U.S. braces for Trump’s inauguration amid doubts, protests, partisan fights

By on January 18, 2017

U.S. braces for Trump's inauguration amid doubts, protests, partisan fights (Photo: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr)
U.S. braces for Trump’s inauguration amid doubts, protests, partisan fights (Photo: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr)

WASHINGTON—Partisan feud fuels, confidence floundering, marches and protests on the way, while hundreds of thousands of supporters for Donald Trump’s White House also being rallied to celebrate his Friday inauguration in and outside Washington D.C.

Low confidence:

Latest polls find U.S. President Barack Obama will leave office Friday with his highest approval rating since June, 2009, his first year in office, while his successor Donald Trump is entering White House with lowest popularity rate as a president-elect in the past four decades.

About two-thirds (65 percent) say Obama’s presidency was a success, including nearly half (49 percent) who say that was due to Obama’s personal strengths rather than circumstances outside his control, according to a new CNN/ORC poll issued Wednesday. His approval rating stands at 60 percent days in the final days of his 8-year presidency.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump enters office as the most unpopular of at least the last seven newly elected presidents, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds, with ratings for handling the transition that are also vastly below those of his predecessors

Sixty-one percent of Americans surveyed lack confidence in Trump to make the right decisions for the nation’s future, only 40 percent see Trump favorably overall or approve of the way he has handled the transition, the national surveys shows.

However, these polls also show six out of ten Americans have high expectations on the newly elected U.S. president on certain issues, especially the economy, jobs and fighting terrorism. About half of them also expect he can do well in three other issues: helping the middle class, handling the deficit and making Supreme Court appointments.

“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls” Trump backfired on Twitter in response to the spate of negative poll results.

“They are rigged just like before,” he claimed.

Though Trump will start his presidency with Republicans’ majority in both chambers of Congress, his general unpopularity is an unprecedented hurdle, whose impact on his ability to govern remains to be seen, Justin McCarthy, a Gallup analyst, said earlier this week when his company issued similar poll results.

Spreading protests

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are heading to Washington, D.C. this week, many of them to celebrate Trump’s swearing-in as the nation’s 45th president, many of them for the opposite goal.

D.C.’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is expecting 800,000 to 900,000 people to attend the ceremony overall, which is significantly less than Obama’s inauguration in 2009 that drew 1.8 million and forced the city into gridlock.

Meanwhile, protesters from a group called DisruptJ20, as well as some others, are planning to block Trump’ s inaugural ceremony and inaugural parade on Friday. The Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coaltion also plans to hold a demonstration from early Friday morning in downtown Washington, just hours before the inauguration starts.

The largest protest is expected to come the day after Trump’s inauguration. The U.S. National Park Service, in Washington D.C. alone, has already issued permits for at least 25 separate demonstrations set over this weekend, according to a USA Today report.

The number of such events is “pretty well unprecedented”, said Mike Litterst, a park service spokesman.

Among the weekend protesters, at least 200,000 are expected to gather in for the Women’ s March on Washington. Organizers say that they see the demonstration as not being solely anti-Trump but in support of a range of issues affecting women, including abortion rights, health, equal pay and gun violence.

“It’s quite noteworthy. If they get those kinds of numbers, it will far exceed any previous inaugural protest,” Inaugural Historian Jim Bendat told local reporters.

Sister marches are planned across the country, including one set to pass in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, as well as other demonstrations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

An estimated one million people plan to demonstrate against Trump’s presidency in all 50 U.S. states and 32 countries, according to local media reports.

Partisan feud:

As the country braces for Trump’s inauguration, partisan feud is also fuelling.

Two days before Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, roughly 60 Democratic lawmakers have already announced their boycott, some citing Trump’s campaign remarks about Mexicans and women, some citing his Twitter attacks on House Democrat John Lewis, a well-known icon of the civil rights movement who last week called Trump an illegitimate president.

“I cannot go because of the president-elect’ s inflammatory comments, his racist campaign, his conflicts of interest, his refusal to disclose his taxes,” House Representative Jerry Nadler said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the partisan battle over Trump’s Cabinet picks dominates Capitol Hill this week. Nine of Trump’s high-profile nominations, including Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Betty Davos for education secretary, are all facing questions before Senate committees.

As expected, Tom Price, Trump’s pick for health and human services secretary, was grilled Wednesday by Senate Democrats for his stand on the Obamacare repeal and his buying and selling of health-related stock.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that Price may have broken the law with at least one of those trades while Republican leaders in the Senate said they believe Price is absolutely qualified and want to see him confirmed as soon as possible.

Walter Shaub, chief of the independent Office of Government Ethics, warned Saturday that several of Trump’s nominees potentially have “unknown or unresolved ethics issues”, describing it as an unprecedented situation in his office’s 40-year history.

It remains unclear how many cabinet appointments could be affirmed on the day Trump is sworn in. In 2009, seven Obama’s Cabinet picks were passed in the Senate on the Inauguration Day.

Sean Spicer, the incoming White House spokesman, said Wednesday that Trump may take four or five executive actions on Friday after being sworn into office, bringing confusion since Trump himself announced Tuesday that “Day One” of his administration will be Monday, not his inauguration day.

During the campaign, Trump promised to begin dismantling his predecessor’s eight years of work on the first day he is in White House, including overruling many of Obama’s executive orders.