Thousands join 'MAGA March' in Washington as Donald Trump does drive-by

Nick Allen
·4 min read

Supporters of Donald Trump poured into the streets of Washington on Saturday to back his unfounded claims of election fraud.

Several thousand people filled Freedom Plaza, near the White House, for a rally at which very few wore masks.

Chants of "Four more years" and "USA, USA " echoed through the centre of the capital where many shops were boarded up, and roads blocked off by police amid a heavy security presence.

As he left the White House, for his golf course in Virginia, Mr Trump's convoy did a circuit of the plaza. His limousine was greeted by screams, chants, Trump flags, and people punching the air and running alongside.

Through a window the president smiled, waved and gave a thumbs up.

convoy - Shutterstock
convoy - Shutterstock

It came as Mr Trump's legal attempts to challenge the election result hit a series of setbacks. He suffered court losses in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan, including an effort to block the counting of thousands of postal ballots in Philadelphia.

Mr Trump has continued to refuse to concede defeat to Joe Biden.

John Kelly, Mr Trump's former chief of staff, has said there could be "catastrophic" consequences if the president did not cooperate with a smooth transition.

Mr Kelly said: "Mr Trump should order the transition process begin immediately. It is the right and moral thing to do."

Mr Trump is reportedly considering starting a social media company after leaving the White House, according to a Republican official.

In the crowd at Freedom Plaza his supporters vocally challenged the result.

Maureen Healy, 26, from New York, carrying a "Women For Trump" flag, said: "I went to bed on Tuesday night thinking that Trump won because I saw all the same things as were happening 2016.

"Then, miraculously, all these votes turned up at four o' clock in the morning. This is America not a third world country. It literally happened overnight, and this is what happens in communist countries."

Her friend Dana Digioacchino, 35, said: "There's been a lot of anxiety but I have faith that it's going to work out because I think good prevails, and what's happening is evil."

Trump - AP
Trump - AP

One demonstrator, dressed in a business suit and wearing a Donald Trump mask, pointed at the crowd, saying: "You see this s--- here? You see it? The people have spoken. I don't have to say nothing. We won."

As the crowd listened to "God Bless The USA" at full volume scores of men marched through chanting "America First".

Members of the Oath Keepers militia and Proud Boys had said they intended to be there, but indicated they would adhere to local gun laws, which do not allow open carrying of weapons.

Chris Rodriguez, director of Washington DC's homeland security department, said: "People who come to the district know that you can't bring weapons to our city, and that violence will not be tolerated."

A giant "Trump 2020" flag was placed on the ground in the middle of the plaza, and one group prayed as a pastor intoned "In Jesus's Name".

One man brought a movie poster of The Sixth Sense, altered to say: "I see dead people voting."

A woman wore body armour and carried a sign saying: "Trump Won. Period."

The city of Washington is overwhelmingly Democrat - Joe Biden won 92 per cent of the vote - and some of Mr Trump's supporters had travelled long distances.

John Bradfield, 56, wearing a "Jesus Is My Savior " T-shirt, drove seven hours from Dayton, Ohio.

He said: "We just want a fair election, we want to make sure all the votes are counted. Obviously, I hope Trump wins."

His wife Pamela, 50, a nurse, said: "There's a lot of corruption in the United States. It would appear it [the election] was stolen. We’re here for freedom."

Organisers had called the Washington rally the "Million MAGA March". Among those expected to attend were far-right internet personalities and conspiracy theorists.

Some of Mr Trump's supporters planned to march to the US Supreme Court.

On the eve of the event Mr Trump had offered his encouragement, writing on Twitter that it was "heartwarming to see all of the tremendous support out there, especially the organic rallies that are springing up."

Anti-Trump groups held rival demonstrations around the capital.

Andy Zee, of Refuse Fascism, said: "People poured their hearts into voting against Trump. They fought through outrageous moves by Trump to deny them the vote. And, Biden has decisively won, and they rightly celebrated.

"We must not allow the Trump regime to illegitimately overturn this election.