The Trump Administration has a rocky kick off this week due to both things outside of its control and things of its own making. First there was the planned protests against the new President — demonstrations both on Inaugural Day and the next day that I criticized. Those were outside the control of the Administration. However, then there was a remarkably disappointing and lackluster Inaugural speech followed by a truly dreadful press conference. This was the first press conference for the Administration – a key moment for any new Administration. Instead of emphasizing the positive and taking control of the news cycle with strategic announcements, White House Press secretary Sean Spicer largely criticized the press and then made a series a highly dubious factual assertions about the size of Trump’s audience. It was a performance that even stalwart supporters like Charles Krauthammer on Fox called “weird.” Most of us who have previously watched or covered Inaugurations thought that the crowd seemed smaller. So what? Tens of millions of people voted for Trump. That is the measure that counts. Yet, Spicer went on the attack with some shaky assertions and guaranteed that this tempest in a teapot would be the focus of the next news cycle — and gave critics an opening to lambast the new president. I have said this before that friends of this President need to call him out when his Administration goofs if they want this Administration to succeed. This is one such moment and shows an early lack of discipline and message.
As I have previously discussed, my house is hosting over a dozen family and friends who have come from around the country to join the protests today as part of the “Women’s March” in Washington. We know at least a dozen more local friends attending. I will not be one of them as I explained earlier. I respected those marching today for values that mean so much to them . . . and to many of us. There is obviously going to a sizable crowd — one that may dwarf the Inauguration attendance. I did note that, when I dropped off my brother Chris and his family this morning, the metro in McLean seemed much more crowded than it did yesterday for the Inauguration. Having spent a few days with protesters and celebrants at the Inauguration, I am struck by how hardened both sides are toward each other . . . and dismissive of the operative facts underlying this election. Both sides seem unwilling to recognize the flaws in their past positions while grotesquely distorting their view of the other side. It reminds me of Richard III and the advice of the Queen Mother, Margaret, on how to learn to hate as she sought to “teach thee how to curse.” It is simple, she explains, just “Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were, And he that slew them fouler than he is.”
After toasting President Trump and his Administration the best for a successful term of office, it did not take long to find my first criticism (about the same time as his predecessor). I was appalled to hear after the Inauguration that the Trump team wanted to have tanks and missile launchers added to the Inaugural parade like some homage to the North Korean “Dear One.” As someone who is an admitted die-hard traditionalist, I was truly shocked by the effort. I was in utter disbelief that the Trump team would want such an image — and a departure from our long-standing tradition. I still hope that this report is false because it would show a stunning lack of perspective and judgment. However, I have not been able to determine if the story is true. It appears based on one source and one site has pulled back from the initial story which appeared on Huffington Post and MSNBC. If this is a fake news story, I would like to see that confirmed and the culprits revealed. Either it is a shocking lack of judgment on the part of the Trump team in proposing the military display or the media in spreading this story. It is news either way. If false, I would have to hear soon from the Trump Administration. One learns in Washington that you have to stomp out false stories within the first 48 hour news cycle. We are past the cycle without a clear response from the Administration.
As I discussed in my column yesterday, I stayed at home today to watch the inauguration with my kids and to celebrate America’s 71st time that a democratically elected president has taken the oath of office (and our 58th formal inauguration). While my brother and family from Chicago went to the Mall to protest, we raised a toast to the country and the new president for the future. On this day, we celebrate a constitutional system that has weathered wars, depression, social unrest and every type of national crisis. Yet, it (and we) remain. There are many constitutions that are more poetic in language or detailed in powers, but none has the record of this amazing document. It is the common article of faith of a free people and today’s ceremony represented our commitment to a nation governed by a free people.
There is an interesting case out of San Francisco where an illegal immigrant from El Salvador is suing San Francisco after police turned him over to United States Immigration authorities. Pedro Figueroa Zarceno, 32, alleges that the police violated the law by helping the federal authorities in the enforcement of the law. He relies on the controversial municipal law barring municipal employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities seeking to deport a person.
Walter Smith, alias Walter Stanford, 29, was a painter who appears to have decided to relieve one Elsie Mortimer of clothing at her “dwelling house.” The case is an insight into criminal justice in 1924.
Below is today’s column in USA Today on the protests against President-Elect Donald Trump and why, despite having a house full of family members and friends who have come to protest Trump, I will not be joining them. Instead, I will be home with my kids as we have been in every inauguration – celebrating the peaceful transfer of power in our democracy and wishing the newly elected president (and our country) the best with an inaugural toast. I criticized Trump (and Hillary Clinton) during the campaign (and I will not hesitate to criticize Trump again for policies or actions that I disagree with). However, I find the claims of illegitimacy and attacks this week to be highly disturbing. I totally respect the right of people to come to protest Trump and his policies. However, there appears to be a concerted effort to delegitimize his presidency and create a type of political mythology about this election.
In this column I discuss that mythology and, more importantly, the meaning of the day of inauguration for many of us. Regardless of my criticism of both Trump and Clinton, I always knew that on January 20th I would raise a glass to the 45th President of the United States and wish him or her . . . and us . . . the best of luck in the coming years. It is a time when we reaffirm our commitment not so much to a politician but to each other. We reaffirm a common article of faith that, despite our disagreements and divisions, we remain one country joined by our belief in democratic transition and government. There is much to celebrate this week as a glance around the world at places like Gambia will readily confirm. Donald Trump will be the 45th President. Our President.