WASHINGTON – The front pages on display Wednesday morning at the Newseum said it all: Stunning. Shocker. Believe It.
But some here were still having trouble believing it, even after supporters across the country had celebrated the victory of President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday night and into the morning.
In Times Square on Tuesday, a boisterous New York crowd grew increasingly quiet as the presidential election results became evident, while in Washington, rallies in front of the White House grew in intensity as supporters from both sides weighed in.
The tone was decidedly quieter at the Newseum where visitors lingered and looked at the day’s front pages, but rarely spoke.
Donna Salvati shook her head as she read the front pages, saying the results still had not “sunken in” for her yet.
“I’m just kind of shocked,” the New Jersey resident said. “I really thought it was going to go a different way but you know, you got to go with it.”
Salvati added that as a woman she feels like the election has “created a divide.”
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“I think we’re going backwards,” Salvati said as her eyes began to glisten. “As a woman, I’m offended, I feel like my rights aren’t respected.”
Keith Harris, visiting from Germany, said the results looked “totally crazy” to an outsider like him. He called the election results “the bad news. It’s a sad day for the world.”
He added that voters in this election might have struggled to separate facts from opinions.
“You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts,” Harris said. “And I think that’s where people have gotten very confused.”
There was no confusion hours earlier for hordes of students from George Washington and Georgetown universities who took their anger at the election to the streets, chanting profanities and declaring Trump is “not my president.”
George Washington University sophomore Daniel Cardona protested in front of the White House with a sign that read, “No immigrants = no wives for Trump.”
Cardona said he fears for minorities and immigrants under a Trump administration, citing the president-elect’s repeated campaign rhetoric against the groups.
“I think it’s going to be really hard for him to all of the sudden change his perception about how he feels about immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants,” Cardona said. “I really don’t see a possibility where Donald Trump tries to reach out to minorities.”
But Trump supporters said backers of losing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton need to take a look at themselves when they talk about people spreading anger in the wake of the election.
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Nick Dyer, in a white “Make America Great Again” cap and a “Trump-Pence 2016” shirt, said he was live-streaming the protest at the White House when he was attacked by a Clinton supporter.
“It’s a very hostile environment from some folks who say they are open-minded,” Dyer said of the protesters. “It scares me, that folks might react in that kind of way with a free and fair election in America.”
But while some grappled with the results, others chose to ignore them and instead use the campaign’s end to take a stand against bigotry instead of a particular presidential candidate.
Nick Kimbrelle, a senior campaigner with the global activist organization Avaaz, said the group decided to to light up bigotry – literally. Group members held light-up boards to spell out the phrase “Better Than Bigotry” and bring some beauty to the divisive presidential campaign.
“The truth is it’s been a pretty ugly campaign,” Kimbrelle said. “We wanted to make sure to end on a beautiful note.”
– Dillion Eddie in Washington and Claire Caulfield in New York contributed to this report.