The president of the United States is used to being saluted, but a cyclist in Virginia put her own particular slant on the tradition on Saturday when she was overtaken by Donald Trump’s motorcade.
The woman on her bike was photographed raising her middle finger when Trump’s vehicles passed her on their way out from the Trump National Golf Club on the banks of the Potomac river, on the outskirts of Washington DC. She repeated the gesture when she caught up with the motorcade.
As noted in the White House pool report, “POTUS’s motorcade departed the Trump National Golf Club at 3.12pm, passing two pedestrians, one of whom gave a thumbs-down sign. Then it overtook a female cyclist, wearing a white top and cycling helmet, who responded by giving the middle finger.
“The motorcade had to slow and the cyclist caught up, still offering the finger, before turning off in a different direction. Motorcade is now gathering speed and heading for DC.”
Social media users responded to the image of the cyclist with messages such as “Heroine!” and “Her2020”.
Earlier on Saturday, as Trump’s vehicle entered the luxury golf club in northern Virginia, a region where he has little support, a woman stood at the entrance with a handwritten sign that said: “Impeach.”
A Twitter user called “Trump’s Nanny” subsequently came forward to identify herself as the protester. Her Twitter profile says: “I am Donald Trump’s babysitter, and you are, too. He is a deranged dictator who needs constant supervision from all of us.”
In the afternoon, as the presidential motorcade pulled out of the club, two pedestrians were walking by. One energetically gave a thumbs down sign. Moments later the motorcade passed the cyclist. All three shows of dissent were from women.
America is more accepting of such protests than some democracies. In 2010, in South Africa, the political activist Chumani Maxwele was out jogging when he was accused of raising his middle finger to President Jacob Zuma’s motorcade. Arrested and bundled into a vehicle by three policemen, he allegedly had his hands tied behind his back and a black hood placed over his head.
The South Africa Human Rights Commission later ruled that Maxwele’s rights had been violated. Four years after the incident, the police minister sent him a letter of apology.
Trump has visited his Virginia golf club on four consecutive weekends. He often criticised Barack Obama for playing golf while he was president and has faced accusations of hypocrisy for doing so even more regularly himself.
Trump has used golf as a means to woo senators, playing recently with Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham, among others. Both reported that the president beat them, Paul telling reporters this month: “The president never loses, didn’t you know?”
The White House did not disclose the identity of Trump’s playing partners on Saturday at the 800-acre property along the Potomac river in Sterling, Virginia, but NBC News broadcast long-range footage of them on the course.
The president could be seen in a white cap and grey sweater. Later that night he went for dinner with the first lady, Melania Trump, at the Trump International hotel in Washington – the second time in a day that he had patronised one of his own properties.
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