Trump was late.
He was scheduled to speak at 7 PM at the Concerned Women for America conference at the Washington Hilton but here we were, on the sidewalk, near the side entrance and he was nowhere to be seen.
Anarchy Princess, famous for upstaging former Trump advisor Peter Navarro during his impromptu post-conviction press conference, waited with her “Trump Lost Badly” sign, megaphone and a neatly organized cart full of protest supplies.
I was there with my camera. I didn’t have a picture of Trump. For all four years of his administration, he hid behind walls and phalanxes of Secret Service agents, never interacting with the real city. He rarely even left the White House, which he turned into a fortress during the tumultuous year of 2020.
Flashing red and blue lights appeared, blocks away. His post-presidential motorcade was smaller than expected. When he was President, motorcycle cops blocked intersections for his progress through the city, trailed by media trucks, communication vehicles and an ambulance – all the trappings of empire, roaring through the city as a helicopter hovered protectively overhead.
Now, he was reduced to a motorcade of just six vehicles, escorted by a couple of cops with lights and sirens, fighting their way through Friday night traffic on L St.
The black SUVs didn’t look much different than the Ubers that had been dropping off passengers at Shoto, the fancy sushi place across the street. People continued to come and go from the restaurant, Washingtonians accustomed to the continuous presence of sirens in the city.
Only a cluster of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers at the side entrance of the Hilton were a clue that a VIP was arriving.
When Trump emerged from his SUV, I couldn’t see him, though he was less than a hundred feet away – far closer than I ever imagined. It was dark and he was surrounded by agents and his entourage.
I glimpsed a hunched figure and a shock of orange hair. I clicked away but none of my photos came out, so I shouted, “Fuck you, Trump!”
It was cathartic, refreshing, a joyful moment, a message from DC residents like me who suffered through four years of horror culminating in the January 6th terrorist attack on the city.
While I couldn’t see him, you can spot him in the zoomed-in and enhanced video by Anarchy Princess (AP). Does he hear us? Does he react? The viewer can decide.
— Anarchy princess (@SatireAP) September 16, 2023
During this whole scene of yelling and sirens, a hotel staffer in gray had sat on the curb playing a game on his iPhone, ignoring everything. Amazing.
There is no better city for people-watching than Washington, DC. The arrival of Trump was high tension – me and AP keyed up, police officers in protective mode and bystanders suddenly pausing on the sidewalk.
But once he was inside, everyone relaxed. Not knowing that he would ramble for more than an hour in front of the Concerned Women of America on subjects diverse, we waited for his return.
We had a very interesting discussion with the MPD officers about crime, drugs and kids. Drivers kept pulling into an empty parking spot near the side entrance, oblivious to the massive security presence, and then getting annoyed when the police waved them off.
A couple of tourists came up to us and asked us what was going on.
“Trump is inside,” AP said with careful neutrality. To say his name is the ultimate litmus test. There is no neutrality; everyone has picked a side.
“Oh god,” they replied. They hated him.
And they were so excited to have the ultimate Washington experience of seeing an ex-President and his motorcade.
The police had come to attention. Lights and sirens were being turned on, there was activity around the side entrance.
“Stand back,” I told the tourists. “It’s about to get loud.”
Anarchy Princess fired up the speaker on her cart. If you’ve been to anti-Trump protests, then you know this song, the chorus of which now echoed off the buildings of L St.
Fuck Donald Trump
Fuck Donald Trump
Yea, yea, fuck Donald Trump
I didn’t even try to get a photo this time; instead, I concentrated on my yelling and obscene gestures. The motorcade went right by me, the orange head of Trump behind a window, just feet away. They made a left on 15th St and the sirens trailed off.
“Well, that was exciting!” the tourists said.
Anarchy Princess packed up her gear. She was going to follow Trump to his second speaking engagement of the evening in Woodley Park.
I was going home. Satisfied. Ever since witnessing the Trump mobs on January 6th in my neighborhood, in my city, I’ve wanted payback.
And I got a small measure of it on that night on L St.