WASHINGTON, D.C.—Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein told a crowd of supporters last night that President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday represented a “scary” moment in the country’s history—but said she was glad that the “veil has come off” and people are starting to turn against the“predatory bipartisan political system.”
Stein made the remarks at Occupy Inauguration‘s “Inaugurate the Resistance” event at Almas Temple. Just hours before, 500,000 people turned up in the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington to protest the Republican agenda on healthcare, immigrant and the rights of racial and sexual minorities.
The Massachusetts physician, who did not attend the demonstration, called it a “revolution” that has been “in the cards for quite some time”—and that both major parties are to blame.
“As awful, despicable, scary as this moment is, at least, you know at least the veil has come off,” she said. “And whether we were heading for a slow demise you know being strangled by neoliberalism under the Democratic Party or whether we are actually engaging the battle right now facing this neofascist administration, we are kind of going to the same place.”
She called the protest-filled inauguration weekend a “sobering moment”—but a hopeful one, as she hadn’t expected people to so quickly conclude that Trump’s triumph was a victory for big business. The GOP nominee ran a campaign that railed against “global elites” and the undue influence of lobbyists and the financial sector, but his Cabinet is set to include several veterans of Goldman Sachs, as well as multiple billionaires and CEOs.
“In fact, I’m actually a little bit surprised that there is as much clarity and as much resistance on the streets here at Ground Zero of the new era of the billionaire takeover,” Stein said. “I’ve been very pleasantly surprised I have to say just being out on the streets that people are not saying at least where I’ve been which is largely around Franklin Park yesterday.”
Stein was recording on the Green News Network online radio station during the Women’s March. Still, she said she felt like there was a “hunger out on the streets for discussion and for talk and for just really kind of soul searching about where do we go from here.”
She asserted that many demonstrators had rejected the idea “we just gotta work harder and get back in the Democratic Party” as a solution.
“People are really recognizing that Donald Trump really is a symbol of this predatory bipartisan political system brought to us by predatory banks and fossil fuel giants and war profiteers,” Stein said. “Donald Trump is the face of that bipartisan system and we must reject not just Donald Trump and the Republicans, we must also reject the Democrats.”
The medical doctor told the Observer afterward that there has been a consistent effort by the media to shut out alternative voices both before the presidential election, after the election and now with Trump’s inauguration—that there is a push to really “confine the conversation and also to demonize third parties.” She seemed to link this to increasing evidence that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a program of covert interference in the election on Trump’s behalf.
“I mean, it’s not just blocking us out, we’re actually being demonized as collaborators of Putin right now and responsible for interfering with the election…We are in a new era of McCarthyism right now which is extremely dangerous so you know it’s like hold onto your hat,” said Stein, who spoke at the state-owned Russia Today anniversary conference in 2015—and even shared a table with the Russian strongman and Trump advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn.
She also asserted that Trump is in “deep trouble” with ethics advocates for not fully dissociating from his businesses and placing them in a blind trust. Stein added that people should not be intimidated by “his appearance of strength and his declaration of power” given his anemic 37 percent approval rating—and his rejection also coming from people who supported or voted for him.
Tim Canova, who unsuccessfully primaried Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant; and Chase IronEyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, also spoke at the event.