,” said the protester with the self-knitted hat, who did not want to identify herself.
Brown shrugged it off and reached up and rubbed his short brown hair. “Do I have hat head?” he asked.