By Ian Simpson and Gina Cherelus WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Nov 11 : US President-elect Donald Trump today praised demonstrators for being passionate about their country, just hours after he accused them of being “professional protesters” incited by the media.
“Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!” Trump tweeted early today.
Yesterday night, the president-elect had posted: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Mostly peaceful and orderly protests took place in at least eight cities following the Republican businessman’s defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s election. Demonstrators have voiced concern Trump would harm Americans’ civil rights.
Trump’s critics worry that his often-inflammatory campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims, women and others – combined with support from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists – could spark a wave of intolerance against minorities.
East Coast protests took place on Thursday in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, while on the West Coast, demonstrators rallied in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland in California, and Portland, Oregon.
After Clinton conceded defeat early on Wednesday, Trump took a far more conciliatory tone than he had often displayed during his campaign, promising to be a president for all Americans. His campaign rejected a Klan newspaper endorsement days before the election, saying Trump “denounces hate in any form.” But civil rights groups and police reported an uptick in attacks on minority groups, some by people claiming to support Trump.
More anti-Trump demonstrations were planned for the weekend. Trump takes office on January 20, succeeding President Barack Obama.
Thursday’s gatherings were generally smaller in scale and less intense than Wednesday’s, and teenagers and young adults again dominated the racially mixed crowds.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus today acknowledged the tight race with Clinton, but said anti-Trump protesters had to accept the election results. He pointed to Trump’s call for unity and meeting with Obama and Republican leaders as reasons for reassurance.
“Everyone needs to just take a deep breath, take the weekend … count our blessings, and let’s come back on Monday,” Priebus said.