Thousands gathered at rallies across the country to protest President Donald Trump on Monday, Feb. 20, in an action they dubbed, “Not My President’s Day.” According to CNN, the issues under protest ranged from Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration to his election in light of the fact that he lost the popular vote. Opponents of the Trump administration organized grassroots events in several cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Portland, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The Facebook event for the Chicago rally showed nearly 4,000 people attended, but USA Today reported that the turnout was closer to a few hundred. Protesters gathered on Wacker Dr. just across the river from Trump Tower. Organizers described the purpose of the rally as not to put down previous presidents, but specifically to act against the current one, President Trump. On the Facebook event they posted, “Donald Trump does not represent our values, and therefore we refuse to honor him on President’s Day.”
Organizers stated that they organized specifically to protect Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city and reject the now-blocked executive order to ban travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Other issues under protest were the Mexico City policy preventing federal funding to overseas clinics which provide abortions, and issues of LGBT equality and police brutality. Overall, they wanted the message of the day to be one of solidarity with all races, ethnicities and religions: “We come together today in unity, embracing difference,” organizers said on Facebook.
While he fully supports the right to peacefully protest, junior Cameron Van Beek criticized the purpose of the rally, saying that it is too late in the game to reject Trump’s presidency. He commented that, “You don’t get to choose when your president isn’t your president, and you can’t just claim that he’s ‘not my president.’” He went on to explain: “I think a more effective way to fight back is to debate, vote and convince those around you instead of just rallying with those you already agree with.”
Junior Connor Jenkins added that he chose not to attend the rally because “the Tea Party used the same ‘not my president’ claim as a guise for their racist delegitimization of Obama.” However, he explained that he broadly supports protests against President Trump. While he thought that this particular rally was perhaps misguided in its choice of day and “not my president” rhetoric, Jenkins commented, “I hope they allowed their voices to be heard loud and clear in the White House.”