WASHINGTON ― Hundreds of thousands of people flooded Washington, D.C., on Saturday to protest President Donald Trump. Women wore “pussyhats” and “pussy protectors,” items referencing that Trump has bragged about groping women. But for at least five of these women, the march was personal. The man they claim sexually assaulted them is now president.
“It’s not right for anyone, let alone the president, to speak about nor treat women in the way that he has,” said Temple Taggart, a former Miss Utah USA who says Trump kissed her on the lips without consent when she was 21. She told reporters that she was anxious about leaving her three children to fly to D.C., and that she’s afraid of large crowds and facing political backlash. But, she said, “I want my children to see that I am willing to face my fears.”
She also tearfully cited her brother with disabilities — who died by suicide last month — as another reason she decided to march. She said she couldn’t help but think of how Trump publicly mocked a reporter with disabilities.
“It’s not right for anyone, let alone the president, to speak about nor treat women in the way that he has.”
More than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual assault, including groping or kissing without consent. Many of them came forward during the presidential campaign, after video surfaced of Trump boasting that he could grab women “by the pussy.” Trump denied their claims and promised to sue all of his accusers, a threat that has not yet materialized.
Summer Zervos, who says Trump sexually assaulted her in a hotel room in 2007, sued him this week for defamation. She noted that she would be willing to drop the lawsuit if the president retracts his statements about her and acknowledges she’s telling the truth.
She said on Saturday that she was protesting “to show others who have been bullied that you can have the courage to stand up to bullies and to people who are in power.”
She was joined by Jessica Drake, an adult film star who says Trump kissed her without permission and offered her money to spend the night, and Rachel Crooks, who claims Trump kissed her inappropriately when she was 22. Crooks, a late addition to the group, said she took a seven-hour bus ride from Ohio to show solidarity with the other accusers and “all women.”
“Like many, I am horrified by the potential upcoming administration and fear the consequences it will have,” Drake said.
The four women marched down a D.C. street with attorney Gloria Allred, holding a banner that read: “Women Seeking Justice Against Trump.”
Cathy Heller, another Trump accuser, reserved an Amtrak car to bring supporters from New York City to D.C. for the protest. She had more than 40 commitments in little over the week and called the group “Cathy’s Train.”
She carried a sign on Saturday that read, “The Noisy Majority.” She told The Huffington Post that she never made it to the actual march route. But she noted that she did have the opportunity to walk past the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, and she was pleased to hear the crowd shouting: “Shame! Shame!”