Tomi Lahren is afraid. She weaves her way through throngs of people out on the streets near the White House with her head down, her long, platinum-blond hair covering most of her face, hands clutching the lapels of her overcoat. These people are a threat, Lahren believes. If they recognize her, she might be attacked. Verbally. Physically.
It’s late afternoon just one day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, an event Lahren witnessed from a seat on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. But yesterday’s formal inauguration ceremonies have given way to today’s more free-form Women’s March, which half a million people are attending. Lahren has already disparaged this gathering in one of the vitriolic videos that have made her into a social media sensation with 4.3 million Facebook followers. In her short, shareable “Final Thoughts” segments, the 24-year-old conservative firebrand has backed Trump and bashed everything from Black Lives Matter (“the new KKK”) to the mainstream media (“liberals who masquerade as journalists”) to refugees from war-torn Middle Eastern countries (“rape-u-gees”) to all manner of liberal “snowflakes,” including the “disgruntled women” from whom she’s now trying to hide.
Lahren has been avoiding the march all day, hunkered down in her hotel, the members-only Metropolitan Club. But now she’s nervously navigating her way through the crowds so she can get to the Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House. That’s where I asked her to meet for the first of several interviews that we’ll conduct over the next three months—a time in which Lahren will lose her job, and nearly lose her mighty Facebook page.
“There are protesters everywhere outside my hotel,” Lahren texts me shortly before our scheduled meeting. “I will need you to escort me to our interview. I had a bad encounter last night. I can’t venture out alone. It’s too dangerous.”