The Trump administration took a low-key approach to this weekend’s failed missile test in North Korea, and continued to express the hope that China would rein in its nuclear-armed neighbor.
President Donald Trump was irrelatively quiet about the failed launch of a North Korean missile from the country’s east coast. In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Trump and his military team “are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment.”
Washington’s initial response has been to say little. There were no tweets from US President Donald Trump in the hours after the missile launch, though it is known he was in contact with US Vice-President Mike Pence aboard Air Force 2.
Hours after another failed missile launch in North Korea, Trump himself took to Twitter to suggest that China is helping with the North Korea problem as part of a deal with the U.S. involving trade policy.
Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!
North Korea attempted a missile launch early Sunday local time but it failed “almost immediately” according to U.S. and South Korean military officials.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff says that North Korea has attempted to launch a missile from an eastern coastal city, but the launch appeared to end in failure.
Just as the Trump administration attempts to recruit China’s help in dealing with North Korea, McMaster also addressed US-Russian relations and their impact on the US policy toward Syria’s years-long civil war.
“There’s nowhere to go but up” in relations with Russia, McMaster said. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit last week to Russia had highlighted the relationship as being at an all-time low.
Well, to start with, President Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint Congress session was, for a change, different, in that, he was not his usual boastful self (well, just a little) in so far as his achievements were considered; he refrained from berating former president Barrack Obama which had become a norm in his earlier speeches nor, for a wonder, did he rain verbal blows on the press.
In his address to a gathering of congressmen and congresswomen, senators, generals, and Supreme Court justices there was no reference to the apocalyptic state that the nation had been left in by previous governments nor was there any mention of carnage and illegal drugs on American streets. He was as close to the script as a man like Trump could possibly be.
While his speech may have been hailed by many as disciplined and with a lot of promises such as improved American schools, highly protected borders, and jobs coming back to the US, many are still skeptical as, to them, it was more like a campaign speech with promises and more promises. And yes, he did briefly talk about his administration’s achievements since his inauguration – how could he have avoided that for too long.
Prior to Trump’s speech, the White House had issued notes outlining that the president’s aim was to bring together a politically divided country but it seems the attempt did not make much ground with many. Although he did start his address with reference to the just concluded Black History month in the US and the violent anti-Semitic wave being experienced in the country many would doubt his sincerity on the subject.
The American people and, in fact, the world are aware that the attacks have been going on for some time now and Trump, who takes to Twitter at the drop of a hat, had not mentioned anything about these issues earlier especially the attacks and cases of vandalism against the Jewish community.
While he merrily tweeted about Obama and the White House leaks, he had abstained from comments on these attacks against minorities in the US until Tuesday’s joint Congress session speech. As a matter of fact, he was visibly hostile towards a Jewish reporter at a White House news conference who had questioned him about anti-Semitism.
While for the most part, he stuck to the script, he did digress from it when he spoke about Senior Chief Ryan Owens, the Navy Seal killed recently in Yemen during a raid, visibly gloating in the applause that it fetched him.
“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom — we will never forget him.”
Another remarkable difference was the absence of booing and taunting, like “lock her up” or “build that wall,” that he has been subjected to in his other addresses. Reportedly, Democrats had cautioned members against such heckling of the president.
However, there was audible sniggering when he talked about “draining the swamp” and groans were heard from some members of the audience when he spoke of the recently created federal office that supports the victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
The speech did not witness any hecklers and disrupters being shown the door by security personnel, but there were instances where he was given the thumbs down by a couple of Democrats when he spoke about repealing Obama Care.
All through the speech, the Democrats were rarely seen applauding the president even when he deserved it. Not even when he said:
“I am asking all citizens to embrace this Renewal of the American Spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country. And I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment and —
Believe in yourselves.
Believe in your future.
And believe, once more, in America.”
Well, with Donald Trump at the helm one can only say God bless America and the world.
President Donald Trump’s administration is due to release a tweaked version of the rather controversial original travel ban Executive Order which did not break ground as federal courts intervened to put a stop to it.
James Robart, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, who issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the EO had attracted Trump’s ire and ridicule who had tweeted that the “so-called judge” had passed a “ridiculous” TRO.
What did the original travel ban Executive Order entail?
* The original EO banned nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya) from entering the US for 90 days.
* The order halted all refugee entry to the US for 120 days.
* Indefinitely suspended entry for Syrian refugees.
What’s different in the new/overhauled travel ban EO?
The new order proposes to amend parts of the original order which prompted the courts to put a Temporary Restraining Order on its implementation. In its court filing, the Trump administration said that the overhauled order “will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation.”
Reportedly, the draft order which has been “streamlined” to meet the least resistance from the courts looks to:
* Continue to focus on the same seven Muslim-majority countries in the original order – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya.
* However, green card holders and dual-citizens of the United States and any of the aforementioned seven countries will be exempt from the travel ban.
* Those with valid US visas will be allowed to enter the country.
* The revised draft also directs Homeland Security not discriminate against Syrian refugees when processing fresh visa applications.
* CNN quoted a source as saying that the new order looks to tackle religious discrimination issues by removing a particular section of the original EO which said that refugees’ claims should be prioritised “on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality”.
However, prospects of the new order subduing opposition seem bleak as a fresh wave of demonstrations and all round protests are being organized. Civil rights groups have gone on record saying they will not back down from challenging the order in courts.
The original order hard sparked widespread criticism and mass protests at airports where chaotic scenes were witnessed not only across the United States but worldwide.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference last week, US Secretary of Homeland Security said that a new “streamlined” version of the original executive order was being worked on by the President and his team to address the courts’ areas of concern that had led to a Temporary Restraining Order being imposed against the travel ban.
Kelly said that the original order was a kind of “temporary pause” so that he could “”see where our immigration and vetting system has gaps — and gaps it has — that could be exploited.”
When asked if the new order would permit green card holders and people with valid visas to enter the United States, Kelly evaded the question saying, “it’s a good assumption.”
Kelly also said that the United States had to “find ways to vet in a more reliable way to satisfy us that the people that are coming to the United States are, in fact, coming for the right reasons.”
When asked if a sweeping travel ban on the seven Muslim countries would have the desired effect, Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s top security official, said it would not be in the interest of security.
“To ban whole countries perhaps could create more collateral damage, and perhaps does not produce more security,” he said. “The more precise you do it, the more effective you are.”
Trump’s fixation on “fake news” and his distaste for the media was witnessed in full bloom once again at the campaign-style rally held at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport in Florida. After a hard uncomfortable month at the White House, Trump finally seemed to be in his elements when he addressed a huge gathering of supporters at the rally.
Soon after alighting from Air Force One on Saturday afternoon, the first couple was led to the AeroMod International hangar at the Orlando- Melbourne airport where a massive crowd of supporters and fans had come together to cheer the president. After Melania Trump, in a magenta dress, was done leading the Lord’s Prayer she gave a short speech and introduced the President who wore a dark suit, white shirt with no tie and embraced him before he took center stage.
“It’s now been one month since my inauguration,” said the president after the preliminaries, “and I am here to tell you about our incredible progress in making America great again…. and I am also here to tell you about our plans for the future and they are big and they are bold and is what our country is all about, believe me,” he said to the cheering crowd.
Coming straight to his favorite pastime of media-bashing, he said, “I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.” He called the media “dishonest” and accused them of publishing “one false story after another with no sources even though they pretend they have them.”
To further discredit the media he referred to Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln’s distrust of the media and even quoted Jefferson to drive home his point.
He said he would never allow the media to get away with lying to the people.
“I will do whatever I can that they don’t get away with it. They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, ‘nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle,’ that was June 14, my birthday, 1807,” he said continuing his diatribe against the news media.
He, however, forgot to mention that Thomas Jefferson had also written in 1787, “…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”
He then went into bragging mode which is fast becoming a nauseating constant in his speeches.
“And by the way, you’ve seen what we’ve accomplished in a very short period of time. The White House is running so smoothly,” he gloated.
Having vented his “fake news” fury he switched over to his next pet subject and something, he never forgets to remind, that his government would be doing away with – Obamacare.
“We are going to be submitting in a couple of weeks a great healthcare plan that’s going to take the place of the disaster known as Obamacare. It will be repealed and replaced.”
His rally speech was not very different from the White House presser when he had gone after the media in similar fashion and had also not passed the chance to brag about his unprecedented achievements in such a short period of time.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done,” he had said.
Speaking at a White House news conference President Donald Trump lashed out at the American media by holding them responsible for misleading the “wonderful people” of the country by not telling them the “truth”. He accused the media of not having any consideration for the people speaking only for their own pecuniary interests, specifically mentioning a large section of the media from Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles.
“Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system.”
The media antagonistic tirade came amid news reports of Trump’s campaign aides being in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the presidential election campaign.
Trump started with his nomination announcement of Alex Acosta who happens to be his next nominee for the United States Secretary of Labor position after Andrew Puzder withdrew from being considered. “I think he’ll be a tremendous Secretary of Labor”, he said.
He went on to defend his administration by talking about the achievements his Govt had made during the short duration he has been in the Oval office.
“I am here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration,” he declared. “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done,” he said.
His media bashing started soon after he was done with the bragging. “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people,” he ranted, going on to accuse the media of being “out of control.”
He was of the opinion that the media attack on his administration was “because they know that we are following through on our pledges to the American people and they are not happy about it.”
He did not mince words in downplaying and criticizing the work of the Obama administration. In fact, it was more than that. “To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess; at home and abroad,” he said.
Speaking about the threat of terrorism he particularly mentioned ISIS, “a group that celebrates the murder and torture of innocent people in large sections of the world” and how his administration is working on a plan to defeat the terror outfit.
“ISIS has spread like cancer. Another mess I inherited. And we have imposed new sanctions on the nation of Iran who’s totally taken advantage of our previous administration,” he whined.
He didn’t forget to pat himself on the back, as he does at the drop of a hat, for coming out victorious in the presidential election when most people had written him off, which is, to speak the truth, actually not incorrect, but one does get sick with the regularity with which he keeps reminding everyone about it.
There was a point in the news conference when he mixed his media attack with self-praise, “I turn on the TV, open the newspaper, and I see stories of chaos,” he bemoaned. “Yet, it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine tuned machine despite the fact that I can’t get my cabinet approved,” he bragged and whined.
When asked by Jake Turx (a reporter from a Jewish publication) about anti-Semitic hate crimes, Trump said that he was the least anti-Semitic person and was the least racist as well and that he hated the “charge” and found it “repulsive” and even hated the question.
The New York Times has reported that four American officials, former as well as current, say that Donald Trump’s campaign officials had “repeated contacts” with Russian Intelligence officers in the year before the 2016 presidential election on the evidence of “phone records and intercepted calls.”
Three of the four officials said that the United States law enforcement and intelligence agencies were able to intercept the calls at about the time they were getting evidence of Russian meddling in the election by “hacking into the Democratic National Committee,” revealed the New York Times.
However, NYT says that “The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”
The intercepted evidence caused alarm among the law enforcement and intelligence agencies partly because of the volume of contact that was happening while Donald Trump was showering praise on Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. Mr. Trump is known to have said at a campaign event that he hoped that Russian Intelligence hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails and made them public, said the NYT report.
The NYT goes on to say that according to the officials, who did not want to be named because the ongoing investigation was classified, the intercepts were not only that of Trump’s campaign aides but of his other “associates” as well. As for the Russian involvement, the contacts “included members of the government outside of the intelligence services.”
The only name revealed by the officials to NYT is Paul Manafort, “Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine,” while they refused to name other Trump associates in contact with Russian officials.
According to the officials, the intercepted communications and call logs add to a larger collection of intelligence being investigated by the FBI in regards to the “links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government,” in addition to investigating the DNC hacking, reports NYT.
“This is absurd,” Manafort said. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today,” as reported by the NYT.
Manafort went on to say, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer,” says NYT.
The NYT explains that it is not uncommon for businessmen to inadvertently come in contact with intelligence officials in countries like Russia and Ukraine where the intelligence community is “deeply embedded in society,” and, like Manafort, this may have been the case with “several of Mr. Trump’s associates.” The law enforcement officials did not volunteer information on “what extent the contacts might have been about business,” said NYT.
Information on the details such as the nature of discussion on the intercepted calls, the identity of the participating Russian officials and the number of “Trump advisers” in contact with the Russians were not given by the officials to NYT. “It is also unclear whether the conversations had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself,” said the New York Times.
The intercepts are different from “the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States,” says the NYT report. In the calls, which resulted in Flynn resigning on Monday night, the discussions were about the Obama administration’s sanctions “imposed on Russia in December,” NYT added.
While the FBI and White House refrained from commenting, Sean Spicer, press secretary, supported Trump’s “previous comments that nobody from his campaign had contact with Russian officials before the election,” said the NYT report.
“There’s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period,” Mr. Spicer said answering a question posed to him, reports NYT.
“The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable incidents is what led the president to ask General Flynn for his resignation,” Spicer also said in reference to Flynn’s resignation.
At a late night protest arranged by democrats against President Donald Trump’s nominee, Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Warren, during her address to the audience, began reading from a letter written in 1986 by Coretta Scott King against the then Sessions’ nomination to a seat on the federal bench, first reported by WIRED.
“Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship,” reads an extract from the letter.
The Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was quick in intervening and stopping Warren from proceeding further, justifying the decision saying that Warren was in violation of the rules in regards to verbally assaulting other members of the Senate.
“And just like that, Warren’s message, which might have otherwise gone largely unheard during the late-night session, spread far and wide with the hashtag #LetLizSpeak,” reported WIRED.
According to WIRED, Senator Mitch McConnell unknowingly set in motion the “Streisand effect” named after Barbara Streisand whose lawsuit against a photographer taking pictures of her home in Malibu had the opposite effect to what Streisand may have anticipated, directing huge internet traffic to the host site of the pictures. “The Streisand effect, then, describes the phenomenon in which efforts to conceal or censor information only drive more attention to it.”
That is exactly what happened Tuesday night when Senator Mitchell McConnell unknowingly stirred an internet storm when his own words against Senator Warren went viral on the internet in support of Warren. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” is what McConnell had said and it did not take very long for his words to traverse the world wide web along with images of “women’s rights and civil rights leaders like Ruby Bridges, the first black child to integrate schools in the Jim Crow south and Malala Yousafzai, who was shot for advocating for girls education in Pakistan,” reported WIRED.
Coretta King’s full letter was circulated widely an extract from which reads:
“It is my strongly held view that the appointment of Jefferson Sessions to the federal bench would irreparably damage the work of my husband, Al Turner, and countless others who risked their lives and freedom over the past twenty years to ensure equal participation in our democratic system.”
What this proves is with technology having reached where it stands today elected representatives no longer can keep such censorship hidden within the confines of the Senate chamber away from the public eye.
“You can silence someone in a Senate chamber, but the internet will give them a voice,” is what WIRED had to say about it.
Donald Trump’s controversial executive order, banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, halting all refugee entry to the US for 120 days and indefinitely suspending entry for Syrian refugees, took a serious hit on Friday when James Robart, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Trump’s EO.
In his Friday ruling against the ban, Judge Robart said that Washington and Minnesota, the two states that filed the lawsuit, “have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order.”
He argued that the immigration order would have an adverse effect on “residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel.”
Trump, enraged with the order, took to Twitter to demean the judge calling him a “so-called judge” and describing his restraining order as “ridiculous.”
Ironically, Judge James Robart is a mainstream Republican as described by his acquaintances and ex-colleagues. He was a corporate lawyer in Seattle until President George W. Bush nominated him to a seat on the federal bench vacated by Judge Thomas S. Zilly.
Lawyers in Seattle are reported to have described him as a “judge’s judge” courageous enough to pass rulings which he deems correct, as unpopular as they may be.
“A very strict federal judge who believes in the rule of law,” is how Jenny Durkan, a former United States attorney in the Obama era, described Judge Robart. “I think he truly believes in the independence of the judiciary, to the marrow of his bones,” she stated.
Michael McKay, also a former U.S. Attorney and an active Republican in the State of Washington, referred to Judge Robart as “a smart, thoughtful guy and very even-tempered,” adding that the “cream rises to the top.”
On Saturday, following the suspension of Trump’s executive order, the Department of Homeland Security resumed the standard procedure with foreign nationals, traveling to and from the country, as was in place prior to the presidential executive order.
Early Sunday morning a federal appeals court ruled against the United States Government’s request for the TRO to be lifted and the travel ban to resume. To put it simply, Judge Robart’s order of suspending the ban remains valid, for the time being. To simplify it even further, Trump’s EO took another hit.
The appeal that had been filed by the United States Justice Dept earlier on Sunday (just after midnight) was strongly worded stressing that the TRO “harms the public” and “second-guesses the President’s national security judgment.”
The Justice Department argued in its appeal that Judge Robart’s ruling against the executive order “contravenes the considered judgment of Congress that the President should have the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens,” further arguing that the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota did not have a case as their alleged damages were “speculative” in nature.
Sanity has prevailed it seems – for now, at least.
President Donald Trump, a real estate tycoon, and reality television star- turned President, took the Presidential Oath on Friday to become the 45th President of the United States of America.
First, Vice President, Mike Spence was sworn in by the Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, with his wife, Karen Pence and their three children standing beside him.
Soon after, the Presidential oath was administered by the U.S. Chief Justice, John Robert with Donald Trump holding two bibles in his hand – one of the Bibles used by Abraham Lincoln when he was sworn in, on March 4, 1861, and the other his own.
Vice President Mike Pence took the oath with two bibles, as well – one of his own and one that belonged to the deceased former President, Ronald Reagan, his political hero.
The swearing in took place on a specially built platform on the west portico of the Capitol while thousands braved the slightly inclement weather to watch the historical moment when power exchanged hands.
Eight years of the Democratic administration was handed over to the Republicans – the Democrat Obama White House was transformed into the Republican Trump White House this historic day.
Having been sworn in the President addressed the nation, in fact, the whole world, in a not too long speech but long enough – 16 minutes to be closer to exact.
He started by thanking Chief Justice Roberts, President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, outgoing President Barack Obama, his fellow Americans and the people of the world.
“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people. Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come,” he started, after the initial thank you.
In his speech, he expressed gratitude to President Obama (now former President) and his wife, Michelle Obama, “for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.”
“Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” he continued.
What he said reflected his campaign theme of transferring power to the people. He gave the image that the political system was a failure and the people were not being served the way they should be. He painted a pretty dismal picture of the political status quo.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left. And the factories closed.”
Ironically, Trump’s Cabinet includes quite a few billionaires such as billionaire Betsy DeVos, former Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson, former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin, Washington and Wall Street Specialists, and many elected officials, current and old which raises the questions about the conflicts of interest theories.
He ended his speech with the following words:
“So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words — you will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. God bless America.”
One will find different analyses and interpretations of President Trump’s first address as the 45th President of the United States; however, those who have missed the full speech can read or view videos and form their own individual interpretations – it’s all over the internet.
Earlier in the morning, there were attempts by protesters to disrupt proceedings with number of them lined up across a security blockade near the Capitol Building. Later, some time before the President took charge, a crowd of protesters were given chase by the police for vandalism in the downtown area. Pepper sprays were used by the police in riot gear to bring the situation under control.
Later during the day, after the transfer of power, when the new President Trump was at the luncheon with lawmakers, more clashes between police and protesters were reported, this time with a far larger group.
Soon after the swearing-in formalities were over the President signed the first few documents as President of the U.S. – President Trump also confirmed each of his Cabinet nominees by signing their formal nominations including other members of the now incumbent administration.
At the Luncheon, President Donald Trump was gracious enough to thank Bill and Hillary Clinton, saying he was honored by their presence. He went as far as asking them to stand, and the former “First Couple” was honored by a standing ovation from all present.
During the parade at 3:30 p.m. EST, the President briefly emerged from his limo twice, walking and waving at the crowds with First Lady Melania Trump at his side.
As the day progressed more reports of violent clashes between demonstrators and the law enforcement officers kept coming in. According to Acting Chief of Police, Peter Newsham, 95 protesters had been arrested until then. “Significant” damage to several businesses in the downtown area was caused by the violent demonstrators according to Newsham.
Until then at least three police officers had been injured as further reports of violence kept coming in.
The Presidential Inauguration Ceremony commenced yesterday with the wreath laying ritual at the Arlington National Cemetery by President-elect Donald Trump after which the President-elect attended the “Make America Great Again” concert and rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
Among the performers were country singers Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith along with Jackie Evancho, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Missouri State University.
Notably, top level entertainers were missing from the concert proving the transition team’s inability to attract them. In a brief statement to the audience, the President-elect vowed to unify the nation and “make America great for all our people, for everybody.”
The President-elect who stayed overnight at the President’s Guest House across the White House, as is the custom for an incoming President-elect, on getting up this Friday morning made his first tweet at 7:31 am saying, “It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!”
The President-elect’s first stop was the St. John’s Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square, a short drive away from the President’s Guest House. He was accompanied by his wife Melania Trump for the hour-long service.
The Trumps were due to join President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for tea on the south portico of the White House soon after the service.
The incoming and outgoing couple are scheduled to drive down together in a limo along Pennsylvania Avenue at 10:30 am local time, for the swearing in ceremony which is due to be held just a short time from now.
Meanwhile, the White House will undergo a transition of its own when the Democrat Obama’s White House will transform to the Republican Trump White House.
The oath taking is due to be held on a specially built stage on the west portico of the Capitol. After the new President has been sworn in, there will be a formal speech by him after which the swearing in of Vice President Mike Pence will mark the conclusion of the transition of power.
Thousands of people have arrived at the venue, an estimated 900,000 supporters and protesters among heavy security in the Capital since yesterday. Roads have been closed, and there are blockades set up all around the city.
As anti-Trump protesters gear up for their demonstrations, arrests around the city are on the cards.
On this Friday morning of historic significance, the outgoing President in his last tweet as President of the USA said, “It’s been an honor of my life to serve you.”
“You made me a better leader and a better man,” he wrote. “I won’t stop, I’ll be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by our voices of truth and justice, good humor, and love,” he tweeted.
On being asked by reporters if he was feeling nostalgic Obama replied: “of course”.
“Thank you,” was what he said when he was asked for any last words.
The ceremony is being attended by three former presidents, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton; Hillary Clinton will also be at the ceremony. The other living former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush will not attend due to health reasons