Gloria Steinem delivered a colorful and wide-ranging speech to kick off Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, during which she expressed gratitude that former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are still alive, accused President Trump of being mentally ill and encouraged marchers to register as Muslims.
“Do not try to divide us,” Ms. Steinem warned the president. “If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims.”
Ms. Steinem said the president made grandiose promises during Friday’s inaugural address that he cannot possibly keep.
“Everything that happened before him was a disaster, and everything that he would do would be fantastic, the best ever, miracles and all the superlatives,” she said. “He also said he was with the people. Indeed, he was the people.”
“To paraphrase a famous quote, I just want to say: I have met the people, and you are not them,” she continued. “We are the people.”
She accused the president of being mentally ill, citing a letter sent by three professors of psychiatry in November warning that Mr. Trump may suffer from a disorder.
“Some very experienced doctors of the American Psychiatric Association have publicly written to warn us that, ‘his widely reported symptoms of mental instability, including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticisms, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of office.’”
For its part, the American Psychiatrist Association frowns on diagnosing people with mental illness from afar, saying it is “unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”
The feminist activist took a detour during her speech to discuss the assassinations of politicians and civil rights leaders during the 1960s.
“We remember the death of the future with Martin Luther King, with Jack Kennedy, with Bobby Kennedy, with Malcom X,” she said. “Without those deaths, for instance, [former president Richard] Nixon would not have been elected, and there would not have been many of the wars we had.”
Ms. Steinem expressed gratitude that contemporary political figures have not suffered similar fates.
“Now, our great leaders like Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are still with us,” she said. “And remember how much we feared they might not be, and how much threat there was, in fact, on their lives. And they are with us. And now our honored Bernie Sanders is still with us.”
“And now Hillary Clinton is alive and definitely not in jail,” she said.