Discontent in DC: Lawmakers, citizens protest Trump inauguration as celebrations begin

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Chicago women on their way to Women's March on Washington
Hundreds of thousands of women are preparing for this weekend's Women's March on Washington, includnig many from Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of thousands of women are preparing for the Women's March on Washington Saturday, including many from Chicago, and lawmakers are joining everyday citizens in their protest by skipping Trump's inauguration.


As a Pilates instructor, Melissa McNamara enjoys helping her clients improve their physical fitness. But she also has a longstanding interest in politics, even acting with political theater troupes. That's why she wanted to be a part of the Women's March on Washington.

"I want to feel the energy of that many people coming together. Women, and also people fighting for women's rights," she said.

She will head to D.C. on a bus leaving from the South Side, a trip made possible with funding she applied for as a small business owner. Several women pooled resources to pay the travel expenses for those who are politically active and want to go to the march, but can't afford it.

"They created a GoFundMe and they are sending over 100 women to D.C. on these buses," McNamara said.

Corrie Wallace, a diversity inclusion educator from northwest suburban Skokie will also attend the march, and is looking forward to being party of a diverse group fighting for women's rights and other issues.

"It's really important to protect our right to control our own bodies. Whether it's contraception or whatever you do with your own body, that's no one's decision but a woman's," she said.

Wallace will be at the march with her husband, two sons and a daughter. The family made the trip eight years ago to see the inauguration of President Obama. She said this time around there's more of an urgent atmosphere and hopes the march will make a real and long-lasting impact.

"I hope so. I think it's important to keep hope very much present regardless of what's going on. And I think if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything," Wallace said.

Men are welcome at the march, which is expected to bring together more than 100 different interest groups. Sister marches are also planned in all 50 states, including in Chicago, on Saturday morning.


Dozens of Democratic politicians, including some from Illinois, are boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Dozens of Democratic politicians, including some from Illinois, are boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump.

As the nation's capital gears up for Friday's ceremony, a growing number of Democratic congressmen and -women are boycotting the event, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The Evanston lawmaker said her diverse constituency helped her make the decisions.

"I literally received thousands of phone calls as I was deliberating on whether or not to go or not go," she said.

Many are skipping the inauguration as a protest to his agenda and/or his treatment of Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis.

"Donald Trump has shown himself to be someone who clearly does not take well to criticism, and this is a clear rebuke of his incoming authority as president of the United States," said Ben Epstein, professor of political science at DePaul University.

Epstein said it is not unusual for members of Congress to skip an inauguration - 80 to 100 lawmakers do it every four years for various reasons - but said avoiding it out of protest is unusual. The last time it happened in large numbers was 1973.

South Side congressman Bobby Rush said he would attend Trump's inauguration if his wife wasn't seriously ill in the hospital. Rush said while he doesn't agree with Trump on most issues, he is hoping as president he will help combat issues like poverty and violence on the South Side.

"I'm looking for something greater than just vindictiveness or vengeance. I'm looking for progress and help," Rush said.

Schakowsky does not think the inaugural protest is a signal that Democrats won't work with Trump.

"We're not saying a blanket no, but we are saying no to bigotry, to discrimination," she said.

Joining the protest with Rep. Schakowsky is Chicago congressman Luis Gutierrez. North Side lawmaker Mike Quigly is not attending either, but said work in his district is keeping him home.

There are no senators boycotting the event.


Wednesday evening, Trump made a quick stop in Washington for a pair of inaugural week events.

Wednesday evening, Trump made a quick stop in Washington for a pair of inaugural week events. He returns to New York Wednesday night and will fly back to DC Thursday to prepare for Friday's inauguration.

Around the capital, celebrations are in full swing.

"These are the Republicans coming to celebrate," said Adam Kinzinger.

Illinois republicans attended a welcome reception for supporters and donors, many with official tickets to the inauguration.

"I've never been to an inauguration. I'm so excited, looking forward to all the events and the excitement of Donald Trump," said Nora Koos of Palos Park.

One hundred sixty 8th graders from Crystal Lake flew to Washington Wednesday morning. Their teachers said this is unique political time is a rich lesson in civics.

"It's allowed for a lot of conversation to happen, deep and meaningful conversations about our political climate," said Lauren Dominici, teacher.

The political climate is cool when it comes to House Democrats; 60 of them are now boycotting the inauguration. National Republican Committeeman Richard Porter thinks the boycotters are poor sports.

"This is recognizing a key feature of the democratic system, which is the peaceful transition of power and the respect for the people that chose your opponent," he said.


This is the Republican's best chance in years to successfully pursue a conservative agenda.