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It was billed as the “Mother of All Rallies”—a pro-Trump gathering on the National Mall, just east of the Washington Monument. But when all was said and done, it was more like a drunk uncle: unreasonably aggressive and at times incoherent. 

Fortunately for protest lovers, the Trump fans weren’t alone. The Insane Clown Posse-led Juggalo March on Washington, about 1,000-strong and there to protest the FBI classifying them as a gang, helped fill out the space. The anti-Trump March to Protect American Democracy, several weddings, and the 46th annual Fiesta DC parade and festival made for a diverse crowd. Saturday was one of the busiest days the National Mall has experienced in quite some time. Sure, the Mall has seen far more visitors for a single event—inaugurations, the Women’s March, and other historic rallies—but in terms of the number of different events being held on a single day, there was a lot going on.

Throughout the day, Washington City Paper attended all the different events on the Mall to talk to people who traveled from near and far to be there.

Tania Maduro 

Credit: Darrow Montgomery
Counter-protest training for the Mother of All Rallies

Where did you come from to be here?

I reside in the DMV, but I’m originally from Connecticut.

Why are you here today?

It’s a time that we all need to come and stand together and confront white supremacy. It’s the history of what this country was built upon. It’s time to not just talk about it, but to start taking action.

What do you think of the different rallies today?

The folks who are here to oppose white supremacy, to fight against it, to take a stand against it, that’s great. We need everybody in the streets. We can’t win with just a couple of us. We need everyone. And the other folks … I’m hoping that maybe one of them will walk by and we can talk and maybe hopefully start to change their mind … It’s a lot of ill-informed folks.

Anonymous Proud BoyMother of All Rallies

Where did you come from to be here?

I came from Maryland.

Why are you here today?

After the election of Donald Trump, we see that there’s a lot of undemocratic views and a lot of undemocratic action happening in the streets of our country. And what I want people to realize is that, you know, the president isn’t the God-king of our country. He doesn’t have all the power. There’s the legislative and judicial branch that checks him. In four to eight years we’re going to have a new president, and after that we’re going to have another one and another one.

And people just need to get over that we have a conservative in office now. Because the pendulum will swing back. It’s inevitable. So we need to stop fighting in the streets and start focusing on what we want America to be. We need to clean up our streets, we need to make places safer, we need to improve our economy, we need to help the homeless population, we need to help the populations that are addicted to drugs. Just north of here, Baltimore, is the heroin capital of the world. And while they’re rioting and burning their city, we need to invest money so we can clean up the streets so we can help them.

What do you think of the different rallies today?

I know the Juggalo rally … I like Insane Clown Posse, but I don’t really have anything against the Juggalos. They’re just exercising their right to free speech. And I respect them for that. They’re not beating people up in the streets, which is good. At this rally I see an extremely diverse crowd of a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions and I love it. I believe that, even the antifa here that are protesting against us … I still believe that we can have a conversation with them.

James Featherston & Eileen McGuinness 

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Mother of All Rallies

Where did you come from to be here?

James: Louisiana

Eileen: Philadelphia

Why are you here today?

James: To support Trump, the failure of Congress to back him up. And I’m pissed. I want to show American support.

Eileen: Support for President Trump.

What do you think of the different rallies today?

Eileen: I had no idea there were other rallies on the Mall today.

James: What I’m curious about is the antifa.

Eileen: I think they would get more accomplished if they didn’t resort to violence.

Jim Griffin 

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Mother of All Rallies

Where did you come from to be here?

Fort Washington

Why are you here today?

There’s only one stinkin’ reason: God bless America. I’m here for my mother and my father. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the way this country is being flushed down the toilet. I can’t take the way that, if you ever have kids, when you talk to them when they come out of public school, you just want to get on your knees and cry. They can’t do anything, they don’t know anything. They can’t understand what Christianity is. They don’t know anything about what brought us to this place. What put you here on the ground right now. They don’t know anything. God and country should be the guiding point, the road that we all take. And they can’t understand or comprehend it. We are all Americans, but the borders are being open and now we’re nothing.

What do you think of the different rallies today?

We were coming here and people were runnin’ at the side of our bikes flippin’ us the bird. I’m Knights of Columbus, I’ve been an officer at least 15 years. I’m a comms person even though I’m kind of crazy. These people, the antifa, are the total destruction of everything we adhere to. They can really run quick, too. They’re in great shape.

Arsenio Salangsang & Kellee Jo 

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Juggalo March

Where did you come from to be here?

San Francisco Bay area

Why are you here today?

Arsenio: We don’t want to be considered a gang and our basic civil rights. That’s very important to everyone. If it’s OK for the government to say if you listen to this music you’re a gang, it just paves the way for the government to say to future musicians, ‘Hey, you have too many fans now, you’re a gang.’ It’s very important that this doesn’t happen to us. This is my freedom of being American to choose what kind of music I listen to. And for the most part I haven’t really had to deal with a lot of law enforcement, but I’ve had to deal with a lot of judgement from a mass population: ‘Oh, you’re a Juggalo? Fuck you.’ Always getting kicked out of places just ‘cause I wear my [ICP] necklace or my hat. They’re like, ‘Oh, you can’t wear that, that’s gang clothing.’

Spencer’s and Hot Topic don’t sell their stuff anymore because it’s gang apparel apparently.

Kellee: The government is a gang. The police are a gang.

What do you think of the different rallies today?

Arsenio: That’s not important to us. This is important to us.

Kellee: The haters gonna hate.

Arsenio: And ainters gonna ain’t.

Christian Ike & Jon McAndrew 

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Juggalo March

Where did you come from to be here?

Los Angeles and Northeast Pennsylvania

Why are you here today?

Christian: Solidarity, my man. Solidarity.

Jon: I mean ICP growin’ up, the music was always there for us. If we had a tough time or a tough day, they always had a song you could go to and relate to. The one day they asked for our help, we came down to help them out.

Christian: And ultimately they’re here helping us. You know, it’s full circle.

What do you think of the different rallies today?

Christian: I think we’re here for our own agenda. I think trying to separate it is probably the best idea. Personally, not a fan of Donald Trump or his minions, but that’s not ultimately why we’re here.

Jon: We’re not here to have a political discussion.

Christian: It’s just simply about discrimination and fighting that. Honestly, not just discrimination against Juggalos, but discrimination across the board. So, there’s a wider thing we’re speaking to even though it’s very nuanced and specific to this culture. But obviously there’s far worse discrimination in this country than what happens to the Juggalos. We’re just trying to make it a battle cry for everybody.

Jon: Trying to do our part.