20 January 2021 - Inauguration Day
In Farewell Speech As President, Trump Says ‘We Did What We Came Here To Do’
Sara Boboltz (The Huffington Post, 19/01/2021)
Donald Trump made his last address to the American people as their president on Tuesday afternoon in a video released during the final hours of his tumultuous and divisive term in office.
“As I conclude my term as the 45th president of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together,” Trump began.
“This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” he continued, adding: “We also want them to have luck, a very important word.” (See video of the speech above.)
Trump pardons Steve Bannon as one of his final acts in office
Pamela Brown, Paul LeBlanc and Kaitlan Collins (CNN, 20/01/2021)
President Donald Trump pardoned his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, in a last-minute decision made only hours before he is scheduled to depart the White House for a final time.
Trump told people that after much deliberation, he had decided to pardon Bannon as one of his final acts in office."President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon. Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project," the statement from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany read. "Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen."
VP Mike Pence expected to skip Trump send-off to Florida
Matt Leach, Paul Steinhauser and Blake Burman (Fox News, 20/01/2021)
Vice President Mike Pence is not expected to attend Wednesday morning’s farewell ceremony for President Trump at Joint Base Andrews, a source familiar with the vice president’s schedule confirms to Fox News.
The news comes as the vice president officially announced on Tuesday afternoon that he and outgoing second lady Karen Pence will attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, which is scheduled for Noon E.T. on Wednesday, at the west front of the U.S. Capitol.
Obituary for a Failed Presidency
Susan B. Glasser (The New Yorker, 20/01/2021)
Precisely at noon on Wednesday, Donald Trump’s disastrous Presidency will end, two weeks to the day after he unleashed a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol, seeking to overturn the election results, and one week to the day after he was impeached for so doing. He leaves behind a city and a country reeling from four hundred thousand Americans dead, as of Tuesday, from a pandemic whose gravity he downplayed and denied; an economic crisis; and an internal political rift so great that it invites comparisons to the Civil War.
In the end, Trump was everything his haters feared—a chaos candidate, in the prescient words of one of his 2016 rivals, who became a chaos President. An American demagogue, he embraced division and racial discord, railed against a “deep state” within his own government, praised autocrats and attacked allies, politicized the administration of justice, monetized the Presidency for himself and his children, and presided over a tumultuous, turnover-ridden Administration via impulsive tweets. He leaves office, Gallup reported this week, with the lowest average approval ratings in the history of the modern Presidency. Defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 election by seven million votes, Trump became the first incumbent seeking reëlection to see his party lose the White House, Senate, and the House of Representatives since Herbert Hoover, in 1932. A liar on an unprecedented scale, Trump made more than thirty thousand false statements in the course of his Presidency, according to the Washington Post, culminating in perhaps the biggest lie of all: that he won an election that he decisively lost.
Why do presidential inaugurations matter?
Dimitris Xygalatas (The Conversation, 19/01/2021)
As one president’s term ends and another begins, there is a ceremony. Its importance is one of symbolism rather than substance. The Constitution is clear: On Jan. 20, there will be a transfer of power. There is no mention of an inauguration.
By definition, ritual acts have no direct effect on the world. A ceremonial event is one that symbolically affirms something that happens by other, more direct means. In this case, the election – not the inauguration – makes the president, although an oath is required before exercising his power.
Nonetheless, ceremonies matter. Having spent two decades studying ritual, I can attest to that. So can the recent history of inaugurations: In 2009, Barack Obama misplaced one word when reciting the presidential oath of office. As a result, he decided to retake the oath the next day. And in 2017, Donald Trump insisted that his inauguration was attended by a record-setting crowd, even as everyone’s eyes saw otherwise. He saw the size of the attendance as a measure of his legitimacy.