For the first time in months, President Donald Trump refrained from vacationing at his Palm Beach home, Mar-a-Lago, where he has spent one-tenth of his first year in office. If Trump was not forced to stay in the White House due to the federal government shutting down, he would have been greeted by an anti-Trump march early Saturday afternoon.
A couple hundred protesters walked south Palm Beach’s beachfront Ocean Avenue from noon to 3 p.m. on a cloudy, windy 71-degree Saturday afternoon. Two anti-Trump groups, United Against Trump Pence and Pop Up Protest South Florida, organized the so-called Impeachment March on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s presidency.
“We’re going to work on get out the vote, protests, mending fences and more,” said United founder when asked what his group has planned for 2018, which has a series of big and small elections in Palm Beach County.
Laura Cain, a leader with anti-Trump group Palm Beach Indivisibles, had a similar message.
“We’re educating our members on how to register people to vote,” she said.
Palm Beach Indivisibles is the local chapter of the national Indivisible movement, whose members have flooded town hall meetings of their Republican Congress members over the past year.
Palm Beach Indivisibles has partnered with affiliates in the Treasure Coast to protest and lobby GOP Congressman Brian Mast, who represents Florida’s 18th district, a purple region that stretches from northern Palm Beach County through Martin and Saint Lucie Counties. The group plans to partner with Florida 18, a grassroots group, to oust the freshman Republican in November’s midterm elections.
“We’re going to do what’s called deep canvassing,” said Cain, “That’s where we target registered voters who have not voted in the past two election cycles.”
One of Mast’s Democratic challengers, Pam Keith, called for Trump’s impeachment at the march, despite naysayers.
“They said we couldn’t get civil rights by marching, and they were wrong,” Keith shouted into a megaphone.
For impeachment to happen, a majority of the 435-member House of Representatives would need to vote to charge the President with a crime. But Trump would not yet be kicked out of office. The Senate would then hold a trial, after which 66 out of 100 senators would have to vote in favor of finding Trump guilty. This has never happened even when one party held two-thirds of the seats in the Senate.
If Trump was removed from office, notoriously anti-LGBT Vice President Mike Pence would become President. The notion of President Pence did not sit well with Mary Lenkersdorf, a mother who brought her two enthusiastic daughters and waved a sign reading “Does conversion therapy work on racists?”
For Lenkersdorf, who has health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, each day of Trump’s presidency has been worrisome, she said. “Each day it would be, ‘Will they put it to a vote or won’t they?’ This is the worst freakin’ president in the history of ever. Even worse than [George W.] Bush, and I would give money to have him back.”
Cain said that one of her group’s members makes sure to inform the rest of the group about upcoming races. On March 13 cities across Palm Beach County will hold elections for mayor and other local offices, including West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton.
“Local government can help stop what Trump wants to implement,” Cain said.
West Palm passed a pro-immigrant rule in April telling city police not to hassle immigrants.
“Last year, we were all about resistance,” said Cain, “This year we’re about getting out the vote.”