On the streets of D.C., memorabilia from Obama’s inauguration

Hunter Walker
·White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A local family spent Saturday afternoon delivering yesterday’s news to some of the participants attending the Women’s March on Washington.

Newsstand owner Stephen Bota and his two teenage daughters stood near the march route, handing out free copies of newspapers from the 2009 inauguration of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Bota’s shop, News World, is about four blocks away from the White House, and he told Yahoo News he wanted to give away the papers from Obama’s swearing-in as a gift to the marchers.

“We are doing this as a thank-you to those who came out of their houses to do a peaceful demonstration. Most of them are Obama supporters in a sense, so just so they can feel like it was worth their time,” Bota explained.

Bota and his daughters had piles of slightly yellowed copies of the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times from January 21, 2009. He described the response to his giveaway as “very, very, very positive — beyond my initial thought.” He decided not to charge for the memorabilia, even though there is a robust market for papers from Obama’s inauguration online. In addition to his desire to give a gift to the marchers, Bota said handing out the papers would help clear space in his store.

“As a newsstand we have to make room for the new product. So we’re not going to be sitting here trying to make money off the old administration. It’s gone. It’s not coming back. But they’re here, and we’re giving them something to cheer them up,” Bota said of the marchers.

Stephanie and Alice Bota handing out newspapers from the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017. (Photo: Gloria Rejas Romero/Yahoo News)
Stephanie and Alice Bota handing out newspapers from the inauguration of President Obama in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Gloria Rejas Romero/Yahoo News)

Bota, who like Obama’s father is Kenyan, said he wanted his daughters, Alice, 15, and Stephanie, 13, to join in the effort.

“I have two daughters, and there they are,” Bota said, pointing at the girls. “I said, ‘Listen, you don’t have to go to march, but you can show support for their cause. The way you do that is to give them some strength.’”

Bota said papers from Trump’s inauguration were “selling,” but that it was “nothing compared to” those from Obama’s inauguration. He attributed this to the fact that Obama was far more popular in Washington than Trump, who won just 4.1 percent of the capital city’s vote in the 2016 election.

Alice told Yahoo News she enjoyed handing out the papers.

“Some people, they don’t like Obama, but most of them, they’re supporting it,” she said. “It feels good to just give away what we liked.”

Alice said Obama, as the first African-American president, was particularly meaningful to her because of her heritage.

“To me, since I’m half-black and then half-Hispanic, it was like our people are slowly getting up into [politics],” said Alice.

Alice had a much different reaction to Trump.

“Honestly, I don’t want to hate any more, because we can’t do anything about it,” she said. “So I’m just trying to hope that he does something good while he’s here — and just try and ignore it.”

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