当一小群拉力赛观众到达自动扶梯的顶端时，包含国家首都的热门悬念终于爆发了。每个人都扮演了他们的角色：白人至上主义者举起旗帜，在警察的包围下走了23街。反抗议者只是被他们的少数反对者略微畏缩，追逐他们，吟唱和尖叫，一直到白宫对面的拉斐特广场。 “操你，纳粹！”他们喊道。 “希瑟的正义！”“这是我的社区，我认为重要的是，当纳粹来到城镇时，你必须向他们展示他们不受欢迎，”来自33岁的非裔美国女人布里奇特托德说。 DC，以及“Stuff Mom Never Told You”播客的主持人之一。她快步走到23街，对那群白人至上主义者大喊大叫。 “他们在组织方面很糟糕，”托德笑着告诉我。 “我侄女的婴儿洗澡时间里的人数比这还要多。”55岁的白人女子克里斯蒂娜·罗伯茨（Christine Roberts）从新泽西州出发三个半小时来抗议集会，他对投票率感到惊讶。 “我以为会有更多的抗议者，”罗伯茨说。 “我没有意识到会有这么多反抗议者，所以我真的很激动。”在拉斐特广场，Unite the Right集会与反抗议者分开了一大片草地，几十个警察和围栏。 Al Stankard是一个穿着卡其裤和灰色浅顶软呢帽的黑发男子，站在一个凸起的平台上，谈论着“反白色的替罪羊”，但几乎没有人在听。这些媒体的人数超过了白人民族主义者的三比一，而拉力赛的人则分散在草坪上，与记者交谈，并用他们的MAGA帽子，旗帜和头巾拍照留念。穿过草地，成群的反抗议者推着篱笆挡住他们，尖叫着，“羞耻！耻辱！惭愧！“雷声汹涌，雨水开始下降。 66岁的戴维说：“我这辈子一直都是这样做的。”他描述自己是一位“亲白”活动家，并从德克萨斯州开车参加集会。拒绝透露姓氏的大卫说，他相信在美国生活的非白人太多了。他想做什么呢？ “你这样做的方式就像特朗普做的那样，”他解释说，事实上。 “你实际上并没有把人踢出去……你按照人们的想法指导政策，’也许现在是时候让我继续下去了。’”正是基于这个想法，拉斐特广场上的许多人才同意：特朗普总统正在帮助推动白人至上主义者的事业。例如，反抗议者指出政府实施禁止来自几个穆斯林国家的游客，其“零容忍”移民政策导致家庭分离，并推动限制合法移民的公民身份。这两个组织都表示他们去年被证明是对的，特朗普告诉一群记者，夏洛茨维尔的暴力事件中“有一些非常优秀的人”。
When the tiny crew of rally-goers reached the top of the escalator, the hot bubble of suspense encompassing the nation’s capital finally popped. Everyone assumed their roles: The white supremacists held up their flags and walked, surrounded by police, down 23rd Street. Counter protesters, fazed only slightly by the small numbers of their opposition, chased after them, chanting and screaming, all the way to Lafayette Square across from the White House. “Fuck you, Nazis!” they shouted. “Justice for Heather!” “This is my community, and I think it’s important, when Nazis come to town, you have to show them they’re not welcome,” said Bridget Todd, a 33-year-old African American woman from D.C., and one of the hosts of the “Stuff Mom Never Told You” podcast. She was walking quickly down 23rd Street, shouting at the small group of white supremacists. “They’re terrible at organizing,” Todd told me, laughing. “I had more people at my niece’s baby shower than this.” Christine Roberts, a 55-year-old white woman who came three and a half hours from New Jersey to protest the rally, was surprised by the turnout. “I thought there would be more of the protesters,” Roberts said. “I didn’t realize there would be so many counter-protesters, so I’m really kind of thrilled.” At Lafayette Square, the Unite the Right rally was separated from the counter-protesters by a large expanse of grass, dozens of police officers, and a fence. Al Stankard, a dark-haired man in khaki pants and a grey fedora, was standing on a raised platform and speaking about “anti-white scapegoating,” but hardly anyone was listening. The press outnumbered white nationalists three to one, and the rally-goers were dispersed across the lawn, talking to reporters and posing for pictures with their MAGA hats, flags, and bandanas. Across the grass, the hordes of counter protesters pushed against the fence holding them back, screaming, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” Thunder boomed, and rain started to fall. “I’ve been gettin’ this my whole life,” said David, a 66-year-old who describes himself as a “pro-white” activist and drove from Texas to attend the rally. David, who declined to give his last name, said he believes there are too many non-white people living in the United States. What does he want to do about it? “The way you do it is like Trump’s doin’ it,” he explained, matter-of-factly. “You don’t actually kick people out…you steer the policy in a way that people think, ‘Maybe it’s time for me to go on back.’” It was on this idea that many on Lafayette Square were able to agree: President Trump is helping further the cause of white supremacists. As examples, counter-protesters pointed to the administration’s implementation of a ban on visitors from several Muslim countries, its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that resulted in family separations, and its push to limit citizenship for legal immigrants. Both groups say they were proven right last year, when Trump told a group of reporters that there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the violence in Charlottesville.