Thousands gathered in front of the Stonewall Inn Saturday as a show of “solidarity” against Donald Trump. Elected officials, LGBT activists and entertainers (with some meeting more than one category) exhorted the audience to stand firm against many of Trump’s actions and initiatives, particularly those that would harm the LGBT community. Speakers included Senator Chuck Schumer, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former council speaker Chris Quinn, Public Advocate Tish James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Members Corey Johnson, Jimmy Van Bramer and Rosie Mendez, Cynthia Nixon and Omar Sharif Jr.
Hundreds of thousands of people filled Manhattan streets Saturday in opposition to Donald Trump. Marching from Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, opposite the Trump World Tower, to Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower, the enormous throng voiced their disagreement with many things Trump; from snarky dismissals of his “small hands”, to his stated opposition to abortion and reproductive rights to his misogynsitic views crystallized in his infamous Access Hollywood recording.
Anger and opposition were the underlying motivators for the march and most participants, but the mood of the march itself was quite celebratory. Participants appeared thrilled to be there, joining with hundreds of thousands of like-minded opponents of President Trump in cheering each other on.
The day began with a rally in an overflowing Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, with thousands more people filling the surrounding streets. The rally and march were surprisingly light on elected officials. Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was the top-billed speaker, and Public Advocate Tish James and City Comptroller Scott Stringer also spoke. Senator Chuck Schumer was among the crowd during the march, but no elected officials walked at the head of the march. Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand did not attend.
U.S. House Members Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, in a Friday press conference outside Trump Tower, called for full federal reimbursement of New York City’s security costs incurred in protecting Donald Trump and Trump Tower. As they were concluding their press conference Maloney and Nadler were joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who said that she arrived by subway after being delayed by heavy traffic around Trump Tower.
Congressional Republicans have to date agreed to provide for reimbursement of only $7 million of New York City’s estimated $35 million security cost through Trump’s January 20th inauguration. Maloney, whose district includes Trump Tower and represents Trump in Congress, condemned that parsimony and also urged Trump to act to ease the great disruption caused by his Manhattan presence.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the press this afternoon following his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. de Blasio struck a reasonably conciliatory tone as he described presenting his views to Trump:
Thousands of anti-Trump protesters filled Fifth Avenue Saturday afternoon and evening, venting their anger and frustration at the election of Donald Trump. Converging marches from Union Square and Columbus Circle brought protesters to a stand-off with police just south of Trump Tower. There were a couple of minor scuffles between protesters and police, but no major trouble that I observed. Waving signs and chanting, the crowd’s contempt for Trump was unmistakable, expressed in signs ranging from angry to funny to earnest.
Will President Obama grant a pardon to Hillary Clinton? Should he? It’s an outlandish idea in some ways, but there are substantial reasons that Obama may consider granting a pardon to Clinton.
U.S. presidents have an essentially unfettered Constitutional “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,” not subject to review or reversal. Such a pardon can be for a specific offense or a blanket pardon for all federal crimes. (Note that a presidential pardon covers federal crimes; the president has no power concerning crimes under state laws.)
Will the anger and discontent fueling Donald Trump’s presidential campaign energize a “yes” vote in next year’s ballot question of whether to convene a New York State constitutional convention?
First, some background. Article XIX of the New York State Constitution provides for a ballot question every twenty years of whether to convene a constitutional convention, often referred to as a “ConCon,” with the next such vote set for 2017. If a simple majority vote yes on convening a convention, delegates to a convention will be elected in November 2018 and the convention will convene in April 2019. Voters rejected conventions in 1997 and 1977. Voters did approve a convention in 1965 (on the ballot pursuant to a statutory mandate from the legislature) and it was held in 1967, although voters later rejected the revised constitution produced by that convention.
A convention has the authority to rewrite any part of, or the entire, state constitution, but any changes take effect only if subsequently approved by voters in a statewide election. It’s an alluring prospect to many, offering a chance for a favored change stymied by the governor and/or legislature as well as offering the possibility of a broad reshaping of state government. In reality though, the prospect of a convention has generated strong organized opposition from public employee unions, who rightly fear removal of the constitutional prohibition on reducing state employee pensions, and ultimately fallen to the fear of possible excess by a convention free to radically rewrite the Constitution.
Eric Ulrich remains opposed to Donald Trump. The Republican mayoral candidate and New York City Council Member is one of the few Republican elected officials in New York City, but he’s not supporting the about-to-be Republican presidential nominee. Ulrich supported John Kasich in the New York Republican primary. Like Kasich, he has not moved toward Trump in the months since Kasich ended his campaign.
Chants of “Trump, you are not my friend” and “Donald Trump, for Wall Street” rang out this afternoon in front of Trump Tower as 40 protesters denounced Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Among the topics addressed by speakers at the protest, organized by the Hedge Clippers campaign, were Trump’s fundraiser scheduled for tonight and his previous claims that he would not raise “corrupt” money, Trump’s comments on the Orlando massacre and the lack of any subsequent Congressional action on guns, the lack of action on Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis and Trump’s recent attempts to describe himself as a friend of the LGBTQ community. Singled out for specific condemnation were Trump fundraisers Steven Feinberg, Wilbur Ross and John Paulson.
Three counter-prostesters joined the excitement, with two working their way into the group and holding their “Make America Great Again” hats out for the cameras. The smaller and more successful of the two worked her way to the front of the group, sparking some blocking and had her hat snatched and tossed aside. A third counter-protester appeared at the conclusion of the protest, carrying a sign declaring that “Obama + Hillary Support Slavery.” It seemed to be Obamacare related, but that’s not entirely clear.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito went to Donald Trump’s home and office Monday, holding a press conference outside Trump Tower to condemn Trump’s claims that a federal judge hearing a lawsuit focused on “Trump University” could not be fair to Trump because, in Trump’s words, “[h]e’s a Mexican.” Mark-Viverito was joined by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the first Mexican-American elected official in New York City.
“I’m not ready to say if I’m going to give him my vote.” That’s how Eric Ulrich, one of the few Republican elected officials in New York City, concluded our conversation on Donald Trump Tuesday night.
City Council Member Ulrich, in the early stages of building a 2017 mayoral bid, strongly supported John Kasich in the New York presidential primary and has not yet supported the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Although he began with a somewhat cavalier comment that “Donald Trump has to hire a better speechwriter”, Ulrich expressed strong reservations about Trump and his record of offensive comments. He also expressed dismay at what he sees as Trump’s lack of interest in the votes of “Republicans like me” who didn’t support him during the primaries. Ulrich nonetheless said that he hopes Trump will “come around before election day.” Ulrich may not vote for Trump should he not “come around,” however.
Former New York governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate George Pataki expressed significant reservations about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump Tuesday night, saying that he does not endorse Trump and that he’s “still up in the air” on whether he’ll vote for Trump. Pataki was among the earliest Republican critics of Trump, condemning some of Trump’s comments in August 2015 as the two campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination. (After his own presidential campaign ended Pataki endorsed Marco Rubio and, after Rubio dropped out, John Kasich.)
During an appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Pataki described himself as a “loyal Republican” who wants to support the party’s nominee. Condemning Trump’s “demoniz[ation] of ethnic groups out of stupidity”, Pataki said that he will not “blindly support” Trump in the absence of a coherent political philosophy. Pataki added that he hopes to see such a coherent philosophy and that he could support Trump should that occur. When I asked Pataki afterwards why, after nearly a year of Trump campaigning, he thought it possible that Trump would change his approach Pataki replied “I have hope” rather than an expectation of that happening.
Here’s a clip of Pataki during an audience Q&A and in a brief conversation with me afterwards:
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