Donald Trump’s first day in office has been marked by much of the same discord that characterized his campaign.
In the hours after his inauguration, the newly sworn-in President began some of the work of governing – even as hundreds of thousands of people gathered in cities across the country, and around the world, to protest Trump’s presidency.
Women descend on Washington
Many women brought their families to the main Women’s March in Washington, D.C., which began with a rally with the U.S. Capitol in the background. Heather Ba from Chapel Hill, N.C., said she came with four generations of her family, including her own 4-year-old son.
“We came to show our disapproval of our new president, and I think also to draw attention to women’s issues,” Ba said.
She said she believes President Trump to be “psychologically unwell and not fit to be president,” and said she was considering becoming more involved in local politics during the next few years.
Erika Abril came to Washington from Leesburg, VA., with her two teenage daughters.
“I just want them to be part of this – making history,” she said.
The family is originally from Ecuador, Abril said, and she’s alarmed by some of Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and minorities.
“It’s just hard to be out of a country that sometimes you don’t like what is happening in there, and then coming here thinking that everything’s gonna be okay, and then not knowing what is going to come,” she said. “That is the hardest part.”
Abril and her daughters held a sign that read, in Spanish, “Respect my existence or expect my resistance.”
Her 18-year-old daughter, Maria Emilia Proano, expressed frustration and disbelief that such a march felt necessary.
“We shouldn’t be doing this, because we should already be equal to men and everything.”
Mothers, daughters, and sisters
They were far from the only multigenerational family at the March.
Kristina Apgar, 31, came from Brooklyn, New York to march with her mother, Ruth Apgar, and 25-year-old sister, Samantha Apgar, who lives in Connecticut.
“I would be here no matter what by myself, but the fact that my mom and my sister are here and we’re all united fighting for women’s rights and inclusivity for all Americans, it means so much more,” Kristina Apgar said.
Ruth Apgar remembers a time when she “put up with a lot in the workplace,” and she said she doesn’t want her daughters to struggle like she did.
“I’m not going back to the good old days, because quite frankly, they were not good old days for me,” she said.
While the crowd that filled the streets for multiple blocks was mostly female, there were men among the marchers.
Eugene Beckley, a software developer from Ellicott City, MD., said he was thinking of his mother and female cousins when he came to the march. He said he’s worried about the impact of Trump’s administration on women’s rights.
“Feminism in general is only going to grow and be more supported by men supporting it,” Beckley said.
Not just women’s issues
While the Women’s March was billed as a display of unity among people concerned about the tone set by the new administration, it hasn’t been without internal conflicts. Women describing themselves as anti-abortion feminists have expressed disappointment about not being allowed to be official partners for the event, whose platform supports abortion rights.
And concerns have surfaced about the representation and inclusion of minority women, prompting organizers to stress that the march was also a platform for demonstrators concerned about issues ranging from racial inequality to climate change.
Stefani Peart, an African-American student at George Washington University from East Orange, N.J. said she felt the march ultimately succeeded at bringing diverse groups together.
“Being able to stand out here and see people of all races, all ethnicities come together to fight for the same common cause of just women’s rights in general is something that needs to happen more often.
“And the fact that we’re doing it right now just shows how [united] we are as a nation as much as Trump is trying to divide us.”
Her classmate, Arion Laws, is also African-American. The Charleston, S.C., native said she came to send Trump and his administration a message.
“They’ve basically insulted every single minority,” she said.
Laws said she hoped the large crowds in Washington and across the country would send a message: “I just want him and his administration to know that no, you can’t silence us, and we won’t be silenced.”
Protests beyond the Beltway
In addition to the main event in Washington, D.C., women and their supporters protested across the country and around the world. Marches were held in several major European cities, Mexico, Thailand, and India, among other places. Protestors in the United States who couldn’t make the trip to Washington organized their own hometown events. Thousands turned out in larger cities like Boston and Chicago, while many smaller cities like Sioux Falls, South Dakota, saw substantial turnouts given their size.
President Trump starts working Friday, visits the CIA on Saturday
As protestors marched through the streets of Washington, D.C.,Trump made an official visit to CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA., where he praised the CIA, railed against the media, and talked up the size of the crowd at his inauguration: “a 20-block area, all the way up to the Washington Monument, was packed.”
That’s despite the fact that aerial photos of Trump’s inauguration showed substantial empty space on the National Mall. In his first hours in office, Trump also took several official actions, including revamping the WhiteHouse.gov website and signing an executive order to “minimize the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act.
Soon after Trump took office, the Justice Department requested and was granted the delay of two hearings on controversial issues; one involved a voter ID law in Texas, and the other was a hearing related to a police reform agreement in Baltimore.