Hundreds of protesters gathered in the crisp air outside the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening in opposition to President Donald Trump‘s executive order on immigration.
Signed on Friday, the executive order suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—from entering the U.S. for 90 days.
The growing group of protesters stood in solidarity against Trump’s immigration ban, but chants and murmurs of frustration with Democrats percolated through the crowd, revealing the discontent of an electorate disheartened by a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democratic Party that has in the past failed to listen to its progressive voices.
On the steps of the Supreme Court, Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate gathered around a podium to voice their opposition to Trump’s executive order, which wrought chaos on travelers, refugees, and as many as half a million legal U.S. permanent residents over the weekend.
“What the president has done is not in the interest of security,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. “It is reckless and rash. To protect our Constitution and our people, we must be strong and smart.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s Democratic leader, condemned Trump’s immigration order as going “against what we believe in in America.” Schumer asserted that it would encourage “lone wolves” to attack the U.S. and diminish our standing as a “beacon” of freedom around the world.
In the crowd, protesters drowned out Schumer’s statement with chants of “We are the popular vote,” referencing Trump’s loss of the popular vote to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by nearly 2.9 million votes.
In a rousing criticism of the president, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called Trump a “little man” and referred to his immigration action as “dangerously stupid” and “unconstitutional.”
“We must overcome this little man in the White House who’s disgracing our country,” Nadler said.
Federal courts in four states blocked portions of Trump’s executive order over the weekend, but the fight over the constitutionality of the order remains on the horizon. As the protest crowd grew, news broke that acting Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, an Obama administration appointee, ordered the Department of Justice not to enforce Trump’s executive order
Back in front of the Supreme Court, competing chants in the crowd drowned out the fighting words of Democratic lawmakers on the steps.
One man led protesters in a chant of “walk the walk,” calling on Democratic leaders to move for Trump’s impeachment. “Not one more day of fascism,” he added at the end of the chant.
“I’m hoping to hear the Democrats have a plan, any plan,” Nancy Becker, a Maryland woman who attended the rally, told the Daily Dot with frustration in her voice. “Hopefully, they have a plan to fight this in the courts.”
Ernie Britt, a 23-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, said he’s ready for Democrats to use whatever power they have to resist Trump’s policies.
“I’m here to hear Democrats finally step up. We elected them for a reason,” Britt said. “There’s been a lot of talk. Now is the time to put it into action. I’m ready and I think the people are ready, to stand up. To resist.”
As Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) prepared to take the bullhorn that replaced a dysfunctional mic, dozens—maybe hundreds—more people flooded in from a nearby Metro station, a new chant began to wash over the crowd, this one directed more at the lawmakers standing in front of them than the man sitting in the Oval Office.
“Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!”
Additional reporting by Austin Powell