WASHINGTON — Rosie O’Donnell and cast members from Broadway shows sang show tunes just outside the White House fence on Monday, joining what have been nightly protests against President Trump ever since his Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin.
O’Donnell told the hundreds of those gathered at Lafayette Park that the message she wanted to send was that “in no uncertain terms that we are alive, awake and we are woke.”
O’Donnell and the cast members from shows like “Wicked,” “The Lion King,” “Hamilton” and “Beautiful” wore T-shirts that read, “Now Showing: Truth.”
She pointed out one woman in the crowd and her sign: “‘Good silent people are the wind behind evil.’ That is such a great sign, lady.'”
This was the 22nd night of protests in front of the White House, in what has come to be known as the Kremlin Annex. A group of political activists launched the nightly gatherings in the reaction to Trump’s press conference with Putin, with the goal of keeping the president awake.
Speakers brought up a number of issues — childhood separation and attacks on the press — but the underlying theme was the urgency of getting Trump out of office.
Figures such as Michael Avenatti and Alyssa Milano have addressed the crowd in recent weeks, but O’Donnell has a much longer history with Trump. Before he entered politics, she had been one of his frequent celebrity targets. Although he is in Bedminster, N.J., this week and was not actually in the Executive Mansion on Monday, O’Donnell did what could be considered a bit of trolling.
She cited the case of Reality Winner, a former intelligence specialist now in jail as she awaits sentencing for leaking information about Russian interference in the 2016 election to The Intercept.
“She is currently the only person serving time for telling about Russian hacking,” O’Donnell told the crowd. “She is in prison, and it is a story that mainstream media has not covered. She is a whistleblower and she deserves our attention and the story our respect.”
She added, “Reality Winner is not a made up name. That is her birth name, and look who is in the White House. Look who’s in jail. Let’s hope that they swap places very soon.”
Also speaking was Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the 2015 Supreme Court case that led to marriage equality across the country. He decried the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the high court, and said, “We need to get this man, this illegitimate president, out of our house.”
The group sang “A Brand New Day” from “The Wiz” and “Climb Every Mountain” from “The Sound of Music,” before wrapping up with “Let the Sunshine In” from “Hair.” It was a quick trip: Seth Rudetsky, host of SiriusXM Broadway, and his husband James Wesley led the Broadway group on a bus from New York on Monday afternoon. After leading the crowd for about a half an hour, they got right back on a bus for the trip back.