The Women’s March on Washington, a mobile protest organized in response to President Trump’s election, is under way in downtown Washington, D.C.
The event’s organizers are anticipating roughly 250,000 marchers, many of whom supported Hillary Clinton for president and are wary about the new administration’s policies towards women, as well as its approach toward the LGBT community, minorities, immigrant groups, and others. According to the march’s mission statement, participants aim to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights.” Six hundred similar marches are being held Saturday around the country. Others have been organized around the world.
In Washington, a morning rally will be held at 10 a.m. ET, and the march will begin at 1:15 p.m. ET. We’ll bring you the latest updates from the nation’s capital as the day goes on.
Marchers Leave Their Protest Signs in Front of Trump's D.C. Hotel
Protest signs were ubiquitous at the Women’s March on Saturday. Some posters called for action (“Speak up for humanity”), while others portrayed messages of female empowerment (“The future is female”). By the afternoon, it became clear that many demonstrators didn’t plan to keep theirs for posterity’s sake. Instead, they left them behind in a conspicuous place:
It wasn’t just the pussy-cat ears: Many of the signs in downtown D.C. employed the word made infamous by President Trump in the leaked Access Hollywood video in October. Women hoisted hand-sketched vaginas and drew cat shapes on their block letters. One even used the c-word. They are reclaiming “pussy,” they said.
Mary Trudeau, 47, came from Atlanta. “After the election I was so depressed,” she said. “I said, I have to go, I have to participate, because if I don’t I’ll feel like I just did nothing.”
Her sign was inspired by Trump’s words in the Access Hollywood video, she said. “Instead of it being a vulgar word, it being a word of empowerment for women. Everything about my person is for me to decide.”
Kerry Gaertner-Gerbracht had her 11-year-old daughter make her sign—she wanted to get involved. “Trump has brought the word to the national conversation,” Gaertner-Gerbracht said. “If this is what our president is saying, she should get comfortable with it, too.”
One element of Trump’s victory, she believes, was “the masculine fear of the vagina. It’s a very basic thing.”
Sinead Macleod, a 24-year-old from New York, said it was important to show female genitalia and “reclaim the grossness—and the beauty.
“During the debates when [Clinton] went to the bathroom, he said that was gross,” she said. “There’s no reason to be ashamed of it.”
Macleod might have out-done the other protesters in terms of female-anatomy drawings. She has an IUD tattooed on one ankle, and vagina dentata on the other.
I'm close to the White House now, on the Ellipse, the public, lawn-like area beyond the South Lawn of the executive mansion. Protesters are pouring onto the grass from all angles, and a dance circle has broken out in the center of the lawn. There are children frolicking around, and demonstrators are cheering and waving their signs.
The White House is where the protesters planned to finish their march. But President Trump, who many of them are specifically marching against, isn't in the building. He left about an hour ago for a meeting in Langley, Virginia, with CIA officials.
Scarlett Johansson Asks Trump to Support 'Women in Our Fight for Equality'
Various celebrities and activists are still speaking at the Women’s March rally, which began roughly five hours ago.
“President Trump, I did not vote for you. That said, I respect that you are our president, and I want to be able to support you, but first I ask that you support me,” American actress Scarlett Johansson said from the stage. “I ask you to support all women in our fight for equality in all things.”
She told her fellow protesters that she’s hoping people discontented with November’s election results will become more politically active in their communities. “Let this weight not drag you down, but help to get your heels stuck in,” she said.
Kamala Harris: 'We Are at an Inflection Point in the History of Our Country'
California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris told protesters at the Women’s March that she believes “we are at an inflection point in the history of our country.”
Harris, who recently became only the second black woman and first Indian-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, compared the moment to when her parents met “when they were active in the civil-rights movement.” Elaborating on the comparison, Harris said that it is a moment where Americans must collectively ask the question of “what kind of country America is.” “Ladies and gentlemen, I believe the answer is ‘a good one,’” Harris said. “Imperfect though we may be, I believe we are a great country.”
The lawmaker also said that women are tired of “simply being thought of as a particularly constituency or demographic.” Together, “we are powerful and we are a force that cannot be dismissed or written off onto the sidelines.”
Encouraging activism, Harris said: “It’s going to get harder before it gets easier,” but added that she believes “we will keep fighting no matter what.”
The women I’ve talked to so far are driven by a variety of issues, but for some, the future of reproductive rights is the biggest concern.
Dena Delaviz, from Columbus Ohio, held a sign that read “Abortions = healthcare,” and said she was inspired, in part, by a T.V. appearance by Planned Parenthood director Cecile Richards. She can’t understand Republicans’ desire to defund the organization. “Planned Parenthood sees Republicans, too,” she said.
Kaitlin Bruinius, a student at Appalachian State University, said she is worried about losing access to free birth control. Without the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control provision, her monthly contraceptives would be $80, she said. “It makes it a lot easier, but [Trump] doesn’t understand how great it is. He’s going to take it away without being in our shoes.”
Pooja Prasad, a doctor in Prince William County, Virginia said Obama’s election seemed to have made it more acceptable to talk about birth control and STD tests with her teenage patients. In her area, many teens rely on Planned Parenthood. Now, “I’m afraid that I’m going to have to tell teenagers that they can’t go and get free birth control, free pap smears.”
But many of the attendees were also worried about losing health insurance coverage in general, not just for reproductive care.
Yedda Olson, a high-school teacher from Wisconsin, road tripped through the night. She said many of her students' families work in factories and rely on the Obamacare exchanges for insurance. Her former students want to stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26. "A lot of my former students are really worried about losing that," she said.
Cecile Richards: 'Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights'
“Reproductive rights are human rights,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told protesters at the Women’s March.
She warned that the Republican-controlled Congress poses a threat to reproductive rights, and called on the assembled crowd to “call your members of Congress, call your senator, and say, ‘We cannot go back.’” She added: “One of us can be dismissed, two of us can be ignored, but together we are a movement, and we are unstoppable.”
Richards made a pledge to the crowd that the doors at Planned Parenthood will “stay open.”
“Planned Parenthood is not the problem,” she said. “We’re the solution.”
Snapshots From Women's Marches Around the Country and the World
There are roughly 600 sister protests to the Women’s March on Washington that are being held around the country Saturday—and more around the world. The demonstrations in the United States are reflective of the grassroots way that women organized after the election, and perhaps foreshadow a new strategy for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterms. They remind one political reporter of another movement entirely:
The massive crowds in DC, Chicago, Boston etc. looks like Democrats are tapping the same energy of opposition as the tea party in 2009
The march through Chicago was canceled because the number of participants—some 150,000—grew too large. Instead, marchers are staying in place and extending the rally, which was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. local time. “There is no safe way to march. We are just going to sing and dance and make our voices heard here,” an organizer announced.
Michael Moore: 'We Have to Take Over the Democratic Party'
Activist and filmmaker Michael Moore had a message for the crowd at the Women’s March: “We have to take over the Democratic Party.”
Moore took the stage to outline a plan of action to oppose the Trump administration, starting by urging the crowd to start calling their members of Congress “every single day” and calling upon young people and women to run for elected office themselves.
“The old guard of the Democratic Party has to go,” Moore said. “We need new leadership, we need young leadership, we need women’s leadership.”
Moore argued that public backlash over a move by House Republicans earlier in the month to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics prompted Republicans to quickly backtrack. He suggested that similar activism will get results in the future, though he failed to mention that the backtrack also followed a disapproving tweet from then-president-elect Donald Trump. “I’m telling you these calls work,” he said, “that’s how powerful you are.”
'We’re Here to Show We’re Present and Planning on Staying'
In the early morning hours of Saturday, a sea of color flowed into the nation’s capital. People descended from around the country to attend the Women’s March on Washington. Amid the crowds was a group of roughly 15 people donning butterfly wings inspired by Favianna Rodriguez, an artist based in California.
The imagery is meant to represent migration and beauty, said Alma Couverthie, the senior director of community organizing for CASA, a Maryland-based organization that focuses on Latinos and immigrants. CASA began planning for the march two weeks ago, with the additional purpose of representing immigrants.
Donald Trump, who made immigration a cornerstone of his campaign, has vowed to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. March attendees were fearful about what immigration policies the new administration may implement.
“I think it’s going to affect us—all of us,” said Madai Ledezma, who’s undocumented, in Spanish. “If they deport me, I don’t know what her situation will be,” she said, looking at her daughter who she had brought to the march. Ledezma, who’s participated with CASA for three years, added: “Perhaps, in the future, [attending the march] will help her, so she can fight for those of us that don’t have a voice.”
Fatima Coreas was in attendance to represent mothers like Ledezma. “[I’m here] for Latina mothers, who have left everything behind; they migrated to the United States to search for a better life for their kids,” she told me in Spanish. Coreas has a connection to mothers who have migrated for their children—she came to the United States from El Salvador with her mother in 2007, and was shielded from deportation by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “We’re here to show we’re present and planning on staying,” she said.
Ledezma and Coreas, with their wings securely fastened, promptly began chanting “Se ve, Se siente, el pueblo esta presente.” Translated to: “You see, you feel it, the town is present.” It didn’t take long before their chants dissipated into those of crowds around them: “This is what democracy looks like.” But it was no matter, as Ledezma said put it: the march is meant to represent everyone.
Roslyn Brock: 'Courage Will Not Skip This Generation'
“Courage will not skip this generation,” Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the NAACP Roslyn Brock told the Women’s March crowd. “Courage will not skip this generation.”
Brock reminded the crowd that black women are a powerful force in elections, saying that they “exercised the right to vote larger than any other group in this nation,” but added that “the silence has been deafening for black women and their families who also feel forgotten and locked out of a prosperous society.”
She called upon the crowd to organize, and fight. “We will march on till victory is won,” she declared, referencing Lift Every Voice And Sing, an 1899 poem later adopted as the black national anthem.
I’m riding on the Metro’s Green line from the station in Petworth, to the north, to the L’Enfant station, in the south, and the train is holding for 5 to 10 minutes at each stop. The conductor keeps repeating that "due to amazing, outstanding turnout, we are holding to make room for people." Riders aren't mad—at least not yet—even though the Women’s March rally is already under way. They keep cheering when he says "amazing turnout."
Gloria Steinem: 'We Must Put Our Bodies Where Our Beliefs Are'
American political activist and feminist Gloria Steinem thanked the crowd assembled at the Women’s March rally, and thanked them for “understanding that sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are.”
Reflecting on her life of activism, Steinem described the march as “an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen.” She added that the people gathered in Washington and across the country to march “is the upside to the downside.”
She suggested that Trump’s presidency will inspire a wave of continued activism. “When we elect a possible president, we too often go home. When we elect an impossible president, we’re never going home,” she said.
Steinem said that if a critical mass of people come together to oppose Trump, those people can prevail. “The Constitution does not begin with ‘I the president,’” she said, “it begins with ‘we the people.’”
America Ferrera: 'Our Safety and Freedoms Are on the Chopping Block'
The rally for the Women’s March on Washington is under way, and features a long roster of speakers with some of the celebrity star power that may have been missing from President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
American actress America Ferrera just spoke, warning the crowd that the new administration is a threat that must be opposed. “Marchers, make no mistake,” she said. “We are every single one of us under attack. Our safety and freedoms are on the chopping block, and we are the only ones who can protect one another. If we do not stand together, march together, fight together for the next four years, then we will lose together.”
Ferrera ticked off a long list of what the anti-Trump protesters out in full force Saturday must stand together to oppose: “the demonization of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” attacks on LGBTQ rights and access to abortion, “the systemic murder and incarceration of our black brothers and sisters,” and building walls.
“It’s been a heart-rending time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country,” she said. “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. His Cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America.”
'We Can't Have True Freedom If We Can't Control Our Bodies'
Suzanna Walters, 54, traveled from Boston to attend the march. “I’ve been coming to marches for a long time. We’re really witnessing the rise of fascism in America. ... It behooves all of us to get out here.” Walters is attending with a group dubbed Feminists Against Trump.
Joining her is Judith Levine, 64, from Brooklyn. Levine touted a sign saying “Abortion rights is equal to human rights.” “I was one of the people that fought to have abortion decriminalized,” she told me. “We can't have true freedom if we can't control our bodies.”
Saturday’s march was born, in part, out of Hillary Clinton’s loss in November. Politically progressive women considered Clinton a champion of women’s rights, and worried about what the Trump administration would bring.
On Friday, Clinton attended Trump’s inauguration wearing white, the color worn by suffragettes who themselves demonstrated in the streets. And this morning Clinton thanked the women marchers, many of whom are attending in her name.
Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we're always Stronger Together.
There’s been some speculation that the crowds for Saturday’s march could well exceed those at the inauguration ceremony for President Trump. According to The Washington Post, Metro ridership was down Friday compared with recent inaugurations, and “fewer riders flocked to the system than would even on a typical weekday.” I can report anecdotally—as other journalists have on Twitter—that the two Metro lines I took Friday morning to get to the inauguration weren’t packed at all.
As for non-Metro modes of transportation, roughly 1,200 bus parking permits were issued for Saturday versus some 200 for Friday. And the trains incoming from Baltimore seem sure to be crowded as well.
"We Want to Make Sure Our Rights Are Not Taken Away"
Lisa Gissendaner, 56, is here from Canton, Ohio. Originally, she intended to March in Cleveland but decided a week ago, with encouragement from friends, to join the march in DC. Gissendaner, who's here with the African American Policy Forum, told me she came to support women across the country and women of color.
"We want to make sure our rights are not taken away," she said, adding that she's also here to represent women who have been shot and killed by police. As we talked, she began stomping her foot on the ground. "In my shoe, are the names of my great nieces and nephews." She added: "Every foot forward is a step for them."
Nanette Nilssen, 61, and Sue Kvendru, 56, just got off a 17-hour bus ride from Minnesota. They've been planning for the march for weeks, attending regular meetings to make signs and coordinate. Nilssen, who supported Hillary Clinton, felt motivated to come because of her work. "I march for children because they need the [Affordable Care Act], they need a decent education. I've spent 25 years as a day-care provider," she said. Kvendru jumped in: "This is just the start."
"We sat back and let it happen. Now we have to organize and take it back," Kvendru said.
It's 8 a.m. ET in Washington, D.C., and the city is already bustling. Droves of march attendees are filling into Metro cars, touting their signs, donning Women's March sashes, and breaking into the occasional cheer. Alexanne Neff, 26, told me she traveled here from New Jersey to participate: "I'm tired of having to fight for women's rights and I wanted to be part of a really big voice."
The former president could still win fair and square if Biden lets these five problems spiral.
Are constitutionally committed Americans doing all they can to prevent a pro-Trump plot to pervert the 2024 election?
But along with that question, here’s another: Are constitutionally committed Americans doing all they can to prevent Donald Trump from winning the 2024 election fair and square?
The Biden administration’s numbers are slumping in the fall of 2021, opening the way for Republican gains in 2022 and the return of the twice-impeached ex-president as a presidential nominee. The schemes and machinations of the pro-Trump movement are part of the story. But if we’re heading toward a crisis of the republic, the mistakes and misfortunes of the anti-Trump coalition deserve a mention as well.
This has become a common refrain among the cautious—and it’s wrong.
For many fully vaccinated Americans, the Delta surge spoiled what should’ve been a glorious summer. Those who had cast their masks aside months ago were asked to dust them off. Many are still taking no chances. Some have even returned to all the same precautions they took before getting their shots, including avoiding the company of other fully vaccinated people.
Among this last group, a common refrain I’ve heard to justify their renewed vigilance is that “vaccinated people are just as likely to spread the coronavirus.”
This misunderstanding, born out of confusing statements from public-health authorities and misleading media headlines, is a shame. It is resulting in unnecessary fear among vaccinated people, all the while undermining the public’s understanding of the importance—and effectiveness—of getting vaccinated.
Justices love to proclaim their impartiality, all evidence to the contrary.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett is offended by those questioning the impartiality of the Supreme Court.
“This Court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” she announced at a recent event at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center, named for Senator Mitch McConnell. “Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties.”
For Barrett to insist on her nonpartisanship at a center named for the legislator whose procedural hardball was instrumental in securing her seat suggests that, although Barrett’s peers have praised her legal mind, her sense of irony leaves something to be desired. But then, it’s not much more absurd than her colleague Justice Brett Kavanaugh insisting on his impartiality days after vowing revenge against the left while under oath. Similarly, Justice Clarence Thomas recently warned against “destroying our institutions because they don’t give us what we want, when we want it,” complaining that “the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference.” Next month, Thomas will give a keynote address at a symposium celebrating his years on the Court at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, alongside McConnell.
A conversation with the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt
For years now, artificial intelligence has been hailed as both a savior and a destroyer. The technology really can make our lives easier, letting us summon our phones with a “Hey, Siri” and (more importantly) assisting doctors on the operating table. But as any science-fiction reader knows, AI is not an unmitigated good: It can be prone to the same racial biases as humans are, and, as is the case with self-driving cars, it can be forced to make murky split-second decisions that determine who lives and who dies. Like it or not, AI is only going to become an even more omnipresent force: We’re in a “watershed moment” for the technology, says Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO.
Schmidt is a longtime fixture in a tech industry that seems to constantly be in a state of upheaval. He was the first software manager at Sun Microsystems, in the 1980s, and the CEO of the former software giant Novell in the ’90s. He joined Google as CEO in 2001, then was the company’s executive chairman from 2011 until 2017. Since leaving Google, Schmidt has made AI his focus: In 2018, he wrote in The Atlantic about the need to prepare for the AI boom, along with his co-authors Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, and the MIT dean Daniel Huttenlocher. The trio have followed up that story with The Age of AI, a book about how AI will transform how we experience the world, coming out in November.
Facebook is acting like a hostile foreign power; it’s time we treated it that way.
In 1947, Albert Einstein, writing in this magazine, proposed the creation of a single world government to protect humanity from the threat of the atomic bomb. His utopian idea did not take hold, quite obviously, but today, another visionary is building the simulacrum of a cosmocracy.
Mark Zuckerberg, unlike Einstein, did not dream up Facebook out of a sense of moral duty, or a zeal for world peace. This summer, the population of Zuckerberg’s supranational regime reached 2.9 billion monthly active users, more humans than live in the world’s two most populous nations—China and India—combined.
To Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, they are citizens of Facebookland. Long ago he conspicuously started calling them “people” instead of “users,” but they are still cogs in an immense social matrix, fleshy morsels of data to satisfy the advertisers that poured $54 billion into Facebook in the first half of 2021 alone—a sum that surpasses the gross domestic products of most nations on Earth.
While some Pfizer recipients can now get an extra shot, federal officials are still mum on what’s next for the at-risk individuals who got Moderna or J&J.
For some of us, booster shots have finally arrived. But they’ve charted quite a meandering course to get here. First, last month, President Joe Biden announced that most Americans would be able to nab third doses of mRNA vaccines eight months after their second shots. Then, last week the FDA narrowed the eligible population, before a CDC advisory committee suggested tightening the boundaries even further. Hours after that panel shared its recommendation, the agency’s director, Rochelle Walensky, reversed course and ballooned the guidance back out to more closely align with the FDA’s much broader guidelines—though she stopped short of urging the shots for everyone.
It is all, frankly, a bit confusing. Millions of Americans are now in a sort of immunological limbo, wondering which expert advice to heed, and how soon to reroll up their sleeve, as the guidance coming from up top shifts seemingly by the day. Boosters are, at this point, offering more whiplash than protection. I spoke with Walensky today at The Atlantic Festival to see if we could make sense of some of the current situation—her unconventional move to break from the advisory committee’s guidance, and the tough choices millions of Americans face as they navigate the months ahead.
Some of the plots to overturn the election happened in secret. But don’t forget the ones that unfolded in the open.
Last year, John Eastman, whom CNN describes as an attorney working with Donald Trump’s legal team, wrote a preposterous memo outlining how then–Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election by fiat or, failing that, throw the election to the House of Representatives, where Republicans could install Trump in office despite his loss to Joe Biden. The document, which was first reported by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their new book, is a step-by-step plan to overthrow the government of the United States through a preposterous interpretation of legal procedure.
Pence apparently took the idea seriously—so seriously, in fact, that, according to Woodward and Costa, former Vice President Dan Quayle had to talk him out of it. Prior to November, the possibility of Trump attempting a coup was seen as the deranged fever dream of crazed liberals. But as it turns out, Trump and his advisers had devised explicit plans for reversing Trump’s loss. Republican leaders deliberately stoked election conspiracy theories they knew to be false, in order to lay a political pretext for invalidating the results. Now, more than 10 months after the election, the country knows of at least five ways in which Trump attempted to retain power despite his defeat.
A group called Counterweight assists people who feel that their bosses and co-workers are forcing them to endorse social-justice beliefs.
Helen Pluckrose is a former academic who became famous for pranking the academy. Three years ago Pluckrose, who previously researched medieval religious writing, joined with the scholars James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian to concoct some fake scientific studies on outlandish topics, such as rape culture among dogs. They loaded the papers with phrasing such as “because of my own situatedness as a human, rather than as a dog,” and submitted them to peer-reviewed journals. Seven of the papers were accepted for publication. The exercise had its critics, but to the hoaxers, the stunt suggested that journals in the humanities are so blinded by ideology that they’ll publish anything that confirms their worldview.
One of the ocean’s top predators has met its match.
Filipa Samarra could hear the pilot whales before she could see them. In 2015, out on the choppy waters off of southern Iceland, Samarra and her research team were eavesdropping on a group of killer whales. She listened as they pipped, squealed, and clicked when suddenly her ears were filled with high-pitched whistling. “Then the killer whales just went silent,” says Samarra, a biologist and the lead investigator of the Icelandic Orca Project. As the whistling grew stronger, a group of pilot whales came into view, and the killer whales seemed to turn and swim away.
“It’s quite unusual because the killer whale is this top predator,” says Anna Selbmann, a doctoral candidate at the University of Iceland who is supervised by Samarra. “It’s very unusual that they’re afraid of anything—or seemingly afraid.”
The controversial cult brand LuLaRoe sold a powerful idea: that mothers could succeed as entrepreneurs while spending meaningful time with their kids.
People who have heard of LuLaRoe have usually come across it for one of two reasons. Either someone they know has tried to sell them the company’s stretchy leggings and fit-and-flare dresses over Facebook, or they’ve seen some of the gleeful coverage of LuLaRoe’s very public disintegration as a brand: the lawsuits, the bankruptcies filed by its sellers, the boxes of apparently moldy clothing shipped to vendors that smelled, in one woman’s description, like a “dead fart.” (Leggings! Never not controversial!) Much of LuLaRich, a new four-part Amazon series exploring the company’s rise and fall, focuses on its alleged mismanagement and manipulative aspects, grouping it with some of the splashier docuseries of years past. No one at LuLaRoe seems to have found themselves getting the area above their groin branded, or poisoning an Oregon salad bar with salmonella. But in one scene, a former LuLaRoe vendor recalls a company meetup where everyone assembled was, like her, wearing brightly patterned leggings and a broad, be-lipsticked smile. “I remember looking around and being like, We all look the same,” she tells the camera. “I was like, Oh my God, I’m in a cult.”