Trump-Putin meeting sparks Springfield candlelight vigil for democracy

Trump-Putin meeting sparks Springfield candlelight vigil for democracy

Outrage over President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin is ongoing. Wednesday, the president appeared to have contradicted his top intelligence official, but the white house press secretary insists he does agree with US intelligence agencies about Russia meddling in the election.

That’s sparking rallies and protests across the nation. In Springfield Wednesday, dozens held a vigil downtown with locals calling for the protection and preservation of democracy.

Everyone gathered outside of Republican Representative Darin Lahood’s office holding candles and signs and saying change is needed in national government.

Some activists said they're worried for the “death of democracy."

“This is not the way to run government,” one Action Illinois organizer, Carolyn Kopel, said. “This is frightening. Our democracy is where it's never been before."

Kopel said the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki questions the president's loyalty.

"I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't',” President Trump had said. “The sentence should have been: ‘I don't see any reason why I wouldn't or why it wouldn't be Russia’."

“What I’m seeing is not a democracy,” a poet and activist Shatriya Smith said.

The mother said she's afraid for what's to come.

“Because the things that [Trump] is doing now,” Smith said. “Is going to be lasting until my daughter is an adult."

Now lawmakers are speaking out.

Republican Rep. Lahood, R-Peoria, said in a statement: "Putin is an unelected dictator and thug and should be treated as such. The president and this administration must hold Russia and Putin accountable.”

Activists said candles capture what they think is America’s sad and somber fate.

"Confront corruption and demand democracy,” Kopel said.

Wednesday, activists handed out small papers which had a list of Illinois lawmakers. They want everyone to call these numbers and hold their representatives responsible for what happens locally and nationally.

NewsChannel20 spoke with Representative Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, about the president's meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Davis said he's glad the president clarified his statement yesterday, but he hopes the president regrets what he said about Russian meddling.

"I certainly think he needs to do more,” Rep. Davis said. “Whether you are a supporter of the president or not, you have to look at that press conference and realize that that is not something we would expect out of an American president.”

Click here to see our full interview with Rep. Davis and the rest of our Connect to Congress series.

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