Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017
Protesters gather outside Flake’s office to oppose Trump, DeVos
PHOENIX – About 35 protesters gathered in front of Sen. Jeff Flake’s Phoenix office Tuesday afternoon to protest decisions made by the Trump administration, including the President’s executive order and nominations for members of his cabinet.
Members of grassroots organizations including Indivisible Arizona and JOE (Justice, Opportunity, Equality) Phoenix held up signs on the sidewalk protesting Trump’s stances on immigration and health care, as cars driving by on Camelback Road honked in support.
“I’m going to resist every step of the way this agenda that seems to trample the Constitution, ignore democracy,” said Wendy Garcia, a member of Indivisible Surprise.
Mary Santy, a member of Indivisible Phoenix, said the group planned on protesting a different issue every week, with Tuesday’s protest focusing on Trump’s cabinet picks. Santy has protested every Tuesday since the inauguration, and the group plans on protesting in front of the senators’ offices every Tuesday for at least the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency.
“Obviously there was just a vote on Betsy DeVos and they voted for her,” Santy said of the senators. “They really can’t be taking public education seriously if they voted for Betsy DeVos because she is for private education.”
Both Flake and McCain have clashed with Trump in the past, but some protesters said speaking out against the President wasn’t enough, pointing to the DeVos confirmation.
“They could’ve taken action today, but both of them voted to confirm DeVos as education department secretary,” said Brad Christensen, who heard of the protest through a friend. “So it’s mainly talk and I think they’re afraid. I mean, McCain doesn’t have to be afraid, he just won re-election for heaven’s sake. He can be the maverick once again.”
Another protester, Martha Hunt, said the senators haven’t haven’t reacted strongly enough.
“It’s great that they’ve made statements,” Hunt said. “However if their Republican President were not in the White House, someone else was in the White House, their hair would be on fire. You’d see them 24/7 on cable news every day of the week. Where are they? We have a Putin puppet in the White House.”
Several people wrote notes addressed to President Trump on pink postcards with their “recipe for democracy.” Debbie Detering worked with Puente Arizona to start the postcard movement, which she said is building off the Women’s March movement.
Several other protesters planned to wait outside McCain’s office to speak with someone, as the senator’s voicemail has been full and calls have not been returned.
Neither Flake nor McCain could be reached for comment.