The March for Trump, organized by Women for Trump, was more like a puddle.
But I wanted to mingle with these folks.
I wanted to hear from the women waving the big pink “Women for Trump” flags or wearing the “Women for Trump” hats. They are the WFTs. And though others may assemble those three letters differently when describing their movement, I wanted to hear why they remain die-hards in a dwindling minority.
Because there was no denying it — the crowd was tiny. I’ve covered 20 years of marches in Washington — from the World Bank protests at the turn of the century to 2017’s ocean-of-pink Women’s March — and this gathering was barely there.
Brittany Sechrist, 30, a stay-at-home mom, had traveled from Lebanon County, Pa., to support President Trump.
“I like what he’s doing,” Sechrist said. She’s been to other Trump rallies, but this one was important to her because she wants to stop the impeachment process.
I asked her why women should get behind Trump.
“Oh, for many, many reasons,” she said.
And that was about all I could get.
I asked this again and again. I approached the women with the big signs and hats and goofy American-flag sunglasses. I asked the women in plain coats and sensible shoes. I wanted to hear from them all. Why would they support a serial adulterer who bragged about grabbing women’s genitals and has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women?
Many women can’t stomach Trump. A July Quinnipiac poll found that only 34 percent of women overall approved of the job Trump is doing, compared with 61 percent who disapproved.
In a Washington Post-Schar School poll taken this month, the gender gap is also wide when in comes to impeachment, with 65 percent of women saying they are in favor of the inquiry, compared with 51 percent of men.
The women on the Capitol lawn approving of him, for the most part, didn’t want to talk to me once I introduced myself as a columnist with The Post, which Trump calls the Amazon Washington Post in his disparaging tweets.
“Um, no thanks.”
“I’m not interested.”
“Are you kidding?”
Come on! I’m not even the “Failing New York Times.”
The ones who would talk to me said the same things:
“I want him to know I am here for him.”
“We are standing by him.”
“He needs to know women are here.”
Tammy Wynette lives on.
“This man does not have to do what he is doing,” Amy Kremer, the organizer of the event, said when she took the podium. She said Trump could be living a life of luxury, traveling the world and golfing.
(Wait. Isn’t that what he’s doing? And we’re the ones paying for it.)
As Kremer spoke, dozens of women whooped and cheered and hollered, clearly grateful that Trump has left his reality-TV show, his failed casinos, his failed university and all his bankruptcies to run the United States.
But why, specifically, is he good for American women, I wanted to know.
Was there a woman who believes the Equal Rights Amendment is an old idea that’s no longer relevant? Or a woman who believes it was Melania Trump who brought family values and Christmas back to the White House? Or a military mom who is so glad funding for military child care will instead be used to build the wall?
Maybe, because we’re face-to-face and not anonymous and online, I could get to the bottom of this.
But in most cases (except for Sechrist — thank you for your civility), when I asked the women they responded with an attack on the media or the elected officials running the impeachment inquiry. They didn’t need online anonymity to make their judgments, even though most of them didn’t want to give me their names.
Same with the speakers, who talked about the deep state, about conspiracy theories and — don’t worry, they didn’t forget — Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Rep. Steven Scalise (R-La.), was greeted like a hero when he took the podium and speculated that Clinton’s server could be “at the bottom of the Potomac.”
Each of the speakers looked upon the small crowd and marveled at its spirit.
The rally’s size, though?
“There would be a lot more of us here if that didn’t happen,” a woman who drove in from Chantilly, Va., told me.
What happened? A conspiracy, natch.
Organizers said bus companies across the nation canceled the buses hired to bring supporters to the nation’s capital.
“We feel this was done intentionally and will be issuing a statement at a later time,” Kremer said in a statement posted on the March for Trump’s Facebook page.
From bus stations in Pennsylvania to a Walmart parking lot in North Carolina, Trump supporters said they were left in the cold and dark early Thursday, waiting for buses that didn’t show up.
The president they think they have — a man who will unite our country and treat everyone with respect — he hasn’t shown up, either.
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