Thursday’s rally was organized by film director Michael Moore, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump throughout the campaign, and included a star-studded list of participants and speakers, including actors Alec Baldwin, Marc Ruffalo and Robert De Niro.
Protesters held signs reading “Not my president,” “Resist” and other slogans. Many also wore “Impeach Trump” buttons pinned on their coats, and hats with the same phrase.
Among the participants was Randy Klein, a member of the left-wing Jewish organization If Not Now.
Klein told The Jerusalem Post that the thought of Donald Trump becoming president of the United States made her “nauseous.” Trump’s election, she said, has “ripped the scab off all of the underlying antisemitism that still exists in this country.
“It’s very sad, but I think in a way it’s also doing some kind of weird disturbing service to the country and to the world, to let everyone know that it’s not gone,” she added.
“We have to be the ones to stand up for everything our grandparents went through, everything our family went through, everything all the Jews went through.”
Klein said she also feels responsible for defending other minorities Trump has attacked over the course of his presidential campaign, including the Muslim community.
“It’s part of who we are as a people and as a religion,” she told the Post. “It’s all part of the tikkun olam, repairing the world. If not us, then who? And if not now, then when? “I think it’s now more than ever and I do this in memory of my grandparents and my great grandparents,” she explained. “It’s still right there and we can’t forget it.”
Klein made it clear that she is “praying for impeachment” and will continue to voice her opposition to Donald Trump until then.
“If we bond together, we might be able to save democracy,” another protester, Katie, told the Post. “Democracy happens on the streets. It’s on us at this point to demand it.”
Katie said she does not believe Trump has “the interest of the American people or even of good people all over the world in his heart, and like Klein, she hopes Trump will be impeached “as soon as possible.”
“He’s a danger to not just American people but people all over the world, so it’s not really about whether or not I can come to terms with the presidency so much as whether or not he can come to terms with the office,” Katie said.
A stage was set up at the level of the hotel. De Niro was among the first to speak out and begun by jokingly quoting fictional tweets that he said Trump might send out after the rally.
“Just like our founding fathers, you can love our country and not love everything about it. That’s understandable,” he added. “You can love your city, as I do, and not love everything about it either."
“That may have been what I was thinking about when I said I wish you-knowwho would leave this city,” he added to the sound of applause and a cheering crowd. “I don’t care where he goes, I just never thought he’d go to Washington.”
Standing near the corner of 64th Street and Central Park West, another Jewish protester, Richard, told the Post he is “scared of not knowing what the hell is going to happen.
Richard said he is most concerned about the hate unleashed by Trump’s election.
“I’m a gay Jewish man, so I have two things for people to hate me about,” he said.
“I’m scared and nervous.”
New York City and other communities across the country have indeed reported spikes in hate crimes since November 9, the day Donald Trump was elected to the presidency.
Some of these were also antisemitic incidents, with swastikas being painted in public places.