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The Hunt For Trump


“There he goes!”


We were in a sub-grouping of about 1,000 people, part of a huge group of hundreds of thousands that had come to Washington to hunt Trump down. People were fanning out all over the downtown area. Some headed over to Foggy Bottom, on rumors that Trump had a submarine waiting for him in the Potomac, to whisk him away someplace. Others went towards Dupont Circle and Embassy Row; there had been reports that a foreign embassy (Russia? Saudi Arabia? The Emirates?) would provide him asylum. The group I was part of was looking for him to the east, in the blocks toward Trump International Hotel. That’s when we heard the woman yell, “There he goes!”

We turned our heads in her direction. “Where?” “Are you sure?” “Which direction?” There was plenty of chaos in that fog of war.

“Of course I’m sure!” She was a small, thin woman with red hair and a Biden-Harris sweatshirt. She was pointing past the White House Visitor Center down Pennsylvania Avenue. “I know it was him! The orange hair! The fat ass! He was alone! And running!”

“Where did he go?” I shouted.

“He turned at 12th Street Northwest and disappeared around the corner.”

“He’s headed towards his hotel!” someone cried out. Like a flock of gulls, we pivoted as a unit and began running towards the hotel. When we got there, it was surrounded by uniformed troops carrying big weapons. There was no sign of Trump.

As night fell, I went back to my hotel. The quarry had eluded us—temporarily. The “Hunt For Trump,” as it became known in the media, had grown from a simple tweet—“Why don’t we march on Washington, find him, and have a trial?”–into a spontaneous phenomenon of tremendous power. Within three days, close to half-a-million of us had flown, driven, hitch-hiked and trained into Washington. Some stayed in expensive hotels; others set up tents in The Ellipse. I myself was lucky to have gotten a room in the Hampton Inn, only blocks from the White House, for the relatively cheap price of $85 a night. Restaurants and bars were closed everywhere, of course, thanks to the pandemic, but the bars were serving take-out. As the night was mild, a group of about twelve of us took our drinks and gathered around an outdoor fountain in front of the hotel.

“We have to find him,” said a big, beefy guy who wore a red and white Washington Nationals baseball cap backwards. He had a long pony tail.

“How do we even know he’s still here?” asked a Black guy I’d met earlier, by the name of Rodney.

“He has to be,” I said. “The entire city is closed off by the National Guard. The airports are on super-alert. He’s here. I can smell him.”

“Maybe he got away on that submarine,” said a woman who gave her name as Elise. “I mean, he could be halfway across the Atlantic by now.”

“It’s possible,” I countered. “But as long as there’s a possibility he’s trapped in D.C., we have to keep up the Hunt.”

Then a young guy with an iPhone interrupted. “Hey!” he shouted, looking at his little screen. “Somebody on Twitter is saying he was just spotted at the FBI Building!”

Everybody pulled out his own cell phone and began pecking in search orders.

“There’s nothing posted at the FBI website,” said an older man, improbably dressed in a suit and tie.

“Nothing on MSNBC,” said a sharp-featured lady.

“Wait!” It was a very young woman, with shimmering black hair. “I’m on TikTok. Somebody says he’s in the lobby of the FBI, surrounded by Proud Boys and Qanon people, making a last stand!”

That’s all it took. We raced off to the east, toward E Street, where the FBI headquarters is. Along the way, we saw tens of thousands of our fellow Hunters, all headed in the same direction. The air was electric. Something big was happening. We picked up the pace.

We could barely get within half-a-block of the FBI, so thronged were the streets. People held signs: LOCK HIM UP! TRUMP THE TRAITOR! JAIL THE ENTIRE TRUMP FAMILY! CRUZ AND HAWLEY TO GITMO! Suddenly there was a glow in the night: a fiery torch! Then another! And another! People were holding their torches aloft, like a scene from Frankenstein. The crowd pressed in closer to the FBI building; I was carried irresistibly along with the wave.

Helicopters were buzzing overhead. I heard voices over loudspeakers but they were crackly and muffled and I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Flashbulbs from phone cams and media cameras went off like strobe lights. The helicopters threw down bright, sharp spotlights. The scene was complete mayhem. The next thing I knew, people were screaming and yelling. Somebody was saying something about the Proud Boys. I heard a gunshot, then another. Then my nostrils pinched and I reeled and couldn’t breathe, as the tear gas settled down on our heads.

* * *

Well, we all know how it ended. The Virginia and Maryland National Guards, thank goodness, came to our rescue, assisted by D.C. Police and uniformed men and women from the various alphabet agencies of the Federal government who remained loyal to the Constitution. The Proud Boys, Q, and all the violent rightwing militias were rounded up, in fierce battles, defeated, and taken away in dark-colored buses and vans. Trump himself was arrested. I’ll never forget the scene: handcuffed, his usually carefully-coiffed hair in wild disarray, he was led down the steps by uniformed troops, their weapons drawn, and inserted into a tank. From there, he was taken to the D.C. Central Detention Facility, where he was kept under armed guard until his trial. He is now serving a prison sentence of 100 years for the crime of inciting an Insurrection against the United States of America. The Senators and Congressmen who objected to Biden’s election have all been expelled from Congress and have been charged with similar crimes; Hawley is serving a life term at the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas. Ted Cruz committed suicide. Three of Trump’s children—Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka—are in jail. President Biden just rejoined the Paris Accords. His approval rating stands at 72%. And in a survey of 500 historians, 492 of them ranked Trump the worst president ever. There remain bastions of dead-end Trumpers here and there, particularly in rural areas of the country, but they’re being eradicated. I like this quote from one woman, an Alabaman: “I voted for Trump twice. I was really angry when Biden won, and I believed that Democrats and liberals had stolen the election. But then my kids and my husband did an intervention on me, and now I can see I was hypnotized, or whatever. I can’t explain it. But I see clearly now. Trump really is a monster.”


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