Thousands of US Demonstrators Say: “Not My Presidents’ Day”

Americans take to the streets on Presidents’ Day to Protest against Trump, on the same day he named a new replacement for ousted Michael Flynn
“Not My Presidents’ Day” rally in Manhattan, New York, Feb. 20
“Not My Presidents’ Day” rally in Manhattan, New York, Feb. 20

Thousands of demonstrators turned out Monday across the US to challenge Donald Trump in a Presidents’ Day protest dubbed “Not My President’s Day”.

The protests on the federal holiday did not draw nearly as many people as the million-plus who thronged the streets following the Republican president’s inauguration a month earlier, but the message was similar, AP reported.

Thousands of flag-waving protesters lined up outside Central Park in Manhattan. Many in the crowd chanted “No ban, no wall. The Trump regime has got to fall.” They held aloft signs saying, “Uphold the Constitution Now” and “Impeach the Liar.”

A rally in downtown Los Angeles also drew thousands. Demonstrators there called attention to Trump’s crackdown on immigration and his party’s response to climate change and the environment.

In Chicago, several hundred rallied across the river from the Trump Tower, shouting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”

Several hundred demonstrated in Washington, D.C. 

Dozens marched through midtown Atlanta for a rally named: “IMPEACH NOW! (Not My) President’s Day March.”

Hundreds of protesters chanting, “This is what democracy looks like” marched through Salt Lake City.

A small but unruly group of protesters faced off with police in downtown Portland, Oregon. Police took some people into custody.

Hundreds of Trump opponents and supporters turned out in Rapid City, South Dakota.

A larger anti-Trump faction stood on a street corner as part of a “Not My President” protest, similar to other demonstrations being held across the country. 

A group supporting the president lined up on a different corner at the same intersection. Police were on hand and the groups remained peaceful.

  Trump Taps Military Strategist as NSC Chief

Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a prominent military strategist known as a creative thinker, as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.

Trump announced the pick on Monday at his Palm Beach, Florida, club and said McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience”.

Sitting next to Trump for the announcement, McMaster said he was honored to take on the role and added that he looks forward to “doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people”.

The president’s choice further elevates the influence of military officers in the new administration. 

Trump, who has no military or foreign policy experience, has shown a strong preference for putting generals in top roles. In this case, he tapped an active-duty officer for a post that’s sometimes used as a counterweight to the Pentagon.

McMaster, who wore his uniform for the announcement, joins Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, both retired generals, in Trump’s inner circle of national security advisers.

The White House said Monday McMaster plans to remain on active military duty.

He will take on the challenge of leading a National Security Council that has not adjusted smoothly to Trump’s leadership. The president suggested he does not trust holdovers from the Obama administration and complained about leaks to reporters.

McMaster was Trump’s second choice to replace Flynn, who has been under FBI investigation for his contacts with Russian officials. Trump asked Flynn to resign last week after revelations that the adviser had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his discussion with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the presidential transition. 

Trump said in a news conference on Thursday that he was disappointed by how Flynn had treated Pence, but did not believe Flynn had done anything wrong by having the conversations.

Trump’s first choice to replace Flynn, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, turned down the offer.

It was not clear how closely McMaster’s and Trump’s views align. On Russia, McMaster appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.

The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

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