Less than 24 hours before the House votes on articles of impeachment, hundreds of Philadelphians rallied at Thomas Paine Plaza on Tuesday night to push for President Donald Trump’s removal from office.
The demonstrators, part of a national effort organized by MoveOn.org, gathered for over an hour at the northwest corner of City Hall despite continuous rain and near-freezing conditions.
They held homemade signs that read, “United we stand," “When does this abuse of power end?” and similar expressions while listening to speeches, songs, and chanting their disapproval of the president, at one time saying in unison: “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go."
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Many of the protesters said they have frequently attended demonstrations since Trump was elected in 2016, and some expressed disappointment that Wednesday’s vote in the full House wouldn’t be the end of their frustrations.
“Things are going to be a dogfight for the next few years. No one’s going to give ground," said Brent Blanchard, who lifted a 12-by-5-foot sign illuminated with tea lights that read: “Ditch the buffoon.”
“But the only way to turn it is to start somewhere, so that’s why we’re here.”
His sentiment was echoed by other demonstrators throughout the night, despite the likelihood that even if the president is impeached on Wednesday he will probably be acquitted by the Senate. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
“This isn’t to try and actually remove him from office, we know that’s not going to happen,” said Jason Stump, a second-year law student at Rutgers University. “This is so that when our children are in history class, they can see we did everything we possibly could to hold this man to account.”
Many of the demonstrators were regulars to anti-Trump rallies. John Prenis of Philadelphia has attended more than 50 rallies and marches since Trump was elected.
“I was hoping for a quiet retirement, and then Trump happened,” said the 72-year-old. “I refuse to let Trump cast a shadow over my golden years.”