Before interim Attorney General Sally Yates was promptly dismissed Monday night, she received national applause for refusing to enforce President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” she wrote to her Department of Justice colleagues on Monday.
It’s hard to say whether or not Yates knew she’d be dumped for her defiance, but her bold action showcased a trend that’s becoming more evident by the day: women are leading the resistance against Trump.
What’s even more striking is that women of color are front and center in the opposition movement. As the fight against the 45th President enters its second week, here are some of those women:
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Waters neither supported Trump during his campaign — she called him a “liar and a trickster” last September — nor kept her criticism to herself after his election.
During an MSNBC interview in December, she said she had “no intention in pretending everything is alright” and would “fight him every inch of the way” as a member of the Financial Services Committee. She said she wouldn’t go to the White House if Trump called, and vowed to “show the American people that they too cannot trust him.”
Waters was one of several Congressional leaders who refused to attend Trump’s inauguration.
Rep. Waters on Trump: "I don't honor him. I don't respect him, and I don't want to be involved with him." https://t.co/WRLNsw71Jt
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 17, 2017
In her capacity as a sitting member of the Congressional Black Caucus, she promised to fight Trump’s attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), because of his racist track record. And on Tuesday, Waters also announced a bill to demand that Trump be investigated for his dealings with Russia.
Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, was thrust into the national spotlight as one of the primary organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, which had three times more people than Trump’s swearing-in ceremony.
After the Women’s March, Sarsour was targeted by white supremacists on social media, who falsely claimed that she condones Islamic terrorism and sharia law. But that didn’t deter her from using her spotlight to fight back.
Following the announcement of Trump’s Muslim ban last Friday, Sarsour took to the streets and rallied protesters in New York City on Saturday. “We gotta be really careful ’cause the opposition is ready, but what they don’t know is that we’re ready, too,” she said. “While they are united around hate and divisiveness and racism and homophobia and xenophobia, we are united by solidarity and love, unity.”
Sarsour is also one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Monday by the Committee on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) against Trump, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Director of National Intelligence. The suit claims Trump’s Muslim ban order is unconstitutional.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
As the junior senator from California, elected the same day as Trump, Harris hit the ground running.
“This issue of how we are treating our immigrants, and in particular our undocumented immigrants, is one of the most critical issues facing our country,” she said one day after the election, in opposition to Trump’s proposed wall and deportation rhetoric. “We are not going to be achieving who we say we are as a country if we attack our community members, our neighbors, our friends and our colleagues.”
Harris hasn’t backed down since then. Not ten days later, she said she would fight his Affordable Care Act repeal effort.
Although she attended the inauguration, Harris immediately tweeted that the country needs to be “louder about civil rights, women’s rights, [and] immigration.” She also called on people to “rise up” and promised to “defend Roe v. Wade and ensure that women can make their own choices about their bodies.”
Following up on that promise, Harris joined the Women’s March on Washington as a speaker. “We are tired as women of being relegated to simply being thought of as a particular constituency or demographic,” she said. “We will not retreat when being attacked. We will stand up, and we will fight.”
Harris created a petition on her website to oppose the confirmation of Sen. Sessions, after his nomination hearing to become the next attorney general. “We need an Attorney General committed to equal rights for all, including women, people of color, and the LGBT community. It is clear after his confirmation hearings that person is not Jeff Sessions,” she wrote.
On Sunday, Harris also joined thousands of protesters outside the White House in response to the Muslim ban.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
The first Latina Senator may be new to Congress, but she isn’t treading lightly. She committed to opposing president as soon as she was elected, using her victory speech in November to announce her fight.
“I’ll be one hell of a checks and balances on him,” she said. “Tonight we start our fight together.”
Since then, the junior senator has been extremely vocal about Trump’s cabinet picks. “Racism has no place in our justice system,” she tweeted in response to Sessions’ nomination. “The man supports anti-immigrant policies and was deemed too racist for federal judgeship by GOP Senate. Unacceptable.”
She refuses to vote in favor of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Education, because DeVos “has no background in public education.”
“While Republicans are hoping to ram through her confirmation with as little public scrutiny as possible, yesterday’s hearing made abundantly clear to me that Betsy DeVos is not equipped to lead the Department of Education,” she said two days before the inauguration.
Cortez Masto proudly walked in the March on Washington alongside a delegation from her home state. “We are not going to tolerate anybody coming in and trying to take anything away from us,” she said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We are going to use our voice and stand together united.”
On Monday, she co-sponsored a bill introduced by Senate Democrats that would force Trump to rescind his Muslim ban.
“This reckless and overly broad executive order was hastily put together without consulting Congress or key federal agencies, and it has already caused chaos and distress for families across the country,” she said in a statement. “We cannot stand idle while President Trump unilaterally creates policy based on xenophobia. Enough is enough.”
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Sanchez is another California lawmaker determined to fight Trump. One of the battles she’s preparing for is the one to save Obamacare.
“We’re gearing up for that fight. California stands to lose a lot if ACA is repealed,” she said one day before the inauguration. “We are going to be getting the message out, not just about the individuals who are impacted negatively if it goes away, but the job losses that could occur and the fact that the state of California itself is at risk for losing billions of dollars in funding.”
The same day, Sanchez told the Los Angeles Times about her intention to become a thorn in Trump’s side throughout his presidency.
“My role in the next four years is to be as vocal an advocate as I can for what my constituents want and need and I will put myself in Donald Trump’s path at every turn to confront him about these issues,” she said. “I’m going to be the biggest pain in the neck that I can be.”
Like Harris, Sanchez opted to attend the inaugural ceremony. But on the same day, she joined other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) in denouncing the new president.
“We are here today on the day of inauguration to send a very clear message to our president: The CHC is going to stand up and fight for the rights of the Hispanic community,” she said during a CHC press conference. “The president of the United States has made it abundantly clear, including in his speech today, that he is openly hostile to immigrants particularly immigrants of Mexican ancestry.”
On Monday, she also joined protesters of the Muslim ban.
— Linda T. Sánchez (@RepLindaSanchez) January 31, 2017
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Yep, it’s another Californian.
This is Chu’s eighth year in Congress, and she isn’t holding back. This month, the first-ever Chinese-American Congresswoman refused to attend the inauguration and slammed Trump’s attack on civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
“In a diverse democracy like ours, patriotic dissent is vital,” she said in a press release. “The personal attacks on John Lewis were just the latest example of behavior unbefitting a president.”
Her resistance to the new administration began in November, when Chu joined 168 Democrats to oppose white nationalist Steve Bannon’s White House appointment. In a press release, she said:
“After winning election to our nation’s highest office, Donald Trump said his mission was to unite the country. Yet his first staffing choice does the complete opposite. Steve Bannon has made a career out of inflammatory and offensive headlines about women, minorities, and political opponents. That’s not perception, that’s the reality. And it’s why Donald Trump brought him on to lead his inflammatory campaign.
Last Saturday, Chu joined mass protest outside of LAX, where hundreds of people demanded that refugees and other immigrant detainees be released.
— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) January 29, 2017
“Closing the door to vulnerable refugees is shameful and against our values. We must do all that we can to reverse Trump’s #MuslimBan order,” she tweeted. The next day, she rallied outside the Supreme Court with immigrants, refugees, and House Democrats.