Donald Trump Archives - SaintPetersBlog

A visit to Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park home gives insight, solace

HYDE PARK, N.Y. — Finding ourselves in the neighborhood, we made a point of visiting a most famous site Friday to pay our respects to a First Couple who truly did make America great again.

No matter what anyone else pretends, the nation is still great. Whether we can remain so is in some doubt. Sad.

For a chilly, gray January day, there were more than the usual number of pilgrims to the home and grave site of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt.

“It’s a little busier today. People are seeking solace,” the ticket-taker said.

Springwood — the actual though little-known name of the tasteful mansion — was a place to find that solace, to forget for a little while that FDR’s office now belongs to a man who could not possibly be more unlike him in education, temperament, intelligence, and — what matters most — character.

Compare their inaugural addresses — easily found on the web — and you’ll see what I mean.

The contemporary problems that Donald J. Trump delights in rubbing in, like salt into a wound, are nothing compared to what FDR faced on his first day in office in March 1933. Nearly one in every four Americans were unemployed, almost 13 percent of the workforce, and many of the rest weren’t earning enough and lived in daily fear of losing their jobs. There was no safety net.

Americans knew, as FDR reminded them, that misconduct in high financial circles had contributed to their misery. But that was not the point he wanted to stress, that he wanted them to most remember. He began his inaugural address on an uplifting note.

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is … fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance,” he said. “In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

The superbly organized museum at the presidential library details how swiftly he and Congress moved to confront the crisis. Among them, barely three months later, was the enactment of the Glass-Steagall Act, which built a firewall between the banks entrusted with other people’s money and the risks that they had been taking on Wall Street.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall six decades later, in which both Democrats and Republicans were complicit, helped to bring on the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Now, Republicans in Congress see Trump’s election as an opportunity to unleash even more predatory greed. I’m speaking of Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which proved its worth again last week in going after fraud in the student loan racket. It is now probably as endangered as the honey bee.

Nothing in Trump’s inaugural address lends itself to confidence that he really understands what the nation needs most to do, let alone that he is prepared to be honest about it. American corporations haven’t lost anything to foreign competition. Our corporations are fat. But too often their workers haven’t shared in the prosperity they have helped to create. Most of the jobs Trump promises to restore have been lost to automation, not globalization. He gives no sign of understanding that.

We read this week that Trump fancies himself in the mold of Andrew Jackson, another radical populist. That’s undoubtedly true. We also hear that he has never really read in detail the biography of any American president, which is also likely true because it’s well-known that he just doesn’t read anything. What history teaches about Jackson should make us worry about Trump fancying his example. Jackson’s fixation with destroying the Second Bank of the United States brought on hard times. His treatment of the Cherokees and other Native Americans in the Southeast was ethnic cleansing, if you prefer a euphemism and outright genocide if you care to be honest about it.

Like Trump, Old Hickory knew how to evoke discontent and anger to get himself elected. Whether Trump will be a better president than Jackson will depend, as David Brooks wrote in The New York Times Friday, on whether Congress can manage to control the helpless excesses of the unprepared man Brooks calls “Captain Chaos,” and whether we, the public, can compel Congress to heed the better angels of our nature.

Visitors to the FDR home and museum learn the story of a man who was born to wealth and privilege, whose mother would not let him apply to the Naval Academy because she thought a gentleman of his status was meant for Harvard, and who overcame his protected upbringing to become the best friend that ordinary Americans ever had.

And when you hear the story of the polio that paralyzed his legs and see the heavy, cumbersome braces that helped him give the illusion of walking, you understand how the child of privilege became the champion of the people.

The disease that withered his leg strengthened his character and inspired his compassion.

Trump is another child of wealth and privilege. What would inspire him to connect, really connect, with ordinary people?

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Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Hillary Clinton: Protesters ‘marching for our values’

The Latest on the Women’s March on Washington and associated protests around the world (all times EST):

10:10 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is praising those attending the Women’s March on Washington.

The former Democratic nominee for president is thanking attendees on Twitter for “standing, speaking and marching for our values.” She says it’s as “important as ever.”

Clinton is also reviving her campaign slogan and says in the tweet she believes “we’re always Stronger Together.”

Clinton’s show of support for the march comes a day after she attended President Donald Trump‘s inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.

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9:40 a.m.

A city official in Washington says the turnout estimate for the Women’s March on the National Mall now stands at 500,000 people. That’s more than double the initial predictions.

Kevin Donahue is Washington’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice. He says on Twitter that organizers of the march are increasing the turnout estimate to half a million.

There were early signs across Washington that Saturday’s crowds could top those that gathered on Friday to watch President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Metro subway stations and train cars are full in many locations, while ridership on Friday was well off the numbers from Barack Obama‘s first inaugural.

The march’s National Park Service permit estimated a turnout of 200,000, but the District of Columbia’s homeland security chief had previously predicted turnout would be higher.

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8:55 a.m.

Thousands are massing on the National Mall for the Women’s March, and they’re gathering, too, in spots around the world.

A couple hundred people rallied in the Czech capital of Prague on Saturday in support of the march.

In Wenceslas Square in freezing conditions, they waved the portraits of President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as well banners that read: “This is just the beginning.”

Organizer Johanna Nejedlova says: “We are worried about the way some politicians talk, especially during the American elections.” Similar rallies unfolded in London, Berlin, Rome and other cities.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, protesters in the march’s trademark pink woolen hats met outside the U.S. Embassy. Says participant Sherin Khankan, “An alternative to the growing hatred must be created.”

At a rally in Stockholm, Sweden, organizer Lotta Kuylenstjerna says “we do not have to accept his message,” in a reference to Trump.

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8:30 a.m.

Rose Wurm got on her bus at 7 a.m. in Hagerstown, Maryland, ready for the ride to Washington and the Women’s March.

The 64-year-old retired medical secretary from Bedford, Pennsylvania, carried two signs. One asks President Donald Trump to stop tweeting. Another asks him to fix ex-President Barack Obama’s health care law, rather than get rid of it.

Wurm is riding one of the roughly 1,800 buses that have registered to park in Washington on Saturday. That translates into nearly 100,000 people coming for the march just by bus.

One company has buses coming from more than 200 cities in 26 states. It’s using school buses to bring people to the march from Maryland.

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8 a.m.

Look to the National Mall in Washington for lots of bright pink hats and signs that say “less fear more love” and “the future is female.”

Thousands of women are set to make their voices heard on the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington expect more than 200,000 people to attend the gathering.

Other protests are expected in other U.S. cities and around the world.

Rena Wilson came to Washington for the march on Friday from Charlotte, North Carolina. She says she hopes to send the message to Trump that they’re “not going anywhere.”

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3:05 a.m.

The mission statement of the Women’s March on Washington says event participants are “hurting and scared” as Donald Trump takes office — and they want a greater voice for women in political life.

Organizers of Saturday’s rally and march expect more than 200,000 people to come out — and that number could rival Trump’s swearing-in ceremony Friday.

The event follows a chaotic day in the nation’s capital when protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a series of clashes with police.

More than 200 people were arrested.

Republished with permission of the nAssociated Press.

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World jittery about Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ inaugural speech

President Donald Trump‘s inaugural speech promised “America first” policy led by a forceful executive, in contrast to the coalition building and international conferences which have featured strongly in past administrations.

The billionaire businessman and reality television star — the first president who had never held political office or high military rank — promised to stir a “new national pride” and protect America from the “ravages” of countries he says have stolen U.S. jobs.

“This American carnage stops right here,” Trump declared. In a warning to the world, he said, “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.”

A look at some reactions from around the world:

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AFGHANS DISAPPOINTED BUT HOPEFUL

Like many in the Afghan capital of Kabul, restaurant owner Mohammad Nahim watched the presidential inauguration ceremonies but was disappointed to not hear any mention of Afghanistan.

“Trump did not mention a word about Afghanistan in his speech and the salaries of the Afghan army and police are paid by the U.S.,” he said. He added that if the U.S. stops helping Afghanistan, “our country will again become a sanctuary to terrorists. I hope Trump will not forget Afghanistan.”

Mohammed Kasim Zazi, a shopkeeper whose home is in eastern Afghanistan’s Khost province, where the feared Haqqani network is prominent, said he expected Trump to stay focused on Afghanistan.

“Trump said he will finish the terrorists in the world and that has to mean that Afghanistan will remain in the sights of the U.S.” said Zazi.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said he was encouraged by Trump’s speech to soldiers in Bagram. “There he announced his support to the troops and the continuation of support for their troops here and strengthening their troops, which is a good and elegant step and I am sure that our cooperation in other areas will continue as well.”

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SPEECH RESONATES IN MEXICO

Perhaps no country was watching the speech more closely than Mexico. Trump has made disparaging remarks about immigrants who come to the United States illegally and sought to pressure companies not to set up shop in Mexico by threatening a border tariff on goods manufactured there and exported to the United States.

So Trump’s talk of “protect(ing) our borders,” ”America first” and “buy American and hire American” had particular resonance in America’s southern neighbor.

Ricardo Anaya Cortes, president of the conservative opposition National Action Party, called for “the unity of all Mexicans, unity in the face of this protectionist, demagogic and protectionist speech we just heard. Unity against that useless wall, against deportations, against the blockade of investment.”

“The challenge is enormous. … We demand the federal government leave aside tepidity, that it tackle with absolute firmness and dignity the new relationship with the United States,” Anaya said.

The United States is by far Mexico’s largest commercial partner, buying some 80 percent of its $532 billion in exports in 2015. Mexico is the second-largest market for U.S. exports.

“At least the word ‘Mexico’ was not heard in the speech. Nevertheless one can expect the United States to launch a hyper-protectionist project,” said Ilan Semo Groman, a researcher at Iberoamericana University.

If Trump truly moves to block or drive away U.S. investment in Mexico, Semo said Mexico should focus its commercial efforts on other countries.

“There are very clear possibilities,” Semo said.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sent three tweets after Trump’s inaugural speech Friday:

— “I congratulate @realDonaldTrump on his inauguration. We will work to strengthen our relationship with shared responsibility.”

— “We will establish a respectful dialogue with the government of President @realDonaldTrump, to Mexico’s benefit.”

— “Sovereignty, national interest and the protection of Mexicans will guide the relationship with the new government of the United States.”

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PAKISTAN WORRIES ABOUT MUSLIM COMMENTS

A group of retired government officials gathered after morning prayers for a walk in a sprawling park in the heart of the federal capital of Islamabad and the topic of their conversation was President Trump’s inaugural speech.

They expressed concern that Trump would target the Islamic world, particularly Pakistan, because of his campaign rhetoric about Muslims as well as his inaugural speech in which he promised to eradicate Islamic terrorism worldwide. Pakistan has often been accused of harboring militant insurgents and declared terrorist groups that have targeted neighboring India, against whom Pakistan has fought three wars, as well as Afghanistan. Pakistan denies the charges.

“Likely there is more trouble in store for the Islamic world and our country will take the most brunt of the harsh treatment from President Trump administration,” said Mohammad Afzal.

His sentiments were echoed by Shafiq Khan, who said “the one main thing that the new president mentioned about the world outside America is to tackle Islamic radicalism and that should be the matter of concern for all of us.”

Amanaullah, a school teacher in Islamabad, feared Trump’s reference to eliminating radical Islamic terrorism. “I think under this name he wants to malign and eliminate Islam,” he said.

Umair Khan, an engineer, said of Trump: “Let him taste the burden of government and get settled, I am sure he will calm.”

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CONCERN IN TOKYO

Some Tokyo residents are worried that Trump’s “America first” policy will usher in an era of populism and protectionism at the expense of the rest of the world.

Tadashi Gomibuchi, who works in the manufacturing industry, recorded Trump’s inauguration speech overnight as he was keen to hear what the new president had to say.

“Trump is trying to make big changes to the way things are. Changes are good sometimes, but when America, the most powerful, loses stability … it’s a grave concern,” he said. “If you take his words literally, it may destabilize the world going forward and I’m really worried. I hope things will lead to a soft landing.”

Retiree Kuninobu Inoue, who lived in the U.S. during the 1990s, is concerned about trade frictions between Japan and the U.S, citing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Japan-U.S. relations are not just about security. Our good relations rely so much on trade,” he said.

Protectionist policies such as the withdrawal from TPP and renegotiation of NAFTA will have a negative impact on the global economy including Japan’s, said Akio Mimura, head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“These policies only enhance protectionist and populist movement spreading around the world, and could largely shake the free trade system that has supported global growth,” he said.

In his congratulatory message to Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the importance of the Asia-Pacific region as a source for growth but also tensions.

“In the 21st century, while the Asia-Pacific region is the source of the global economic growth, the security environment of the region is becoming more severe,” he said.

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CHINA BRACES FOR TROUBLE AHEAD

A Chinese state-run nationalist tabloid, the Global Times, says President Trump’s inauguration speech indicates that the U.S. and China would inevitably face trade tensions.

The newspaper said in a Saturday commentary following Trump’s inauguration that “dramatic changes” lay ahead for the U.S. and the global economic order.

“Undoubtedly, the Trump administration will be igniting many ‘fires’ on its front door and around the world. Let’s wait and see when it will be China’s turn,” it said.

The paper noted that Trump blamed foreign trade policies for failing to put “America first,” and said trade tensions between the U.S. and China seemed “inevitable within the four years ahead.”

The paper says it expects that the Trump administration, in seeking to bring factories back to the U.S. from China, will use the U.S. government’s relations with Taiwan as “merely a bargaining chip for them to put trade pressure on China.”

In Beijing, Independent scholar and commentator Zhang Lifan drew a contrast between Trump’s focus on domestic issues and Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s emphasis on international cooperation.

“The new U.S. administration’s policy toward China is not clear now. In my view, Trump will deal with China like a businessman, especially on trade negotiations,” Zhang said.

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TAIWAN TWEETS

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted her congratulations to Trump, saying: “Congratulations @realDonaldTrump. Democracy is what ties Taiwan and the US together. Look forward to advancing our friendship & partnership.”

Trump didn’t mention the self-ruled island in his speech, but he angered China and broke diplomatic protocol by talking by phone with Tsai shortly after winning November’s election.

He has said earlier that Washington’s “one China policy” under which it recognized Beijing in 1979 was open to negotiation, and questioned why the U.S. should be bound by such an approach without China offering incentives.

___

SOUTH KOREANS PUT SECURITY FIRST, WORRY ABOUT ALLIANCE, TRADE

Some in South Korea worried that President Trump would ask Seoul to shoulder a bigger share of the cost of U.S. forces stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against aggression from North Korea, or that their country will be caught in a conflict between the U.S. and China.

“I think the biggest challenge is the national defense,” said Park Geon-rok, a 30-year-old designer, adding that South Korea was “heavily influenced by the U.S.”

In an editorial, the English-language JoongAng Daily said South Korea’s relations with the U.S. under Trump will face a challenge as the new leader will likely ask Seoul to pay more for the cost of the U.S. military forces in the country, and renegotiate a bilateral free trade agreement. But the paper also notes it is “fortunate” that Trump has a strong position on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

There were concerns about potential conflicts between the U.S. and China, South Korea’s key business partner. Kim Kyung-jin, a spokesman for the opposition People’s Party, said that the international economic order might collapse as the U.S. seeks its own economic interest. Kim urged Trump to ease such worries.

“There is a possibility of us becoming an innocent bystander who gets hurt in a fight,” said Nam Hae-sook, a 62-year-old homemaker. “Also, I think President Trump will be different from President-elect Trump. I think things will work out.”

In place of impeached President Park Geun-hye, Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said in his congratulatory message to Trump that South Korea wishes to bolster the already close ties with the U.S. and cooperate on stopping North Korea’s nuclear development.

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INDIANS FRET ABOUT IMMIGRATION PROSPECTS

Among dozens of young, urban Indians who watched Trump’s inauguration and speech at a club in a New Delhi, the 27-year-old Jigar Gorasia said getting work visas for professionals and green cards will become a problem.

“It is going to be a little bit challenging for those,” said Gorasia, who studied and worked in Chicago before moving back to India last year.

Divya Narayanan, a 21-year-old student of journalism, said that Trump as president worried her. “Someone at the level of the U.S. president coming out and saying things which are bigoted, which are sexist, it sets a precedent for other people in the country, right?”

Indian newspapers highlighted Trump’s protectionist policies in his speech. “America First President,” read the banner headline of The Indian Express newspaper.

“Protectionist Trumpet: Buy American, Hire American,” was the headline of The Times of India newspaper.

___

VIETNAMESE SAY SPEECH TOO AMERICA-FOCUSED

A Vietnamese analyst said Trump’s speech was disappointing because it mainly served the domestic audience.

“I think this speech would be right for an election campaign, but not an inauguration speech,” said Nguyen Ngoc Truong, president of Hanoi-based private policy think-tank Center for Strategic Studies and International Development.

“It should not be that simple because in an inauguration speech, you must introduce an objective and multi-faceted vision, not just one-sided vision to the American public,” he said. “I don’t think Trump could have a magic stick to be able to manage America to realize the goals that he outlined.”

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AUSTRALIANS FIND SPEECH DIVISIVE

An Australian father of two, Marek Rucinski, found Trump’s speech “very divisive” and lacking substance.

“Normally these speeches are used to rally and unite people,” he said. “It was, again, more bluster.”

Rucinski was among some 8,000-10,000 people who attended a Women’s March anti-Trump rally in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

Self-described feminist, Niall Anderson, watched the president’s inauguration in disbelief.

“Just disbelief that this can happen in 2017,” the 35-year-old said.

The Australian newspaper’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan wrote that “Trump answered one big question with his inauguration address: There is to be no transition from campaign Trump to presidential Trump.”

“Donald Trump is always Donald Trump. This consistency is perhaps his chief virtue,” Sheridan wrote.

“And his inauguration address made it clear that he intends to govern just as he campaigned, taking swings at his opponents, extolling his populist mantras, speaking in the slightly weird argot of contemporary down market celebrity,” he added.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Women descend on DC to push back against new president

Throngs of women determined to push back against the new American president descended on the nation’s capital and other cities around the globe Saturday for marches aimed at showing Donald Trump they won’t be silent over the next four years. They came wearing bright pink “pussyhats” and wielding signs with messages such as “Women won’t back down” and “Less fear more love.”

City officials tweeted that organizers of the Women’s March on Washington had increased the expected turnout there to 500,000, up from 200,000, as crowds began swelling well ahead of the event’s start and subways into the city became clogged with participants.

It wasn’t just a Washington phenomenon and it wasn’t just women: More than 600 “sister marches” were planned across the country and around the world, and plenty of men were part of the tableau.

In Washington, Rena Wilson, of Charlotte, North Carolina, said she hopes the women can send Trump a message that they’re “not going anywhere.”

Joy Rodriguez, of Miami, arrived with her husband, William, and their two daughters, ages 12 and 10. “I want to make sure their rights are not infringed on in these years coming up,” Joy Rodriguez said.

March organizers said women are “hurting and scared” as the new president takes office and want a greater voice for women in political life.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” their mission statement says.

Retired teacher Linda Lastella, 69, who came from Metuchen, New Jersey, said she had never marched before but felt the need to speak out when “many nations are experiencing this same kind of pullback and hateful, hateful attitudes.”

“It just seemed like we needed to make a very firm stand of where we were,” she said.

Rose Wurm, 64, a retired medical secretary from Bedford, Pennsylvania, boarded a Washington-bound bus in Hagerstown, Maryland, at 7 a.m. carrying two signs: one asking Trump to stop tweeting, and one asking him to fix, not trash, the Obamacare health law.

“There are parts of it that do need change. It’s something new, something unique that’s not going to be perfect right out of the gate,” she said.

Many arrived wearing hand-knit pointy-eared “pussyhats” — a message of female empowerment aimed squarely at Trump’s demeaning comments about women.

The march attracted significant support from celebrities. America Ferrara led the artists’ contingent, and those scheduled to speak in Washington included Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd, Melissa Harris-Perry and Michael Moore. The promised performance lineup included Janelle Monae, Maxwell, Samantha Ronson, the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Cher, Katy Perry and Julianne Moore all were expected to attend.

Women and other groups were demonstrating across the nation and as far abroad as Myanmar and Australia. In Prague, hundreds gathered in Wenceslas Square in freezing weather, waving portraits of Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and holding banners that read “This is just the beginning,” ”Kindness” and “Love.”

“We are worried about the way some politicians talk, especially during the American elections,” said organizer Johanna Nejedlova.

In Copenhagen, march organizer Lesley-Ann Brown said: “Nationalist, racist and misogynistic trends are growing worldwide and threaten the most marginalized groups in our societies including women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBT community and people with disabilities.”

In Sydney, thousands of Australians marched in solidarity in Hyde Park. One organizer said hatred, bigotry and racism are not only America’s problems.

Friday’s unrest during the inauguration led police to use pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the chaos from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and the evening balls.

About a mile from the National Mall, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses, including a Starbucks, a Bank of America and a McDonald’s, as they denounced capitalism and Trump.

“They began to destroy property, throw objects at people, through windows. A large percentage of this small group was armed with crowbars and hammers,” said the city’s interim police chief, Peter Newsham.

Six officers suffered minor injuries, he said.

The confrontation began an hour before Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowd of protesters swelled to more than 1,000, some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together inside PVC pipe.

As night fell, protesters set a bonfire blocks from the White House and frightened well-dressed Trump supporters as they headed for the inaugural balls. Police briefly ordered ball guests to remain inside their hotel as they worked to contain advancing protesters.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Women descend on DC a day after anarchists create chaos

A day after self-described anarchists created chaos, thousands of women are descending upon Washington for what is expected to be a more orderly show of force on the first full day of Donald Trump‘s presidency.

Organizers of Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington expect more than 200,000 people to attend their gathering, a number that could rival Trump’s swearing-in ceremony. Attendees are “hurting and scared” as the new president takes office and want a greater voice for women in political life, according to the organizers’ mission statement.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” the statement says.

Women and other groups were demonstrating across the nation and as far abroad as Myanmar and Australia.

In Sydney, thousands of Australians marched in solidarity in the city’s central Hyde Park. One organizer said hatred, bigotry and racism are not only America’s problems.

The Washington gathering, which features a morning rally and afternoon march, comes a day after protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a series of clashes that led to more than 200 arrests. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the chaos from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and evening balls.

About a mile from the National Mall, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses including a Starbucks, a Bank of America and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and Trump.

“They began to destroy property, throw objects at people, through windows. A large percentage of this small group was armed with crowbars and hammers,” said the city’s interim police chief, Peter Newsham.

Six officers suffered minor injuries, he said.

The confrontation began an hour before Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowd of protesters swelled to more than 1,000, some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together inside PVC pipe. One said the demonstrators were “bringing in the cavalry.”

When some crossed police lines, taunting, “Put the pigs in the ground,” police charged with batons and pepper spray, as well as stun grenades, which are used to shock and disperse crowds. Booms echoed through the streets about six blocks from where Trump would soon hold his inaugural parade.

Some protesters picked up bricks and concrete from the sidewalk and hurled them at police lines. Some rolled large, metal trash cans at police. Later, they set fire to a limousine on the perimeter of the secured zone, sending black smoke billowing into the sky during Trump’s procession.

As night fell, protesters set a bonfire blocks from the White House and frightened well-dressed Trump supporters as they ventured to the new president’s inaugural balls. Police briefly ordered ball-goers to remain inside their hotel as they worked to contain advancing protesters.

Police said they charged 217 people with rioting, said Newsham, noting that the group caused “significant damage” along a number of blocks.

Before Inauguration Day, the DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, had promised that people participating in its actions in Washington would attempt to shut down the celebrations, risking arrest when necessary.

It was unclear whether the groups will be active on Saturday.

The Women’s March on Washington features a morning rally with a speaking lineup that includes a series of celebrities, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrara, Amy Schumer, Frances McDormand and Zendaya, among them.

Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director, said he expects the march to draw more than 200,000. He said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city on Jan. 21, which would mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.

Friday’s protests spread across the nation. In San Francisco, thousands formed a human chain on the Golden Gate Bridge and chanted “Love Trumps hate.” In the city’s financial district, a few hundred protesters blocked traffic outside an office building partly owned by Trump.

In Atlanta, protests converged at City Hall and a few hundred people chanted and waved signs protesting Trump, denouncing racism and police brutality and expressing support for immigrants, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In Nashville, half a dozen protesters chained themselves to the doors of the Tennessee Capitol. Hundreds also sat in a 10-minute silent protest at a park while Trump took the oath of office. Organizers led a prayer, sang patriotic songs and read the Declaration of Independence aloud.

In the Pacific Northwest, demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, burned U.S. flags and students at Portland State University walked out of classes. About 200 protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Washington, carrying signs that included the messages “Resist Trump” and “Not My Problem.”

Republished with permission of The Associated press.

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Organizers expect thousands at Women’s Solidarity March in St. Petersburg on Saturday

While a crowd of over 200,000 people is expected to jam the streets of Washington D.C. on Saturday to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration, similar rallies are being held around the world. The biggest event in the Tampa Bay area will take place in St. Petersburg.

The Women’s Solidarity March St. Pete is scheduled noon to 3 p.m, beginning at Demens Landing on the waterfront in downtown St. Pete (that’s at 2nd Avenue SE and Bayshore).

“Maybe we were sleeping at the switch, but no more,” says Suzanne Benton, one of the organizers of the event, says about the result of last November’s election. She says she expects as many as 15,000 people to attend the rally.

“We’re not going to let democracy slip away from us,” Benton adds.”We’re going to be a model for the world. They’re very worried for us. We have to show here in St. Petersburg – this state went for the opposition – we have to show the world that we know how to protect our democracy and we’re not going to let it slip away.”

Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percentage points in Florida on November 8.

Marianny De Leon is a twentysomething activist and staffer with Planned Parenthood in Tampa. She’ll be participating in a similar rally in Tallahassee on Saturday (there are protests being held up and down the state on both Friday and Saturday)

“We do have a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, but this march is going to be a unified women’s movement,” she says. “We strived very hard to be as intersectional as possible and we really want to make sure that women have access to the health care that they need. We need to make sure that people who are low-income, people who don’t speak English, we just want to ensure that everybody has the same rights.”

There have been media reports this week that some women who are not pro-choice but considers themselves feminists have been banned from the major protest in D.C. this Saturday. But organizers for the rally in St. Petersburg say there’s no litmus test to participate.

“We’re proud that’s a part of our platform,” says organizer Amy Weintraub regarding the support for abortion rights. “But we can also find plenty of other things that we would agree with everyone, and that’s going to be the key to this social change movement.

“When we engage with people in our community who may have voted differently than we did during the election, we’ve got to find 51 percent that we agree on, ” Weintraub added, “and once we do, we’ll be able to talk with them, educate and potentially change their vote next time around.”

After Georgia Democratic Representative John Lewis announced last weekend that he would not attend the inauguration, saying he didn’t believe believe Trump was a “legitimate” president, dozens of his colleagues now say they won’t attend on Friday, including Florida Democrats Alcee Hastings and Darren Soto. Benton said she understood why congressional Democrats would choose to attend the ceremony, but said she at least hoped they would wear black at the event.

You can get more information on Saturday’s event by going to the Facebook page. Those who do choose to attend should note that some local meteorologists have predicted that there could be a chance of rain.

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No American Covenant or New Frontier for this president. Donald Trump speaks of ‘American carnage.’

America is getting what it ordered on Election Day.

If anyone was expecting an evolution from Donald Trump the candidate to Donald Trump the president, never mind.

The new president delivered an inaugural address Friday that was straight from his campaign script — to the delight or dismay of different subsets of Americans.

Trump gave nods to unity and began with kind words for Barack and Michelle Obama, but pivoted immediately to a searing indictment of the status quo and the Obama years.

Presidents past have promised an American Covenant, a New Frontier, a Great Society.

Trump sketched a vision of “American carnage.”

Then he promised to end it with a nationalist “America First” approach to governing.

It was a speech for Trump’s supporters, but maybe not those who voted for somebody else.

When Trump told the crowd on the National Mall and watching from afar that “everyone is listening to you now” and spoke of a “historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before,” he seemed to harking back to his voters.

“At some point, there has got to be a transference to being the leader of all the people,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, though, heard “exactly the speech Trump needed to give to be the kind of president he wants to be.”

“In a very workmanlike way, he was reasserting precisely the themes that had gotten him elected,” Gingrich said. “He is trying to communicate how he sees the next few years from his perspective: It will basically be pitched again and again as the people vs. the establishment, and it will be constant striving to reform the system.”

In his 16-minute inaugural, Trump spoke in grim terms of families trapped in poverty, shuttered factories dotting the landscape like tombstones, of rampant crime, drugs and gangs.

It was an echo of the bleak message he delivered at the Republican National Convention — and likewise short on specifics for how he will solve those problems.

His pledge to make things better came wrapped as a nostalgic paean to better days long gone.

“America will start winning again, winning like never before,” the new president said. “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.”

Nostalgia works for some Americans, but not all.

“If you’re an African-American, 50 years ago doesn’t seem so great to you,” said Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a frequent Trump critic. “You need some kind of vision for a future America.”

The new president “amplifies resentments” in the name of pursuing change, said Gerson. “It’s always us vs. them.”

Trump did directly take on the nation’s modern security challenges by giving a blanket promise to “eradicate completely from the face of the earth” the scourge of “Radical Islamic Terrorism” — a capitalized phrase that the Obama administration refused even to utter.

But he’s given few details about how he’ll do that.

Granted, inaugurals aren’t meant to be wonky policy speeches. But they must be backed by a plan of action to have oomph.

As the new president took office, whitehouse.gov was filling up with policy pages that were long on broad goals and light on specifics.

And the question marks about his policies on taxes, trade, immigration, terrorism and more are magnified by the sometimes contradictory policy pronouncements coming from his Cabinet nominees.

Going into Friday’s address, Trump already had a lot of work to do to rally the nation behind him.

Just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable view of him, far lower than any other president-elect’s popularity since at least the 1970s, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.

And if he can’t deliver on the bold promises of his inaugural, he’ll lose those he does have in his corner.

“The speech is notable for laying down very specific markers by which his presidency will be assessed,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a communications professor and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “The categorical nature of those markers is going to be problematic for him.”

Gingrich put it more bluntly:

“If he keeps us safe and creates jobs, he will almost certainly be re-elected. If he can’t do those things, he’s in deep trouble.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Promises, pomp and protests as Donald Trump sworn in

Pledging to empower America’s “forgotten men and women,” Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting “American carnage,” shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.

Trump’s address lasted just 16 minutes. While his inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.

Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray and made numerous arrests after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and Trump.

The new president’s first words as commander in chief were an unapologetic reprisal of the economic populism and nationalism that fueled his improbable campaign. He vowed to stir “new national pride,” bring jobs back to the United States, and “eradicate completely” Islamic terrorism.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only, ‘America First,'” Trump said.

His address lasted just 16 minutes. While Trump’s inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.

In a remarkable scene, Trump ripped into Washington’s longtime leaders as he stood among them at the U.S. Capitol. For too long, he said, “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”

For Republicans eager to be back in the White House, there was little mention of the party’s bedrock principles: small government, social conservativism and robust American leadership around the world. Trump, who is taking office as one of the most unpopular incoming presidents in modern history, made only oblique references to those who may be infuriated and fearful of his presidency.

“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,” he said.

The new president was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, reciting the 35-word oath with his hand placed upon two Bibles, one used by his family and another during President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Trump and wife, Melania, bid Obama and outgoing first lady Michelle Obama farewell as they departed the Capitol grounds in a government helicopter. Trump and Obama’s political paths have been linked in remarkable ways. Before running for the White House, the billionaire businessman led efforts to promote falsehoods about the 44th president’s citizenship and claim on the office.

Obama addressed a staff gathering at Joint Base Andrews before departing for a vacation in California. “You proved the power of hope,” he said.

Trump’s journey to the inauguration was as unlikely as any in recent American history. He defied his party’s establishment, befuddled the media and toppled two political dynasties on his way to victory. His message, calling for a resurgence of white, working-class corners of America, was packaged in defiant stump speeches railing against political correctness. He used social media to dominate the national conversation and challenge conventions about political discourse. After years of Democratic control of the White House and deadlock in Washington, his was a blast of fresh air for millions.

But Trump’s call for restrictive immigration measures and his caustic campaign rhetoric about women and minorities angered millions. And Trump’s swearing-in was shadowed by questions about his ties to Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have determined worked to tip the 2016 election in his favor.

More than 60 House Democrats refused to attend his swearing in ceremony in the shadow of the Capitol dome. One Democrat who did sit among the dignitaries was Hillary Clinton, Trump’s vanquished campaign rival who was widely expected by both parties to be the one taking the oath of office.

At a post-ceremony luncheon at the Capitol, Trump asked the Republicans and Democrats present to recognize her, and those in the room rose and applauded.

At 70, Trump is the oldest person to be sworn in as president, marking a generational step backward after two terms for Obama, one of the youngest presidents to serve as commander in chief.

Trump takes charge of an economy that has recovered from the Great Recession but has nonetheless left millions of Americans feeling left behind. The nation’s longest war is still being waged in Afghanistan and U.S. troops are battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The American health care system was expanded to reach millions more Americans during Obama’s tenure, but at considerable financial costs. Trump has vowed to dismantle and rebuild it.

Trump faces challenges as the first president to take office without ever having held a political position or served in the military. He has stacked his Cabinet with established Washington figures and wealthy business leaders. Though his team’s conservative bent has been cheered by many Republicans, the overwhelmingly white and male Cabinet has been criticized for a lack of diversity.

Before attending an inaugural luncheon, Trump signed his first series of orders, including the official nominations for his Cabinet. He joked with lawmakers, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and handed out presidential pens.

In a show of solidarity, all of the living American presidents attended Trump’s inaugural, except for 92-year-old George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized this week with pneumonia. His wife, Barbara, was also admitted to the hospital after falling ill.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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At Inauguration watch party in North Tampa, great expectations for a Trump presidency

Approximately three dozen Donald Trump supporters cheered incessantly at a Beef O’Brady’s in North Tampa on Friday morning, before, during and after the longtime New York real estate mogul was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

“We did this,” exclaimed Terry Castro, a co-chair with the Trump campaign in north Hillsborough County, immediately after the swearing-in ceremony.

“These are all the people who worked in the north Hillsborough Trump office and helped us make this day come true,” added co-chair Rebecca DoBoer.

“It’s all about the people,” DoBoer continued, echoing a theme of the Republican’s inaugural address. “Whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. It’s a movement of people who want to turn back to the days when we had great jobs and everyone could succeed.”

Trump’s signature campaign theme of making America “great again,” was definitely what many in the bar believed will come true over the next four and possibly eight years.

“I’m excited for America to be wonderful again,” said Tampa resident Peggy Kienzle. When pressed about what that actually means, she harkened back to her youth.

“I think of the 50’s and 60’s when I was growing up. I remember every man going to work every day as proud Americans. Patriotism,” she recounted. “It was the 1960’s with JFK. There was so much pride in this country and what we stood for. I am still very proud to be an American and always will be, but I am really anxious to see where he can take our country.”

59-year-old Tampa citizen Charles Harris also invoked the past in discussing Trump’s appeal. “We need the leadership that we once had in the 1960’s when we had a backbone and we had a military readiness that we used to have and I think we need to be more prepared and I think we need to just get back to our goal as being the most powerful nation on the face of the earth,” he said, adding, “this country has lost respect in every other avenue on this earth. Other countries used to respect us, even the terrorists knew not to mess with us, but now that may change and we may get that respect back.”

Although some have questioned Trump’s bonafides when it comes to how spiritual he actually is, some in the audience at the family friendly sports bar said they celebrated his faith.

“I think he’s a real Christian,” said Rita Lynn. “I think that’s very important that we depend on God to tell us and guide us on what to do. ”

“The thing that I’m most impressed about actually is that he’s a Christian man and he loves America, and you can see it in everything that he does,” added Kienzle.

When pressed about what specifically they hope that Trump accomplishes in office, several people in the multiracial crowd said they wanted him to eliminate what they said were way too many regulations promulgated during the Obama administration that they claim are strangling U.S. businesses.

“This country has always been where one where people with ideas can risk and build a future for themselves and their family, and the abundance of this country has come out of people who were willing to question, challenge and create, and you have a man coming out of the private sector who knows just how devastating regulations are,” said Bill Luria, 70. A practicing physician, Luria is excited to see the Affordable Care Act wither away, saying whatever the replacement turns out will “be a massive improvement.”

Tampa resident Aaron Bergman says he personally doesn’t care about the Republican Party. He says the problem is that the U.S. government is of and for Washington and not of and for the people, and says he truly believes that the new president will “drain the swamp.”

Bergman celebrates Trump as a “once in a lifetime candidate because he’s not beholden” to anyone – special interests, the political parties, or the media.

“The media did everything in their power to destroy him, and it failed,” he says.

Many of the Trump supporters qualified their statements by acknowledging that as happy as they were on Friday, half the nation was equally unhappy, if not downright despondent about the fact that the Republican Party will control all levers of the federal government for the first time in a decade.

And while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans dug in early to thwart Barack Obama in his administration,  St. Petersburg resident Tyler Prince says that Republican rank and file members did view the now former president with an open mind, and he’s asking for the same consideration for the new one.

“Just give the guy a chance,” he said. “Eight years ago I didn’t protest. It was a tough time for us. We gave Obama a chance, so we hope that everybody does the same for Trump.”

However with more than 60 congressional Democrats boycotting or simply sitting out the inauguration, and with protests planned in hundreds of cities across the country on Saturday, that idea remains uncertain at this time.

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Builders Stephen Bittel and Donald Trump have things in common

Everyone in America knows the name of President Donald Trump. On the other hand, few are familiar with Stephen Bittel, even in his home state of Florida.

As of noon on Friday, Donald Trump officially became the President of the United States. As of January 14, Bittel became the latest Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.

For all of the obvious differences of party affiliation, the two men have some things in common. Both are wealthy developers. Both are known to say what is on their mind.

To no one’s surprise, Trump has a 55 percent negative rating (as does Hillary Clinton). One of the key factors leading to that score is the perception, true or not, that Trump is a bully.

As the vote for Democratic Chairman approached, Bittel faced four challengers unimpressed with his style. Dwight Bullard, Alan Clendenin, Lisa King and Leah Carius thought Bittel was pushing his weight around too much.

“Somebody in this race has been trying to bully and intimidate people,” Clendenin said.

Sound familiar?

In fact, the quartet had their own unofficial “Anyone but Bittel” cabal. They claimed to control 60 percent of the votes, thereby denying Bittel the chairmanship.

“We are standing shoulder to shoulder,” added Clendenin.

Sound familiar? Backed in large part by the Democratic establishment, Bittel won on the first ballot.

Democrats hate, to different degrees, what Trump is all about. They don’t like the way he won and the type of supporters he attracted.

The guess here is that in Bittel, Democrats have elected a chairman that will behave in some ways like Trump. In other words, he promises to be an aggressive, active chairman that seeks to make the Florida Democratic Party great again. #MFDPGA?

The task before Trump is well known. What confronts Bittel is understood mainly by those entrenched in party politics.

Trump knows a $20 trillion debt is daunting. In the world of Florida politics, so is the job facing Bittle and the Democrats. An example is illustrative.

My friend and former colleague Jason Gonzalez recently posted this “gee-whiz” nugget on Facebook. In the bluest of blue counties, Leon, here are the Republicans who affect those constituents on the state and federal level:

President and Vice-President; Speaker of the House and Majority Leader in the Senate; Governor of Florida and all three Cabinet positions; Speaker of the Florida House and President of the state Senate.

Here’s the final straw. With Dr. Neal Dunn’s victory in Congressional District 2 (Gwen Graham did not seek re-election), Republicans control all of those positions at the same time for the first time ever as of noon on Friday.

(NOTE: some Leon County residents, like this writer, reside in the district served by Rep. Al Lawson, a decent guy).

Bittel has heard the criticism of the state party for not helping develop a “farm team” or “bench” of young, charismatic candidates. Florida is far from alone in facing problems brought on by an overloaded focus on presidential elections at the expense of winning locally.

Look no further than the trouble Democrats have in nonpresidential year elections for an illustration. A must-read piece in Politico Magazine by Edward-Isaac Dovere shows the national dilemma confronting Democrats with Florida serving only as a microcosm.

Only 16 of our country’s governors are Democrats, while 32 state legislatures are controlled by the GOP. Democrats lost 1,034 state and federal legislative seats over the past eight years.

“There’s no bench, no bench for a bench, no one able to speak for the party as a whole,” Dovere wrote.

Over the years, Bittel has raised large sums for Democrats. As chairman, he has a chance to close some of the canyon-sized gap in money Florida Republicans have enjoyed for years.

If he employs some of Trump’s qualities in bringing disaffected Democrats, their passion and their money to the cause — and starts building a bench — being a bully won’t be such a bad thing. I am not in the business of giving Democrats advice, nor would they want it.

That being said, for one of the few times in recent memory, Florida Democrats may have made a good move in electing Stephen Bittel. Republicans should keep an eye and ear on him.

 

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