President Donald Trump may be met with a massive protest on Washington just one day into his term.
Activists are organizing a "Women's March on Washington" for January 21, 2017, the day after Trump is inaugurated, to demonstrate their disgust with the election of a man who has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and assault. More than 41,000 people have signed up to attend just two days after a group organized on Facebook, and more than 115,000 are listed as interested in attending the rally.
"We need to be working together in a coherent, supportive way over the next four years, to activate more women into leadership positions, to be more politically active," Bob Bland, one of the organizers, told Reuters. "We cannot allow ourselves to give up, put our heads down and not hold this administration accountable for any violation of human rights or women's rights."
Attendee Luanna Meyer wrote that "we need to make clear that women will not allow this president-elect to deny or belittle hard-won rights. Peaceful demonstration and free speech are two of those rights, so please join us if you believe in democracy for a nation that seems to be filled with far too many who wish to replace it with hate, racism, sexism, demagoguery and bigotry against those who have been victimized far too many times and for far too many years."
Trump's treatment of women was a dominant campaign issue. The twice-divorced New York City magnate insulted women based on their looks and was caught on tape bragging about how stardom allows him to "do anything" he wants to women, prompting multiple women came forward with allegations of harassment and assault once the hot mic scandal broke. Many fear that his likely ability to appoint several Supreme Court justices over his four-year term could imperil Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose.
The rhetoric and vitriol helped produce the largest gender gap in history when looking at Hillary Clinton's base of support. A difference of 13 percentage points separated her male and female supporters, while Trump ended up with the support of 53 percent of male voters.
Of course, women are not the only group to feel marginalized by the prospect of a Trump presidency. He infamously first cut through the crowded GOP primary pack with comments insulting Mexicans and promises to build a border wall. Trump's demonized Middle Eastern refugees, proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States, mocked the disabled, tweeted anti-Semitic imagery and more. Consequently, protests have erupted in cities across the United States since Tuesday, with tens of thousands marching to take a stand against the president-elect.
The wide-ranging nature of Trump's insults sparked discussion among the Women's March on Washington attendees and organizers, who initially dubbed their effort the "Million Women March." While the group's Facebook page stresses that it is an "inclusive" march, with "everyone who supports women's rights" welcome, some questioned whether the scope of the protest should be broadened.
Poster Meghan Boots wrote that she wishes "this were the march for 'the other,' which are all the groups that (Trump) threatened harm to: Mexicans, Muslims, women, LGBT." Poster Jewels de Campana agreed, suggesting the effort should be a "civil rights march, addressing the rights of all marginalized groups...you have the potential to merge various groups together to create one gigantic march that addresses a variety of rights and concerns, and I think that will have a much greater impact than just a march for women's right(s)."
The prospect of a march also drew detractors to the Facebook page, with one poster calling the people involved "despicable human beings." Phil San Filippo wrote: "Our brave women and men in the Armed Services are dying, the homeless rate is up, drug use is up, there's a refugee crisis and you morons are only concerned about your vaginas." Poster Michael Dominic Incata told protesters to "get over it," writing, "The Constitution calls for a fair, open and legal election of the POTUS. All those things happened. So, having a cry-fest to whine about the decisions of almost 60 million legal voters shows your contempt for the election process and your hypocrisy."
The detractors aren't likely to dampen the enthusiam for the event, however.
"We have a huge groundswell of women," organizer Fontaine Pearson told Reuters. "This is growing faster than anyone expected."