- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Erasing any lingering doubt that the impeachment drive is partisan, a cadre of liberal groups is organizing more than 600 pro-impeachment rallies across the U.S. to coincide with the House’s vote Wednesday on articles of impeachment.

The “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies being held Tuesday and Wednesday are trying to mobilize 200,000 protesters across all 50 states and the District of Columbia to urge Congress to remove President Trump, said organizer Jonah Minkoff-Zern, an activist from Public Citizen.

Protesters braved the rain and chilly temperatures to bang cowbells and chant “lock him up” outside Gaithersburg City Hall in suburban Maryland Tuesday night. One protester carried an inflatable Mr. Trump inside a cage with lights so it could be seen at night.

Gabriel Acevedo, a Democratic member of Maryland’s House of Delegates who addressed the crowd, estimated that more than 50 people attended the event.

Mr. Acevedo said the protesters were part of a “movement to impeach the occupant of the Oval Office and to ensure that we are preserving this democracy.”

“This is about the future of our democracy,” Mr. Acevedo said. “I came out to show support and solidarity.”

The effort is being led by a coalition of liberal groups including Acronym, Action Group Network, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), People For the American Way, and MoveOn.

Protesters also are coordinating with members of Congress.

Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona intend to speak at a protest in Tucson that pediatrician Eve Shapiro is hosting, she said on a conference call with reporters.

Before the Democratic representatives speak, however, Ms. Shapiro said a group called the “Raging Grannies” would lead the protesters in song and chants.

“These are not people of political persuasion,” Mr. Minkoff-Zern wrote in an email to The Washington Times. “They are people who are passionate about our democracy and would be protesting in the streets demanding the impeachment and removal of any president who used military aid to pressure a foreign government to interfere in our elections. Patriots across the political spectrum are stating that nobody is above the law.”

Mr. Minkoff-Zern told reporters on a conference call that the planned protests were “spontaneous” and “rapid response” to news of the looming vote on articles of impeachment. He said the protests began Tuesday evening and continue into Wednesday with a capstone event outside the Capitol as the House readies the impeachment vote.

The activist coalition posted materials online that it deems necessary for hosting a successful protest including talking points, proposed chants, training videos, and sample signs with messages such as “IMPEACH & REMOVE” and “#RESIST.”

Sample protest chants include rudimentary explanations of the impeachment process and praise for the value of having protests.

“Hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” reads one proposed chant. “Hey-hey, ho-ho, House and Senate can make him go.”

Another strategic chant involves a leader shouting, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, ‘cuz the power of the people won’t stop!” followed by a crowd yelling in response, “Say what?” The activists also posted scripts they want protest leaders to follow at the rallies.

“Since taking office, Donald Trump has broken the law, obstructed Congress, and abused the power of the presidency, and Republicans have refused to hold him accountable,” the sample script reads. “If our representatives won’t hold the president accountable, then the American people will.”

But protest organizers appeared to go off-script on a call with reporters and said their motivations for removing Mr. Trump from office were not limited to the conduct detailed in the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Gilbert Ramos, an activist organizing an Austin, Texas, protest, told reporters he was motivated by racism he experienced as a schoolchild because he believed Mr. Trump was motivated by racism, too. Mr. Ramos said he contacted MoveOn as soon as Mr. Trump took office and immediately began working to overthrow the president.

“This guy does not belong in the presidency, he’s a racist,” Mr. Ramos said. “Anyway, I’m angry and it’s time to get him out.”

Mr. Minkoff-Zern interjected on the call to remind organizers that they were all motivated by the common belief that Mr. Trump had abused his power. Mr. Minkoff-Zern said the protests would be a somber occasion.

Mr. Ramos added that grassroots activists were responsible for impeachment, not politicians.

“This is not about politicians and this is not about the news media,” Mr. Ramos told reporters. “It’s the grassroots, and the grassroots has the power to make change.”

The coalition intends to coordinate its hundreds of thousands of protesters via social media.

Mr. Trump’s allies said they viewed the protests as revealing how far removed Democrats are from the American people.

“Like the paid left-wing protesters during the [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh confirmation battle, these impeachment protesters will only demonstrate how out of touch the Democrats are with the rest of America,” said Mike Davis, Article III Project president whose name has been suggested as a potential White House strategist during a prospective impeachment trial.

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