Demonstrators rally in Pittsburgh over Trump’s emergency declaration
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and state Rep. Ed Gainey joined about 150 protesters Monday outside the City-County Building in Downtown to rally against President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall.
The mayor said true emergencies in the United States include the opioid crisis, crumbling infrastructure and climate change.
“I’m here to declare we are in a state of emergency,” Peduto said. “We need help from Washington.”
The noon demonstration was among dozens of Presidents Day rallies across the country organized by the nonprofit advocacy MoveOn.org.
“We’re tired of our democracy being hurt and our constitution being trampled on,” said Alison Duncan of Pine, who was holding an American flag and a sign that read “The Boy Who Cried Wall.”
Speakers at the rally accused Trump of circumventing Congress on Friday by declaring the emergency to access funds appropriated for other purposes. Democrats have declined to approve his request for $5.7 billion to build the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. The wall was Trump’s top campaign promise, and he said it will help stop criminals and drugs from entering the country.
Democrats have promised to oppose the emergency declaration.
“The question is, is this in the national interest or is this about fulfilling a campaign pledge,” said Tracy Baton, director of the Women’s March on Washington: Pittsburgh, and one of the local rally organizers. “I have to believe it’s a campaign pledge. This so-called emergency is not an emergency. It’s an end-around the constitutional process.”
Peduto and Gainey urged people to call congressional representatives and voice opposition to the emergency declaration.
Gainey, D-Lincoln-Lemington, said Pittsburgh has experienced its share of hate in recent months, referring to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue.
“Just because of the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C., that’s not who we are here in Pittsburgh,” he said.
Protesters carried signs critical of the president and chanted, “No shut down. No racist wall,” and, “Fake crisis. No racist wall.”
“Our president is enabling people to attack brown people, foreign people, anyone who doesn’t represent him,” said Jamie Krashna of Uptown, one of the speakers. “This country was built on immigrants. We are done hiding.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .