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Trump Vowed to Disrupt Washington. Now He Faces Disruption in the Streets.

  • June 02, 2020

“Donald Trump is just a social media personality to us, the guy who told us to drink bleach,” said Artinese Campbell, 33, an African-American woman who has lived her whole life in Washington and who had come downtown Monday afternoon, just a few blocks from the White House, to visit her bank before it was boarded up and closed early in anticipation of another night of protests. She said she was sympathetic to the cause of the protesters but hoped they remained peaceful and had no plans to stick around to find out.

“I think most of us are numb to presidents who come in and talk about ‘change,’” Ms. Campbell said. “Nothing really changes if you’re black in America.”

As with many metropolitan areas ravaged by the coronavirus and the nation’s economic crisis, Washington’s victims have been overwhelmingly working class, black and brown — inhabitants of the so-called real Washington who were priced out of the city years ago and forced to live outside its borders. Hospital workers and Metro drivers have gotten sick. Uber drivers and bus boys have lost their jobs.

They would not, as a general rule, include the patrons of the Oval Room, a landmark expense account restaurant around the corner from the White House that was vandalized over the weekend, its front window tagged in red paint with a message of “The Rich Aren’t Safe Anymore.”

“Run, run, they’re coming,” one young woman yelled late Saturday night to a group of her fellow demonstrators on H Street NW, in response to a loud crack that went off about 200 yards from the White House, just after 10:30 p.m. It was never exactly clear who “they” were, or what people were fleeing or running toward. There were competing chants drowning out each other, masked participants who could have been anyone, a swirling fog of agendas. It was like Twitter in the streets.

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