‘Not only is Trump not welcome in Atlanta, he shouldn’t be welcome on this planet…’
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Before the national championship game started Monday, there was another rivalry going on in downtown Atlanta. Avid President Donald Trump protesters took on his devout supporters.
“No KKK, no fascist USA, no Trump,” the protesters shouted repeatedly.
“Make America Great Again,” fans clad in red and black would yell back as they passed.
“Go Dawgs!” hopeful peacemakers interjected.
Variations of the same sentiments, sometimes much more aggressive, cut through the frigid air outside the CNN Center for about an hour. Police officers stood nearby and surveyed the action on the crowded sidewalk, though cause for significant intervention never materialized.
The nearly 100 people had gathered at the behest of Refuse Fascism ATL, which organized the event, to oppose Trump’s visit. Leaders unfurled an anti-Trump/Pence banner and led chants through megaphones, while others displayed homemade signs.
Locals used Trump’s visit as an opportunity to bring up his year-old comment that the congressional district that spans the city is in “horrible shape and falling apart,” which he made in response to the decision by U.S. Rep. John Lewis to boycott Trump’s inauguration. Protesters were eager to use Trump’s past words against him.
Jeanna Trugman held a sign that said in part: “Welcome to the 5th district, John Lewis already made it great!”
Trugman had taken MARTA from Alpharetta after she saw details about the protest on Facebook.
“He’s wasting taxpayer dollars,” the 58-year-old said while donning the kind of pink hat worn by those who attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. last year.
“I’m just against him. I don’t think he’s mentally fit. I don’t believe he has a brain capable of empathy.”
Jack Turner, who helped initiate Refuse Fascism ATL, was happy with the turnout. Especially because people braved the weather “instead of sitting at home and watching the game,” he said.
“Trump is joking about having a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jung Un and what are the Democrats doing?” Turner asked rhetorically. “We’re standing out here with the people of the world to say not only is Trump not welcome in Atlanta, he shouldn’t be welcome on this planet because this is a fascist regime and it’s got to be driven from power.”
Impersonator Priscilla Smith a.k.a. Donna J. Trump took a lighter approach. She stood with an unmistakable pronounced frown, a mop of wild hair and fingers outstretched in an OK sign, asking those who passed if they’d like to take a selfie.
“Millions of people came here to see me so of course I had to come and greet them,” Smith said beneath an umbrella. “I mean look around and see for yourself, the 5th district. What an amazing place, I mean how could we possibly have a national championship in such a terrible place as this. Look at all the crime that we’re seeing right here right now.”
Smith, who also joined protesters demonstrating against Trump in April when he was in the city to deliver a speech at the National Rifle Association convention, waved her arm at the Trump protesters and enthusiastic football fans before her.
Speculation that halftime performer and outspoken Trump critic Kendrick Lamar would demonstrate against the president during his show turned out to be unfounded.
Similarly, a protest suggested by the NAACP that encouraged protesters to wave white towels to mock the title of “snowflake” often bestowed on Trump’s critics did not gain enough traction to draw attention.
At times during the Refuse Fascism ATL protest, organizers directed everyone to take a knee, a nod to athletes who refuse to stand during the national anthem — a stance Trump sharpened his criticism of at an event earlier in the day.
When Trump took the field for the national anthem ahead of the college football title game Monday, he was greeted with a booming chorus of cheers mixed with some boos.
He left the game shortly before halftime.
Republished with permission from Atlanta Journal-Constitution via iCopyright license.