Washington, D.C. is 2,819 miles from Eugene. Even with the loudest speakers and if President Donald Trump had a super bat-like sense of hearing, he couldn’t hear protesters in Eugene from the Oval Office because he’s at Mar-a-Lago right now.
Undaunted, more than 100 protesters stood in front of the Wayne Lyman Morse United States Courthouse Feb. 18, to denounce Trump’s “national emergency” declaration to secure funding for his border wall. The rally was organized by Indivisible Eugene, a local branch of Indivisible — a group that aims to dismantle the Trump agenda. The rally didn’t have a permit to march, so it ended with chants.
Jerry Samaniego, one of the organizers of the event, says he was ready to protest on Saturday.
“By the time the president got done speaking on Friday, I was hopping mad,” Samaniego tells Eugene Weekly. “He spewed all kinds of untruth. His demonizing of immigrants and distortion of the truth.”
He adds that by having a protest on Presidents Day, it not only gave more time to organize but it offered more symbolism.
“Not getting your way is not an emergency,” Samaniego says. “That’s what toddlers and tinpot dictators do.”
The protest organized through Facebook, email, ResistBot and MoveOn.org.
During the rally, Samaniego invited a speaker from Moms Demand Action to talk about a “legitimate” national emergency: gun violence.
Attendees were encouraged to write postcards to Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Samaniego urged people to attend Wyden’s upcoming town hall to push the senator to fight the Trump declaration.
Wyden has been vocal in opposing Trump’s decision, taking to Twitter to say damage from Trump’s fragile ego is the only real national emergency. Wyden will have the town hall meeting at 1:30 pm tomorrow, Feb. 19, at Cottage Grove High School, located at 1375 S. River Rd.
Trump’s national emergency on the wall even occupied time during DeFazio’s town hall meeting at Lane Community College last month. DeFazio asked if Trump made the declaration, what would stop a president from the Democratic Party declaring climate change or education a national emergency?
Eugene was only one of many cities to organize a protest against Trump’s national emergency declaration.