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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Bumpity Trump-Trump Bumpity Trump

Apprentice #POTUS takes the oath

Bitterness and resentment at Trump's "bumpity Trump-Trump" transition and inauguration. Republicans continue in vain in their attempts to smooth out a rocky administration transition and to make up stories about the Donald Trump flopped inauguration.
"...caustic bitterness and metallic taste..."- Amy Davidson

A well written report about Donald Trump's not so celebratory inauguration day in The New Yorker by Amy Davidson
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It rained on the inauguration parade- no, seriously!
A couple of hours before Barack Obama became a former President, he was walking along the White House colonnade. 

A reporter called out to him, “Any final words for the American people?” He had just two. “Thank you,” he said, without breaking his stride. Donald and Melania Trump were expected for coffee, and he had run out of time. There were no more speeches to deliver, no more warnings that he could issue. In language, deed, and demeanor, Obama had done his part to make the transfer of power an orderly one. It might have been reasonable for him to hope that, at least for the next few hours, the progression of Inaugural rituals would provide some semblance of civic grace to what had been a notably unsettling time of transition in America

The causes extremists to unschooled plutocrats. There was the matter, too, of financial conflicts and nepotism, an autonomic reflex of aspiring authoritarians. At a pre-Inaugural black-tie dinner, Trump said to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, “If you can’t produce peace in the included the talk of Russian hacking and the antic appointment to many of the most important Cabinet posts of dubious executives, men and women who are tragically unfit, from ideological Middle East, nobody can.” 

When the Trumps arrived at the White House, Michelle Obama, wearing a dark-red dress, hugged Melania, in impeccable powder blue. Michelle, a practiced performer, smiled warmly. Still, then and later in the day, there were moments when her expression lost focus, as if she had finally exhausted her supply of forced cheer. The two women rode to the Capitol together; their husbands were in a separate car, as were the incoming and outgoing Vice-Presidents. Already seated on the Capitol steps were all of the living former Presidents and First Ladies except for George H. W. and Barbara Bush, who were too ill to travel. George W. Bush appeared to supply a stream of wisecracks. Jimmy Carter, who is ninety-two, and his wife, Rosalynn, had arrived the day before, on a commercial flight, on which he shook the hand of every passenger. When Bill and Hillary Clinton gamely walked down the steps to join them, someone could be heard to say, “We’re here for you.” Hillary’s presence was, by many measures, an act of civic courage.

Once everyone was in place, the ceremony moved quickly. Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath of office to Vice-President Mike Pence. After an interlude of song from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, John Roberts, the Chief Justice, swore in the new President, and got the words right—he hadn’t in 2009, the first time he swore in Obama. Melania, who had been holding Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and one given to her husband when he was a child, sat down to listen to him speak. As he began his oration, she lifted an umbrella. It had started to rain.

Trump’s Inaugural Address was remarkable for its caustic bitterness, its metallic taste. He portrayed the United States as a forsaken nation—a landscape of “American carnage”—and himself as its sole redeemer. He opened by saying that the Obamas had been “magnificent,” by which he meant that they had been magnificent to him. Then, having dispensed with this gesture of courtesy, he bore in, equating Obama with a deposed dictator. January 20, 2017, would be remembered, Trump said, as “the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.” He embraced the ceremonial aspects of the day, the honor being paid to his person, while scorning the possibilities for comity and community that the occasion traditionally offers. Instead of affirming the continuity of democratic progress, he expressed his contempt for its non-Trumpian past.

In the new President’s brief oration, those who had come before him—all of “Washington”—were guilty not simply of an inability to enact good policies but of corrupt bad will, even treachery: of “refusing” to safeguard the border; of protecting only themselves, and forgetting the country’s citizens. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs,” he said. Trumpism, by contrast, would bring riches and greatness. He spoke of the need for unity with Americans who live with “the crime and the gangs and the drugs,” terms that he has often used to describe minority communities but that in this case extended to those living among the “tombstones” of factories. 

Yet, this was not a plea for fellowship. Again and again, there was the petulant ring of Trump’s demagoguery—us versus them.

Above all, Trump asked his (IMO "cult") followers to turn their anxious gaze to foreigners, whom he portrayed as the thieves of their money and their dreams. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first,” he said. “America first.” Trump is, by now, well aware of the xenophobic history associated with that label. As a candidate, he seized on the darker moments of the American past to turn voters’ discontent into disdain, their doubts into conspiratorial suspicions. His speech was a warning of how deeply he might be willing to divide the country in order to deflect attention from his own policy failures, and how dangerous the resentments he blithely plays upon could be.

In 1988, Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address, noted that he had often referred to John Winthrop’s image of America as “a shining city upon a hill,” adding, “But I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.” He tried one more time, painting a picture of a “tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds.” And, Reagan said, “if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.” Trump, like many before him, attempted to emulate Reagan’s rhetoric. America would “shine as an example,” he said. “We will shine for everyone to follow.” His version had neither the poetry nor the principle. Along with the rest of his address, it provided only disquieting answers to the question of what kind of city he saw.

After Trump’s speech, the mingling of the dignitaries resumed, with a more reserved air. The Obamas climbed into a helicopter, headed to Palm Springs. The Bidens got into a car, bound for Delaware. The crowd at the Capitol dispersed onto streets already populated by protesters. Donald Trump went to an office where, surrounded by congressional leaders and his family, he began signing executive orders. ♦
Amy Davidson is a New Yorker staff writer. She is a regular Comment contributor and writes a Web column, in which she covers war, sports, and everything in between.

And so, the "bumpity-Trump-Trump" -look at him go!- ski ride, continues with more hazardous crevices expected in the dramatic episodes of an Apprentice #POTUS.

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