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Rugged Start For Nation As Donald Trump Takes Oath Of Office

January 20, 2017

As a reader of history I have always thought it unseemly when President John Adams left town in the early morning hours prior to the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson.  There is a grand pageantry that marks our nation as special from its beginning with the transfer of power.  I hate to see that undermined.

But having said that there is also no other time like the one we now are embarking upon.   When a candidate does not respect the tone and style of running for president or demeans whole segments of the electorate then that too undermines the alliance between those who wish to govern and those governed.   The reaction to that campaign and the lack of presidential character since the election has made for the place we now find ourselves.   I find it more comforting over the past months to read of the past.

As Trump takes the oath of office he starts with not the faith or support of a large segment of the nation.  His fav/unfav numbers stand at 38% positive, 48% negative (vs. Obama’s 67%-13% in Jan. 2009, Bush 43’s 50%-30%, and Bill Clinton’s 64%-16% in 1993). In addition, only 44% approve of Trump’s transition handling (vs. 71% for Barack Obama in Jan. 2009 and 77% for Bill Clinton in Dec. 1992). In other words, there’s little to suggest a long or rosy honeymoon for Trump.

Factor in the major concerns that arise from the Emoluments Clause and the meddling and influence of Russia on the election of Trump and it is clear that even Republicans are going to be seeking answers.

More immediately, there are questions about whether Trump’s team is ready to take over the sprawling federal government. Many agencies will head into the weekend with vacancies for key positions and a perceived lack of direction from transition officials.

His Cabinet nominees have also run into headwinds amid allegations of financial improprieties, physical violence, and concerns about preparation for top-level jobs.

While most president-elects try to bind the wounds of a contentious campaign season Trump traveled in the opposite direction and stoked more anger against him.  Consider that Obama threw an inaugural ball in honor of opponent John McCain in 2009 and it is easy to see the failure of Trump in trying to make inroads with those he offended.

Rough and bumpy is the only outcome we can expect from this day.

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