All eyes on the Trump inauguration
Can you feel it? This is the last week you can search Google for "who is the president" and not get the result "Donald Trump." Come Friday at noon, Trump will become president for (probably about) 1,460 days. The weekend preceding his inauguration could not have been more Trumpian. Was it a preview of chaos to come?
The movement to boycott Trump's inauguration picked up steam after the president-elect further stoked the fire. Rep. John Lewis said Trump is not a "legitimate president," and Trump attacked the civil rights icon on Twitter. (Mic) Now, more than 40 Democrats (at last count) will not attend Trump's inauguration on Friday. (Mic) Those Democrats who planned on attending had been justifying their coming inaugural attendance by noting they would be present to honor America's peaceful transfer of power. But Trump's attack on Lewis proved to be too much; many announced they would skip the ceremony, with the number of lawmakers quadrupling from fewer than a dozen on Friday.
This news of a widespread Democratic boycott comes as final preparations are made to coronate (poor word choice?) Trump president on Friday. Expect a "workmanlike" inauguration that is much smaller than past political celebrations. The inaugural parade will be 90 minutes, Trump will only attend three inaugural balls and is limiting festivities to three days. (Washington Post) For a billionaire who lives in a golden penthouse, the president-elect opted to skip the glitz and glamor for a smaller, faster, quieter inauguration.
One last flashback:
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• Today: Everyone is focused on Donald Trump's Friday inauguration — and Saturday's Women's March.
• Confirmation hearings: Ryan Zinke, secretary of the interior nominee, and Betsy DeVos, secretary of education nominee, will testify in front of the Senate Tuesday.
• More: The Democratic congressional boycott of Trump's inauguration is growing.
• Even more: Did you hear Trump say health care for all?
• Where's Trump? Trump Tower in New York City, then Washington, D.C.
• 3 days until Trump becomes president.
The gathering storm
While Trump seems to want a quieter inaugural, with thousands of activists descending on the city it seems like the inauguration might be anything but calm. A host of groups have planned demonstrations on Friday and Saturday in Washington to protest. A Festival of Resistance will be held a few blocks from the White House, following a march set to begin when Trump is inaugurated at noon on Friday. The Women's March on Washington Saturday could bring up to 200,000 to the nation's capital — with 700,000 people participating in Sister Marches elsewhere. (CNN) The National Park Service granted 22 permits for events on park service land during the week of the inauguration. (MSNBC) And some of the protests are being organized by people without extensive backgrounds in activism (Mic). Is this the birth of The Resistance?
Want to know where to go this weekend? Mic has a Storm the Swamp map to help you navigate downtown Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day and for Saturday's big protest. Whether you're attending the inauguration, protesting or watching from afar, the day will be a fluid event with hundreds of thousands of people estimated to attend.Check out the map here.
Demonstrators will gather to protest the most unpopular president, on Inauguration Day, in modern history.Recent polls have shown Trump with extremely low levels of support among most Americans. A new survey releasedTuesday said only 40% of Americans support how Trump has handled the transition. (ABC News) A CNN-ORC poll found only 40% of Americans approve of Trump. (CNN) Obama, by contrast, had an 84% approval rating in 2009 when he was sworn in.
Meanwhile, pro-Trump groups will rally to oppose anyone protesting the new president. The leader of Bikers for Trump said his 5,000 expected attendees will form a "wall of meat" against any protesters who attempt to interfere with the inauguration. (SFGate) The group will hold what is expected to be the largest pro-Trump rally led by a private group in Washington during the inauguration. (Washington Post) And the DeploraBall, a gathering of Trump supporters for an everyman's inaugural ball, is reportedly sold out. (Quartz)
Today's controversial hearing: Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos has billions of dollars. For years, she has used this fortune to bend the education system to her vision. She has poured millions of dollars into backing politicians who will push charter schools and voucher programs to reform education through "school choice." (Politico) Not only has this made her a Republican megadonor with a complex set of financial interests, it positions DeVos in direct opposition to teachers unions and groups that support Democrats.
If DeVos pursues Trump's call to divert $20 billion into school choice, the move will likely draw major criticism from public education advocates. Her track record of supporting charter schools in Michigan is mixed, with some of the schools ranking near the bottom in the state. (Politico) DeVos has also funded a group that pushes debunked conversion therapy for LGBTQ individuals. (Politico)
Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee that will hear DeVos' testimony, has requested three years of the nominee's tax returns to guarantee her finances will not be a conflict of interest. (Washington Post) And Democrats are preparing to grill DeVos "on college affordability, transgender issues in schools and for-profit colleges," per CNN.
DeVos' confirmation hearing is set to begin at 5 p.m. Eastern.
Today's less controversial hearing: Ryan Zinke
One of the few Trump Cabinet nominees that does not deeply worry Democrats, Ryan Zinke, is the president-elect's pick to lead the Department of the Interior. The Montana congressman has stood against past efforts by his party to limit access to public lands. But he has also supported increased drilling and mining on lands in the West owned by the federal government.
Zinke has said he opposes selling public lands, something he will likely be asked to reiterate at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. And he is likely to face questions about his campaign pledge to achieve North American energy independence through extracting fossil fuels at home — read: coal, fracking and more. (Washington Post)
Hearings for Zinke began at 2:15 p.m. Eastern.
News and insight you cannot miss:
• Over the weekend, Trump said he wants "insurance for everybody" as he moves closer to unveiling a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. (Washington Post)
• That comment comes as Republican House members begin to face backlash in their districts over plans to repeal Obamacare. (New York)
• The world's financial elite gathering in Davos, Switzerland, are grappling with the message sent by voters in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and elsewhere: We don't like your leadership style. Politico has a story on the signs these global elites have ignored.
• Related to Davos: Trump criticized a GOP move Republicans hoped could be used to back the president-elect off his promise to implement tariffs on imported goods. (Wall Street Journal) Trump dismissed the GOP plan as "too complicated" and suggested he wants to stick to his simpler proposal of taxing all goods imported into the U.S. for sale.
• Meanwhile, China is still watching closely. Chinese President Xi Jinping said at Davos: "No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war." (Reuters)
• In the wake of Trump's protectionist rhetoric, the New York Times built a map to detail what the U.S. puts in and how it benefits from international relationships.
• President Barack Obama is set to commute or pardon sentences for hundreds more nonviolent drug offenders. (Washington Post) Obama's administration reviewed more than 16,000 applications for early release and have rushed to issue the commutations and pardons before Trump takes office. Democrats worry the Republican president will dismantle the infrastructure Obama has built to remove thousands of inmates convicted of drug offenses from American prisons.
Trump tweeted aggressively over the weekend. Here's the latest taste: