When I first started this project at the beginning of the semester, before the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, I chose to focus on the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue because of its rich history and recent renovation into the new Trump International Hotel. I thought it would be interesting to analyze the shift of the historic site to a luxury hotel run by our newly elected President. However, after attending an inaugural ball, the Presidential Inauguration, and the Women’s March on inauguration weekend and watching the events that have occurred since the Inauguration of President Trump in January from Washington D.C., I have realized that Trump’s America is a divided America. Trump’s America is one wherein few have power and implement their agendas and the rest of the country has to fight for their voices to be heard. Trump’s America is an America wherein protest and revolution is a commonplace.
In order to demonstrate that protest is a commonplace in Trump’s America, I have mapped some of the biggest protests since the inauguration of President Trump. This map is meant to be viewed from the national level (points in blue) then zoomed in to Washington D.C. level (points in red) and then zoomed into the Trump International Hotel and Pennsylvania Avenue (points in grey).
Protest in America:
Since the inauguration of President Trump, there have been numerous rallies, marches, and strikes organized across the country in protest of Trump’s policies. Some of the largest, the Women’s March, the Airport Protests, and the People’s Climate March, have occurred in multiple cities across the nation. There have also been many rallies that have taken place solely outside of Washington D.C., like the Mar-a-Lago protests in West Palm Beach that protested Trump’s policies while he was attending the Red Cross Ball at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
In addition to actual protests, America has been protesting the Trump administration in another form. Both artists and corporations have protested Trump and his policies through songs, videos and advertisements. Artists like Kendrick Lamar have written songs like “XXX” which blatantly comments and denounces modern American society. Corporations like Budweiser have protested Trump’s policies through advertisements subtly alluding to current issues. However, not all of these demonstrations of protest in the media have been in good taste. Pepsi recently released an advertisement in which supermodel Kendall Jenner joined an ambiguous protest and solved the ‘issue’ by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi. Many accused the company of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement and that it was the opposite of what real protests are. Pepsi ended up pulling the ad a week later.
Protest in DC:
As the capital of the country, Washington D.C. has a history of being a center for protest for some of the biggest movements in American history. It is no surprise that in this divisive time for America, D.C. is a center for many protests against the Trump administration. For many large scale protests, like the Women’s March on Washington and the People’s Climate March, people have travelled from across the country in order to participate in these protests. Recently, Washington D.C. has become a site for political discussion and expression of disapproval of the current status of our society. Some protests, like J20 Inauguration Protests, have become violent and resulted in the detainment of some protestors. However, most protests have been peaceful and serve only to express the disapproval of Trump’s political agenda.
Protest at Trump International Hotel and on Pennsylvania Avenue:
Because of it’s proximity to the White House and recent lease and renovation by the new President’s business, the Old Post Office building (now Trump International Hotel) on Pennsylvania Avenue has become a center for protest. Protesters gathered outside both the White House and the Trump International Hotel after Trump passed the “Muslim Ban,” an executive order that banned travellers and immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. While the White House has been a site for many protests before the Trump administration, this was the first use of the Trump International Hotel as a site for protest against a presidential administration. The LGBT community held a dance protest outside the gates of the hotel to protest Trump’s stance on gay rights on February 3rd. This was following a similar protest outside the gates of Vice President Mike Pence’s house earlier this year. Most recently, protesters gathered outside the Trump International Hotel on Tax Day demanding the President to release his tax returns.
The election and inauguration of Donald Trump has created a divided America wherein many feel that their liberties and freedoms are being restricted. As a result, many Americans are making the decision to speak out and resist the agenda and policies put in place by the Trump administration. Protest and revolution have become a commonplace in Trump’s America. Protests, rallies, marches, and strikes have become an outlet for those who feel oppressed. People are no longer accepting what the government tells them, and are instead, making their own commentaries.