Friday, January 20, 2017
655 Days until Election Day 2018
Good morning! Reporting from WUTP world H!Q (in my bedroom), I'm Gabe Fleisher: this is your wake up call.
Inauguration Central: Trump Becomes 45th President
"It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES - THE WORK BEGINS!"
-President-elect Donald Trump, 7:31am
- Nineteen months ago, when Donald J. Trump stepped off the gilded escalator at the Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name and announced a campaign for the Presidency, his candidacy was almost universally written off. Up until he was declared the President-elect two months ago, many refused to believe the bombastic billionaire would ever see the Oval Office.
- Today, he will stand on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building, place his right hand on the same bible used by Abraham Lincoln, put his left hand in the air, and swear the Oath of Office of the President of the United States.
- Today's Inauguration is the culmination of a presidential election widely regarded as the most chaotic and unpredictable in American history, marking the evolution of President-elect Trump from political novice to leader of the free world. When the clock strikes 12:00pm, the eight-year Presidency of Barack Obama, historic in its own right, will end and a new chapter of the American story will begin.
- Inauguration Schedule President-elect Trump and his family will wake up in the Blair House, the official presidential guesthouse, right down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. At 8:30am, they will make their way to St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington for a private prayer service, in keeping with a tradition started by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
- At 9:30am, President-elect and Mrs. Trump will be greeted at the North Portico of the White House by President and First Lady Obama, who will host their successors for a tea and coffee reception in the Blue Room.
- At 10:30am, the outgoing and incoming Commander-in-Chief will ride together to the Capitol building, with their wives riding together behind them, a custom that has endured sine Martin Van Buren's inaugural in 1837.
- The Inaugural ceremony itself is timed to the minute, and will begin at 9:30am with a performance by the National Cathedral Choir of Washington, D.C. VIPs will then be announced, including former Presidents and Vice President, Governors, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, the new Cabinet, and Trump and Pence families. All living former Presidents and First Ladies, except George H.W. and Barbara Bush (who were both hospitalized this week) will attend the ceremony, including Bill and Hillary Clinton. However, almost 70 House Democrats are skipping the ceremony, with many planning to join protests of the new President.
- At 11:03am, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be announced, followed by Vice President-elect Mike Pence at 11:09am, and then President-elect Trump at 11:14am. The welcoming remarks will then be delivered by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. A number of performances and invocations will follow, as well as an address by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
- At 11:35am, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will administer the Vice Presidential oath to Pence. At 11:47am, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the following oath of 35 words, recited by every President since George Washington, to Trump:
- "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
- After a performance of "Hail to the Chief" and a 21-gun salute, a newly-sworn in President Trump will deliver his Inaugural Address. Twenty-one minutes have been allotted in the official schedule for Trump's speech, which he reportedly wrote himself. According to incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Trump's first speech as President will be "a very personal and sincere statement about his vision for the country," focusing on "what it means to be an American, the challenges we face, [and] the challenges the middle class face." Spicer also described the address as "less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document," although Trump is expected to outline the items topping his agenda, including infrastructure, education, and health care.
- Benedictions from more religious leaders and other musical performances will follow the address. At 1:08pm, Sen. Blunt will escort the new President to the traditional Inaugural luncheon in the Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, which has been held following the swearing-in ceremony since 1953. Following the luncheon, the Trumps and Pences will lead the Inaugural Parade from the Capitol to the White House. Later tonight, they will attend two inaugural balls, a historically low amount.
- Trump Administration, Day One When Donald Trump takes office at noon today, Republicans will control the White House, Congress, and Supreme Court for the first time since 2006. What will the GOP do with their newfound dominance? During the campaign, Trump released a list of eighteen executive actions he would plan to take "on Day One," including withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, striking down energy regulations, and imposing a ban on his appointees from becoming lobbyists within five years.
- Today, it is unclear how many of those steps he will actually take today, with transition officials telling reporters that Trump's first executive orders will come on Friday, and continue over the weekend and on Monday. Initial actions are exepected to roll back many Obama policies, on immigration, energy, cybersecruity, trade, the environment, and other issues. An order directing the cnstruction of his promised Mexican border wall has also been rumored.
- President-elect Trump enters office historically unpopular, with his approval ratings from in the range of 30% to 40%. That opposition will be in full view as Trump hands down his first presidential actions: as many as 200,000 protestors are expected for Saturday's Women's March on Washington. 800,000 people are expected to attend today's Inaugural ceremony.
Capitol Hill News
- Today in Congress At 4pm, after recessing for the Inauguration, the Senate will return to begin confirmation of President-elect Trump's nominees. However, only two are expected to be confirmed today, meaning Trump will begin his Administration with less members of his Cabinet than any of the last three Presidents. Senate Democrats are refusing to agree to Friday votes for any nominees other than Gen. James Mattis, Trump's nominee to be Secretary of Defense, and Gen. John F. Kelly, the designee for Secretary of Homeland Security. Both are relatively uncontroversial nominees who have been confirmed by the Senate before.
- Initially, confirmation of a third national security nominee - Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, the pick to be CIA Director - was also expected, but Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden has placed a hold on the nomination. Pompeo is expected to be confirmed Monday, along with other Cabinet nominees; Senate Republicans are threatening to even hold a weekend session to confirm more of Trump's picks.
- President-elect Trump will enter office with a mostly-staffed White House, but without people to man most of the executive agencies; the transition has asked about 50 Obama Administration national security officials to stay on while Trump's appointees wait for Senate approval.
White House Watch
- The President's Schedule President Barack Obama, 55, and First Lady Michelle Obama, 53, prepare to leave the White House today, after making the mansion their home for eight years. The Obamas will then prepare for their own new chapter, with the reality of a public life always ahead of them - but with the soon-to-be former President out of public office for the first time in twenty years.
- Obama's final schedule as President appears similar to his successor's, at first: they begin the day together, during a White House reception and ride to the Capitol. However, after the ceremony, their paths will diverge.
- At 12:45pm, the Obamas will depart the U.S. Capitol on the presidential helicopter (no longer designated Marine One, as it will not be carrying the Commander-in-Chief.
- At 1:10pm, the outgoing presidential couple will attend a farewell event at Joint Base Andrews, where President Obama will address a gathering of his staff.
- Finally, at 1:40pm, the couple will depart Joint Base Andrews on the presidential plane (without the call sign Air Force One), which will take them to Palm Springs, California. The Obamas will only be in California for a short time: they have already bought a house in Washington to return to, in order for their youngest daughter Sasha to graduate from high school. They will be the first former presidential couple to stay in D.C. since Woodrow and Edith Wilson.
- It remains unclear how Obama plans to spend his post-presidency, although he has spoken about plans to create a "platform" for future Democratic leaders, and to advocate for health care access and for DREAMers (young people who were brought here illegally by parents), as well as for the end of gerrymandering. Obama will also be involved in the preparations for his presidential library, set to open in Chicago in 2021, and will likely sign deals for a book and speaking contract.
- Obama leaves office as popular as he's ever been: the RealClearPolitics average of recent approval ratings shows him at 57%, a level he has not seen since early 2009.
- Vice President's Schedule Meanwhile, Vice President and Dr. Biden will also depart Washington today, departing at 1pm to travel home on Amtrak to Wilmington, Delaware - in classic Biden fashion. Upon their homecoming, the Vice President will address a welcome event at the Chase Center in Wilmington.
- Vice President Biden, 74, will be out of public office for the first time in 47 years. He will not, however, really be leaving Washington either: his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will continue teaching at a Northern Virginia community college, meaning they will live part-time at a small house in D.C. The former Vice President will likely split his time between Washington and two institutions: the University of Pennsylvania, where he will locate his "cancer moonshot" initiative and foreign policy center, and the University of Delaware, where he will create a domestic policy unit.
*All times Eastern
For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.