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I hope that everyone who could have helped former President Trump to set the election fraud straight is happy.

That includes Mike Pence and the Supreme Court.

Oh, my apologies. They do not care one jot for ordinary Americans. So, everything’s okay.

I didn’t think it was possible for the greatest nation in the world to go down the tubes so quickly.

Yet, that is where America is headed at breakneck speed.

Inauguration Day

YouTube viewers did not care about the inauguration on Wednesday, January 20. In fact, they registered their displeasure (H/T patriots.win, formerly thedonald.win):

Not many attended:

Freshman congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) observed:

By Friday, she filed articles of impeachment against him:

Tucker Carlson studied Biden’s inaugural speech:

On the one hand, he notes, Biden spoke of ‘unity’. On the other hand, he also spoke of a new ‘war’ on domestic extremism, which encompasses white supremacy. Tucker says that on the face of it, that’s great, until one drills down to see what it really means. He spoke of his own show, which started only a few years ago. Six months after it began, Tucker Carlson Tonight was labelled a white supremacist broadcast. Tucker and his young staffers were shocked. Fortunately, the furore died down and it went on to become one of Fox News’s best rated shows. Tucker concludes that it has to do with a belief in God, our Creator, who loves all of us equally, regardless of our race, creed or colour. By contrast, Tucker pointed out that Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung were atheists. People who believed in God were targeted under their regimes. Believers in God could be targets under the Biden administration for believing that we are all created equal.

The Conservative Woman featured Tucker’s video and commented:

IT WAS fitting, as more than one commentator has pointed out, that the only people at the Biden inauguration yesterday were politicians, journalists, rich donors and the Hollywood elite. The spectacle of the Clintons, Bushes and Obamas congratulating the new President spelt out two things:

A return to the swamp.

The President of which is a sick man, as everyone knows but no one is saying.

Except for Tucker Carlson.

Equally worrying in his important monologue is that the US now has a party in power ‘that is demonising half the country’.

After the inauguration, Biden wasted no time in signing a coronavirus mask mandate on federal lands.

Later, he and his family went to the Lincoln Memorial to remember those who have died from coronavirus. Note, no masks and no social distancing:

That night, there were fireworks:

The Bidens held a party:

That day, rioting broke out in some American cities. Those involved were not Trump supporters, but the usual anarchists. To Biden, they were an ‘idea’ during the campaign. Freshman congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) remembers:

In New York City, they attacked the Democratic National Committee office:

Portland demonstrators made it clear they did not like Biden:

The next day

On Thursday, January 21, Biden signed his first executive orders at a press conference. If true, shocking, but it does sound as if Biden is saying he doesn’t know what he’s signing:

More on the EOs below.

This is the sort of hardline questioning one can expect in the new administration:

Hundreds of comments followed the following video — all direct quotes from Biden during his 48-year political career and the campaign. Unfortunately, they are now unavailable as comments have been turned off. I remember when a court forbade former President Trump from blocking people replying to his tweets because he was a public figure. Hmm:

Biden was unimpressed with the AP’s Zeke Miller who asked about something other than Biden’s favourite flavour of ice cream. Biden short circuited the press conference then and there:

Kamala Harris was taken aback. Her:

body language was surprising. She looked almost frightened of Joe. Like a wife who walks on eggshells around her husband. The old bastard won’t relinquish power as easily as they thought.

Earlier, he made his support for Dr Fauci clear. Less clear was Biden’s own position. He still thought he was on the campaign trail:

Fauci’s line hasn’t changed:

This was interesting:

And did Fauci really say the following? I haven’t been able to find an original source, but it sounds plausible:

I TOOK NO PLEASURE IN CONTRADICTING TRUMP WHEN HE WAS IN OFFICE, NOR DO I TAKE PLEASURE CONTRADICTING MY PREVIOUS DECISIONS NOW THAT BIDEN IS IN OFFICE

Unbelievably, Fauci has worked in the same post for 37 years. Good grief:

Speaking of coronavirus, Biden’s press secretary quickly batted away a question from a reporter asking why the Bidens were not wearing masks when they commemorated the COVID dead at the Lincoln Memorial, despite his mask mandate on federal lands.

She didn’t care:

Coronavirus rules do not apply to the Bidens. They apply to YOU.

Also, hydroxychloroquine is suddenly okay. Remember when former President Trump recommended it last year?

Executive orders

Not surprisingly, Biden is quickly undoing former President Trump’s excellent and careful work for the American people:

A conservative British educator and political advisor, Calvin Robinson, agrees. He also criticised Biden’s call for unity, which, he says, will end with more division. You can see his concise talkRADIO interview below:

As Biden pledged during the campaign — whether he remembers it or not — he will be ending fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline:

It is hard to disagree with the next two tweets:

Juanita Broaddrick, who knew Bill Clinton during his time as Arkansas governor, is one of Trump’s biggest fans. She also predicts more bad news from the Biden administration:

It looks as if Biden fancies an international conflict, something happily missing from the Trump years:

Oh, yes, Jack, we are paying attention.

We also noticed:

Tucker Carlson has a superb analysis of those two measures and says flatly that they do not benefit Americans:

Then, there is the Paris Agreement. Trump pulled out of it and Biden has now signed back on.

Freshman congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) tweeted:

She believes that Biden wants to rule rather than work with the House and the Senate:

Wow, this is unbelievable:

Conclusion

I’ll end with this:

For once, words fail me.

Please pray for the people of the United States and the future of the Great Republic, partially restored by President Trump.

Church and state averypoliticalwomancomIn response to ‘Christian objections to President Trump’, the author of Pacific Paratrooper wrote in to ask:

Isn’t there a division of church and state?

The short answer is that the First Amendment protects religious freedom and prohibits the establishment of a national church and state churches. It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote of the ‘separation between church and State’ in 1802 in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. They were concerned about their tax money supporting the Congregational Church, the state church of Connecticut at that time.

There is more to the story, detailed below.

However, Conservapedia tells us that there was a constitution that had a division of church and state (emphases mine below):

A phrase close to “separation of church and state”, but used for malevolent purposes and expanded to name education, does appear in Article 52 of the constitution of the Soviet Union (1977): “In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.”[6]

The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Conservapedia makes the argument that the First Amendment has its origins in the Bible:

The protection for free speech was largely motivated to safeguard the preaching of the Bible. Several passages in the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, support a right of free speech, including Numbers 11:26-30 (Moses allowed free speech by declaring, “If only all the people of the LORD were prophets!”);[1] Mark 9:38-41 (admonition by Jesus not to stop strangers who cast out evil in his name).

George Washington’s farewell address

In his farewell address of September 19, 1796, George Washington said:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men & citizens. The mere Politican, equally with the pious man ought to respect & to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private & public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the Oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure–reason & experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Ronald Reagan’s address to the Alabama State Legislature

Nearly 200 years later, on March 15, 1982, Ronald Reagan addressed the Alabama State Legislature:

And I know here that you will agree with me that standing up for America also means standing up for the God, who has so blessed our land. I believe this country hungers for a spiritual revival. I believe it longs to see traditional values reflected in public policy again. To those who cite the first amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The first amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.

What Jefferson said

In 1801, a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut wrote Thomas Jefferson to ask about about their tax money supporting the Congregational Church, the state church of Connecticut at that time.

On New Year’s Day 1802, Jefferson replied, in part:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

Connecticut did not change this mandate until 1818. That year, their constitution finally stated:

Article VII. Section 1. It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates or their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed with, or associated to, any congregation, church, or religious association; but every person now belonging to such congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner hereinafter provided. And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights, and privileges; and shall have power and authority support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law, or in any other manner.”

Jefferson worshipped in Capitol building

Atheists are fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson and have adopted him as their secular hero. However, three days after Jefferson wrote his ‘separation between church and state’ letter to the Danbury Baptists (italicised emphasis in the original here, purple emphases mine):

he attended church in the largest congregation in North America at the time. This church held its weekly worship services on government property, in the House Chambers of the U.S. Capitol Building. The wall of separation applies everywhere in the country even on government property , without government interference. This is how it is written in the Constitution, this is how Thomas Jefferson understood it from his letter and actions, and this is how the men who wrote the Constitution practiced it.

Worship in the Capitol ended only after the Civil War. Therefore, it lasted for five decades.

Conservapedia provides more examples of Jefferson’s support of Christianity in government:

David Barton, Founder and President of WallBuilders, states that Jefferson voted that the Capitol building would also serve as a church building, praised the use of a local courthouse as a meeting place for Christian services, urged local governments to make land available specifically for Christian purposes, set aside government lands for the sole use of religious groups, assured a Christian religious school that it would receive “the patronage of the government”, proposed that the Great Seal of the United States depict a story from the Bible and include the word “God” in its motto, and agreed to provide money for a church building and support of clergy. And that like support of religion by the federal government militates against the extreme separatist position.[26]

The Bible and American government

Conservapedia tells us that God is mentioned in all 50 state constitutions.

Until the 1960s, the Bible had a pre-eminent place:

in government, jurisprudence [11] and in over 300 years of American education[12][13].

Every new president has made a religious reference in his inaugural address. Dwight D Eisenhower wrote his own prayer. Dr Jerry Newcombe compiled a list of all of these references for the Christian Post just before Donald Trump’s inauguration. (He, too, mentioned God — more than once.) Here are a few:

1. George Washington said, “It would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe….”

3. Thomas Jefferson prayed to “that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe.”

6. John Quincy Adams quoted Scripture: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in Vain.”

7. Andrew Jackson referred to “the goodness of that Power whose providence mercifully protected our national infancy.”

16. Abraham Lincoln stated, “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.”

24. William McKinley declared, ” Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers.”

25. Theodore Roosevelt thanked “the Giver of Good who has blessed us.”

32. Harry S. Truman referenced “that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God.”

Dr Newcombe rightly concludes:

The atheists are the Johnny-come-latelies. Demands to ban God and the Bible from the Inauguration should be denied.

Interpretation

It is not surprising that many Americans and other people around the world now think that Christians in the United States are being unreasonable when they lament that the Ten Commandments have been removed from county courthouses along with Christmas crèches on government property.

I grew up with these displays. No one ever had a problem with them, other than the occasional crank.

However, all that changed in the 1960s. In addition to Madalyn Murray O’Hair‘s successful case against school prayer which effectively banned it — along with Bible readings — in state schools, the Supreme Court under Earl Warren dramatically changed the way all of us view the First Amendment (emphases in the original here):

Jefferson simply quotes the First Amendment then uses a metaphor, the “wall”, to separate the government from interfering with religious practice. Notice that the First Amendment puts Restrictions only on the Government, not the People! The Warren Court re-interpreted the First Amendment thus putting the restrictions on the People! Today the government can stop you from Praying in school, reading the Bible in school, showing the Ten Commandments in school, or have religious displays at Christmas. This is quite different from the wall Jefferson envisioned, protecting the people from government interference with Religious practice.

Therefore, one could make the case that over the past 50 years, America has been drifting in practice towards a Soviet-style restriction on Christian displays, the Bible and prayer outside the home on government property.

If you think I am exaggerating, stories have been appearing in local newspapers and conservative websites over the past 12 years about teachers who have taken Bibles away from children silently reading them during lunch hour. There was an instance in Texas in 2003 I remember where the teacher took a child’s New Testament away at lunch hour and threw it in the wastebasket. He was not allowed to retrieve it.

In June 2016, WND published an article about a school in Palmdale, California, where a seven-year-old got his classmates interested in the Bible verses and stories his mother gave him every morning. The mother intended for her son to have religious encouragement during the day. She was not attempting to proselytise. However, the child was so thrilled by these verses that he couldn’t help but share them with others at lunchtime. It wasn’t long before his friends asked him for copies of the verses and stories. One girl who received a story showed it to the teacher, commenting on its beauty:

Then, however, C [the boy] was reprimanded by his teacher in front of the whole class, twice, and told to stop talking about religion or sharing his mother’s notes, and he went home in tears, Liberty Counsel said.

Even as the crowd of students asking for the after-school Bible notes grew, on May 9, Principal Melanie Pagliaro approached Zavala [the mother] and demanded that the notes only be handed out somewhere beyond school property.

With the school not satisfied with only the banishment, Liberty Counsel said, “a Los Angeles deputy sheriff knocked at the door of C’s home, demanding that C’s note-sharing cease altogether because ‘someone might be offended.’” …

The letter to the district said Liberty Counsel, “having reviewed the above facts, district policies, and applicable law, it is clear that the actions of the district staff in this instance, in prohibiting voluntary student religious expression during non-instructional time; then completely banning such student expression from school property entirely, and finally calling the police to report the same are simply unconstitutional.”

“These actions must be disavowed and reversed, to avoid liability for civil rights violations,” the letter said.

It gave the district a deadline for responding of June 1, which was ignored.

I think this will change — somewhat — over the next four years. While the Ten Commandments might not make a comeback in courthouses, Christmas crèches are likely to reappear. And teachers might start to lay off students sharing the Bible at lunchtime.

Tomorrow: Religious persecution and state churches in American colonies

Friday, January 20, marked the beginning of the Don of a new era for the United States.

As many have said, it is always darkest before the Don.

What follows are highlights of not only Inauguration Day but the whole weekend.

Far from being austere, as many of us expected, it was wall-to-wall activity from dawn to dusk!

Before the post unfolds, let’s remember that:

It is possible because Big Media are — and have been — plain contrary. That’s an archaic use of contrary, but, in that sense, it means stubborn and resistant to reason.

All credit to Bill Mitchell, he boarded the Trump Train just before or after the Republican National Convention. Even though he objected to Pepe the Frog, the unofficial Trump mascot, he duly apologised on Twitter. Pepe gained traction with Hillary Clinton, who even lambasted the cartoon frog in a campaign speech.

Bill Mitchell hosts and presents YourVoice™ Radio, likely to become more popular over the next four years.

Even more interesting is this quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, a big Trump supporter:

Thursday, January 19

January 19 was a busy day for the Trump family.

Flight from La Guardia to Joint Base Andrews

Donald Trump’s flight with his family, including his two sisters and brother, would be the last one he would take before becoming president.

Fox 10 Phoenix has a great video of the plane landing at Andrews. The interesting bit starts at 10:55 when someone on board tells ten-year-old Barron to leave the plane first. Not surprisingly, Barron, unusually wearing his hair over his forehead, is reluctant. The future first couple disembark at the 13:00 point. The extensive motorcade departs at 17:07, complete with a first-responder truck and an ambulance. The black Chevy Suburban vans are reinforced just like armoured cars:

Inauguration Luncheon

Once in DC, the Trumps went to the Trump International Hotel (The Old Post Office), where the incoming president held an Inauguration Luncheon to honour Republican Party leaders:

Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial

That afternoon, the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration took place in front of the massive — and grand — Lincoln Memorial, which is considerably larger than one imagines. Seeing it in person is awe-inspiring.

A variety of musical acts, including splendid military bands, performed. Trump gave a speech before a display from Grucci Fireworks ended the event in the early evening. Unfortunately, the last two displays let the whole thing down. ‘USA’ appeared as ‘USR’ and the American flag was, sadly, a blur. It is a pity, because their fireworks show before that was excellent.

This short video from Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media, gives a great summary of the event, including the fireworks. From left to right are Tiffany Trump (mother is Marla Maples Trump), Ivanka (Ivana Trump), the first couple, granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter), Donald Jr (Ivana) with his wife Vanessa and son, then to the far right, Eric (Ivana) and his wife:

The first couple contemplated the larger than life statue of Abraham Lincoln:

The event ended with the new first couple thanking their supporters. Never mind the sentiment from a Twitter user. I wanted to show you just how ‘yuuge’ Lincoln’s statue is:

The Daily Mail has a comprehensive article, complete with photos and a video, about the concert and Trump’s address at the end, just before the fireworks.

Interestingly, Trump had a special meeting afterwards with a 23-year-old single father, Shane Bouvet, from Illinois who had given an interview to the Washington Post just days before. Trump saw the article and made sure he could meet the man, who is struggling to make ends meet. The billionaire had a private conversation with Bouvet and gave him a cheque for $10,000.

Campaign donors dinner

However, the evening had only just begun. A dinner to thank campaign donors took place afterwards at DC’s majestic Union Station. Both the Trumps and the Pences attended and addressed their guests.

Mike Pence opened his remarks by saying the administration would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump (2:59) said that choosing Mike Pence was one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He then went on to talk about the amazing election results where Republicans won in states they had lost forever. He mentioned Iowa. They had not won there since 1952. He then spoke about his cabinet nominees. The high point, however, was when he thanked Kellyanne Conway (18:28), the first successful female presidential campaign manager in American history. (I don’t understand what these feminists were protesting at the weekend in DC. Surely, Kellyanne’s success and the many women employees at the Trump Organization prove them wrong.)

Then it was time to turn in for some rest. The Pences returned to their house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which they rented and moved to soon after the election.

The first couple and family members spent the night at Blair House, a complex of four buildings for guests of the president.

The photo below shows Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner at Blair House. Kushner will play a principal role as a presidential adviser. Both are practising Jews. Ivanka converted before her wedding. Kushner recently gave up holdings in his family real estate firm to be able to take on his new role:

Inauguration Day

Early in the morning, preparations for the inauguration ceremony began.

Meanwhile, Bikers For Trump were arriving in Washington, DC to form ‘a wall of meat’ in case the new president needed protection. Days earlier, Clinton family friend Dominic Puopolo, 51, was arrested by Miami Beach police for saying that he would be at the inauguration to ‘kill President Trump’.

This photo shows Donald Trump ready to leave Blair House in Washington, DC early in the morning of January 20. Trump’s granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican Party, are to the right of Trump:

Church service

From there, it was on to a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church (Episcopal) — known as the Church of the Presidents — in Lafayette Square, near the White House. The rector, the Reverend Dr. Luis León, greeted the first couple in front of the church.

They were joined by family and prominent well wishers. The first couple are on the far left centre of the photo. The Pences are in the lower left-hand corner:

The aforementioned Pastor Jeffress delivered the sermon:

Meeting at the White House

The first couple left St John’s for the White House, where they had coffee with the Obamas:

Melania Trump gave a large gift from Tiffany & Co to Michelle Obama. Presenting a gift is a tradition from an incoming first lady to a departing one.

Afterwards, it was on to the Capitol building for the swearing-in ceremony:

Inauguration ceremony

Trump quipped at the donor’s dinner the night before that he didn’t care if it rained on Inauguration Day, because at least people would see that his hair was real!

The incoming president awaited his cue inside the Capitol building:

All living former presidents are invited to attend the inauguration and are seated near the front. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn, William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary and George W Bush (Bush II) and Laura were in attendance.

George H W Bush (Bush I) and Barbara sent in their acceptance but were hospitalised days earlier. On Tuesday, January 10, he sent Trump a cordial, witty letter of regret.

Although Bush II tweeted the following earlier, at the swearing-in ceremony, he joked ad nauseam with the Clintons, seated next to him and Laura, signifying to the television viewer that he was closer to them than to Trump, his fellow Republican. But we all knew that the Bushes were NeverTrumpers because they said so.

Despite Trump’s sincerity, here’s the hypocrisy of it all. Dan Scavino Jr, rightly, took it sincerely. Then, the live coverage rolled and something else entirely was on display. Trump, no doubt, expected something different based on this (Bush I was the 41st president, by the way):

These were the prayers offered before the inauguration by clergy who were principal Trump supporters:

The Revd Franklin Graham did not hesitate to say there is only one God:

Please note:

Here is the swearing-in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The first couple’s son, Barron, 10, is to the right of the first lady. She held two closed Bibles, the Lincoln Bible (bottom) and Trump’s own, a gift from his mother (top):

Entertainment Weekly reports that Trump’s inauguration received the second highest television ratings for that event. Top-rated was Obama’s first swearing-in, which 37.8m Americans watched in 2009. Trump’s audience was 30.6m. However, Heavy points out that, in 1981, 41.8m people watched Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. That places Obama in second place and Trump in third. Definitive online viewing figures are unavailable at this time.

Important lines from the inaugural speech included the following. First, on the elites, several of whom were present. Politico reported:

“Their victories have not been your victories,” he said. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.” He also made a promise: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

Also these (see here, here and here):

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

The closing lines were the following:

To Americans: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. Your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again – and yes, together, WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

However, most important were Trump’s mentions of God, including:

We will be protected by God.

You can view the full speech here or here. You can find the transcript here and here.

WND‘s Garth Kant wrote of the contrast between Trump and his predecessor with regard to the inauguration speech:

Trump mentioned himself just three times in the 1,400 words he delivered in his speech lasting 16 minutes and 20 seconds. He referred to the American people 45 times.

By comparison, Obama, as is his wont, mentioned himself 207 times in 84 minutes while campaigning for Hillary during a November speech ostensibly about her.

And, to make sure it was crystal clear that there has been a sea change not just in style but also in substance, Trump emphatically uttered the Obama administration’s three forbidden words: “radical Islamic terrorism,” which, he promised, “we will eliminate from the face of the earth.”

Kant channelled JFK’s Camelot:

However, the speech wasn’t just about ending American erosion. It was about a bright new beginning. Just as did Kennedy, Trump envisioned a promising future. One in which:

“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.

“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”

One could arguably call it Kenndyesque.

Kant was most complimentary of the first daughter but couldn’t say enough about the new first lady:

This was grace personified.

A stately, poised, and stunning elegance were certainly part of it. But there was more. It wasn’t just what she was wearing. It was her bearing. Her perfectly poised demeanor.

And the crowd could clearly sense it, even if they could no more articulate it than to say “wow” over and over, which was what so many were doing.

She was a regal presence.

There was nobility.

Not because of her new station in life, but because of her carriage. The way she carried herself. Full of poise and grace.

Congressional Lunch

Before lunch, President Trump had work to attend to at the Capitol, signing his cabinet nominations into law. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R, WI) is standing next to Barron. At the front are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) and, on the right, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):

Trump spoke at the lunch and was gracious enough to publicly acknowledge his opponent Hillary Clinton, present with Bill. Trump’s daughter Tiffany sat at their table. You can see all the speeches here.

The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) once again lent their Eagle Lectern for use at the luncheon.

Inaugural parade

The Trumps walked for two minutes in the inaugural parade:

After the walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, the motorcade drove up to the White House, where the Trumps, Pences and family members disembarked and walked to the reviewing stand.

Barron probably found the two-hour event overwhelming at times (I would have), but he enjoyed himself:

The military bands played and marched past, as did a myriad of high school and university bands and special groups representing American history and service.

One of the those groups was the Navajo Code Talkers. Only two were able to make it to the parade. One of my readers, the author of the Pacific Paratrooper blog, wrote about their invaluable role in the Pacific during the Second World War. Well worth a read.

The Talledega College Marching Tornado Band from Alabama participated for the first time. Talledega is an all black college founded by two former slaves after the Civil War. Their band director received threats when he said the college wanted to perform in the parade. Since then, they have received more than $1m in donations which will be dedicated to the band’s needs. Talledega are a special band, because the college has no football team, so they rely on band contests and big parades such as this.

The full video of the parade is below. New York Military Academy, Trump’s alma mater, are at 2:03. Talledega are at 2:09. The Navajo Code Talkers are at 2:14. Virginia Military Institute closed the parade.

But, for Barron, the big highlight was the Rural Tractor Brigade (2:22:00), magnificently souped up. Look at his face (2:23:00). He beams and says, ‘Yesss!’ At 2:24:00, it looks as if Mike Pence sees the lad’s enthusiasm. He probably thought, ‘We’ve got to get him to Indiana for a tractor ride!’ (Separate tractor video here.)

After the parade

President Trump was eager to do some work before attending the evening’s events:

The Daily Mail has more.

Inaugural balls

The president and first lady — and the Pences — attended three inaugural balls.

Two took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The other was held at the National Building Museum.

Donald Trump Jr, his wife Vanessa and daughter Kai were ready to go:

This video shows President Trump and First Lady Melania at one of the balls dancing to My Way:

At the Armed Services Ball, the Trumps and Pences danced with military personnel (starts at 2:21):

There was also a magnificent cake for all to enjoy:

You can read press pool reports here and here.

First lady and first daughters attire

Melania Trump’s stunning inauguration outfit was a Ralph Lauren creation.

The first lady co-designed her striking silk crepe inaugural ballgown with Hervé Pierre, former creative director at Carolina Herrera. This stunning creation will help him launch his own couture house.

Pierre told Women’s Wear Daily:

“It was an amazing experience!” he continued, noting that Trump’s contributions were technical as well as aesthetic. “She knows what she likes. Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”

Ivanka Trump’s sparkling gown came from Carolina Herrera’s fashion house. Tiffany Trump purchased her gown from a Hollywood design house, Simin Couture. Ladies will enjoy full size photos and the article in the Daily Mail.

Saturday, January 21

Newspapers from around the world featured the inauguration on their front pages.

Saturday was a day of prayer and work for President Trump.

Prayer came first.

National Prayer Service

The National Prayer Service was held at the National Cathedral (Episcopal) in Washington, DC.

It featured 26 religious leaders. Most were Christian. Others came from world faiths such as Judaism and Islam as well as more diverse groups, such as the Navajo Nation.

The following are short videos and photos from the service:

This girl, Marlana Van Hoose, was born blind and given only a year to live. The video below is from the service. She received a standing ovation afterwardsled by the First Lady!

Marlana is a committed Christian, firm in her faith. God has blessed her with a beautiful voice. She praises Him in song splendidly. She is yet another argument against abortion. May God bless her parents for giving her life and good, loving care.

In the next photo we see the Trumps and the Pences in the front row. May God bless them and keep them safe in the years ahead.

Sunday, January 22

On a lighter note, one of Trump’s grandsons feels at home in the White House:

Later, there was serious work to attend to:

The Conservative Treehouse has an excellent post on this group of people, most of whom hold no political office (emphases in the original):

This afternoon President Trump and Vice-President Pence participated in swearing in the White House Senior Staff.  These are officials who represent the office of the President.  For the first time in modern political history, these are mostly ordinary citizen staff members from outside public office….

…A representative staff of outsiders, reflecting a

representative government for outsiders… Forgotten no more.

President Donald Trump has only selected a group of 30 people for commission to act as officers of the President and representatives of the White House.  Together with their families, the official ceremony to pledge an oath to their office took place this afternoon.

Then:

Like millions around the world, I am praying in thanksgiving for the new president’s safe inauguration. We were very worried something would prevent it from taking place.

Now we look ahead, remaining prayerful for success.

How blessed America is! How blessed the world is!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.                      2 Chronicles 7:14

In His infinite mercy, God heard our prayers and acknowledged our repentance by giving us Donald Trump. Those were words I never thought I would write, yet, here we are.

Yesterday’s post looked at Dwight D Eisenhower’s two inaugurations in 1953 and 1957.

Today’s explores John F Kennedy’s inauguration on January 20, 1961. To date, he is the only Roman Catholic to have ever been president. He was the youngest man to ever be elected president, aged 43. There are more firsts below.

In his farewell address, Eisenhower spoke of the ‘unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex’ (8:55):

We still do not know whether the military-industrial complex was involved in Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, but it was a very sad time for millions of Americans.

This is the measured interview Eisenhower gave on that fateful occasion. It’s only five minutes long and well worth watching. Note how he evades sensational questions from the media:

It should be noted that the reference to Kennedy’s presidency as Camelot came after his brutal death. His widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (later Onassis), came up with it. Camelot was her favourite musical. It was written by one of her late husband’s classmates at Harvard, Alan Jay Lerner.

Weather

Kennedy was not as fortunate as his predecessor for inaugural weather.

A strong nor’easter blew through Washington, DC — as well as much of New England and the mid-Atlantic states — on January 19. It was a Category 3 — major — storm.

In Washington, temperatures were cold: 20 °F (−7 °C). A total of eight inches of snow fell that day. Travel was severely disrupted, preventing Herbert Hoover from attending the inauguration.

Prospects looked grim for the Inauguration Day parade, however, Wikipedia states that clearing the snow began as soon as possible:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was put in charge of clearing the streets during the evening and morning before the inauguration, and were assisted by more than 1,000 District of Columbia employees and 1,700 boy scouts.[6] This task force employed hundreds of dump trucks, front-end loaders, sanders, plows, rotaries, and flamethrowers to clear the route.[6] Over 1,400 cars which had been stranded due to the conditions and lack of fuel had to be removed from the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue.[6]

Inauguration ceremony

On the morning of January 20, Kennedy attended Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church near his home in Georgetown.

Afterwards, he made his way to the White House to have coffee with the Eisenhowers and the Nixons.

Once the ceremony began at the Capitol building, the invocation and prayers took a total of 28 minutes. Cardinal Richard Cushing gave a 12-minute invocation. Additional prayers were given by Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Revd Dr John Barclay of the Central Christian Church in Austin, TX and by Rabbi Nelson Glueck. He gave the blessing.

The internationally renowned black contralto Marian Anderson sang The Star Spangled Banner, as she had done for Eisenhower in 1957. Although the new president mouthed the words, he neglected something which raised the ire of a television viewer (emphases mine below):

Kennedy could be seen mouthing the words to the second verse, but that was not good enough for Eugene Hunt, of Dallas, who sent a telegram to the White House that day demanding to know: why wasn’t your hand over your heart during the playing of the star-spangled banner? Some things never change.

Leonard Bernstein of West Side Story fame composed a special piece called Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, which was then played.

Kennedy’s was the first inauguration to be televised in colour. It was also the first to feature a poet.

After Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as vice president, Robert Frost recited a special poem which Kennedy had asked him to compose for the occasion. Unfortunately, the 86-year-old had a difficult time reading it because of the glare from the sun on the snow. Johnson tried to shield the glare with his top hat, but Frost rejected his help. Realising that time was of the essence, Frost instead recited his famous poem The Gift Outright. He later gave his handwritten inauguration poem to Stewart Udall, the incoming Secretary of the Interior, with a request for him to type the text. Udall duly obliged. These are the closing lines from For John F. Kennedy His Inauguration which aptly sum up the mood of much of the nation at that time:

The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday’s the beginning hour.

Kennedy took his oath of office on a closed family Bible.

He gave his famous inaugural address which was only 1364 words long and took just under 14 minutes to deliver. The whole world knows lines such as the following:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

With that responsible outlook, I doubt Kennedy would have been allowed to be a Democrat today.

He and speech-writer Ted Sorenson crafted the address with input from close friends of the president.

This line was nearly identical to the one suggested by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith:

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

This one came from a suggestion by Adlai Stevenson II (Eisenhower’s Democratic rival in 1952 and 1956):

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

Kennedy took office at the height of the Cold War. Echoing Eisenhower’s warning in his aforementioned speech, he talked about the dangers of combining an escalating arms race with nuclear power. In another nod to his predecessor, who advocated helping other nations in constructive ways, Kennedy said he would maintain good international relations and help the impoverished in less fortunate nations.

Kennedy was also keenly aware of civil rights. A Vanity Fair article from 2011 has a fascinating account of the inauguration, complete with interviews with people who were there. On this topic:

Harris Wofford, Kennedy’s civil-rights adviser, was listening intently to see if any of the language he and his colleague Louis Martin had suggested to reflect concern for civil rights had made it into the final draft. Six crucial words had. As Kennedy proclaimed himself “unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today,” he added the phrase “at home and around the world.”

“I was very happy he’d put it in,” Wofford, now 84, recalls. “And it made a considerable difference with the civil-rights constituency …”

Now onto a more mundane topic: hats. I wrote that Eisenhower traded the top hat for a homburg. Kennedy reverted to the more traditional silk top hat on Inauguration Day.

However, in everyday life, Kennedy went hatless. American men followed his example. For this reason, Kennedy was said to be the man who put paid to the hat industry. It might have been true. LBJ also eschewed hats, including at his inauguration in 1965.

Parade

The weather remained bitterly cold. Despite that, the inaugural parade was three hours long!

President Harry Truman joined the new president and first lady on the reviewing stand. Former first ladies Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt were also present. Wikipedia tells us:

Sixteen thousand members of the US armed forces marched with displays of modern weaponry like the Minuteman missile and the supersonic B-70 bomber. A further sixteen thousand marchers were civilians ranging from federal and state officials to high school bands and Boy Scouts, accompanied by forty floats.[43]

In more recent inaugurations, floats have not made an appearance. More’s the pity. I used to enjoy them as a child. Many other people did, too.

Inauguration Day newsreel

This seven-minute newsreel gives an excellent summary of events, complete with subtitles:

Kennedy’s image

After eight years of Eisenhower, Kennedy marked a big change in the presidency. As stated above, he is still the youngest to have been elected to that office. Furthermore, his predecessor was, at that time, the oldest to leave the White House. He was 70. It is interesting that Donald Trump has just been sworn in at that age. Reagan is currently the oldest president to leave office. All being well, Trump will surpass him.

The American public were highly aware that Eisenhower was a general during the Second World War while Kennedy was serving on a PT boat.

ABC News provided an interesting retrospective on Kennedy in 2011, the 50th anniversary of his inauguration. The article, complete with video, tells us:

Those close to him also remember him as an amiable, funny president, a marked departure from his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“President Kennedy, the first time he met you he asked your name and he never forgot it. The second time, he asked your wife’s name and your children’s names, and he was personable with the agents and very much a free spirit compared to President Eisenhower,” said Gerald Blaine, a Secret Service agent in Eisenhower and Kennedy’s security detail and co-author of the “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence.”

“It was such a contrast because he was so young and was totally different.”

Kennedy also brought youth and intrigue to the White House. His fashionable and glamorous wife, Jackie Kennedy, and two young children, captured the fancy of Americans in a way that no other first family had done before.

To have that after the years of Eisenhower and Truman and Roosevelt, suddenly to have this young energetic family was just a complete shot of adrenaline into the city, and tons and tons of young people came to town to participate in government,” [reporter Cokie] Roberts said.

The ABC article explains that Cokie Roberts was a college freshman at the time and, because of the weather, couldn’t make it to the inauguration. However, she has been a reporter ever since I can remember. So have other news broadcasting veterans such as CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who appeared during the 2016 election to offer his opinion and a historic perspective.

Although Schieffer was working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during Kennedy’s presidency, his career evolved on the day of the assassination in Dallas. A woman who asked him for a ride to the scene turned out to be Marguerite Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. Through her, he also met Oswald’s wife Marina. The scoops kept coming and coming that day and he received his first major journalistic recognition. Later, he was promoted to the Star-Telegram‘s television station. He joined CBS in 1969.

It’s also worth noting that Kennedy’s Peace Corps attracted no end of volunteers, hopeful that they could effect positive change in the poorest countries.

Jackie’s image

Jackie Kennedy captivated not only the international media but millions of women around the world.

Not many people alive today know that on Inauguration Day she was still recovering from the caesarian birth of her son John, born late in November 1960. As a result, Kennedy attended several events before and after the inauguration on his own.

The following interview, which Jackie gave two months after the inauguration, gives us a glimpse into this young first lady, only 30 years old. On the one hand, she has a breathy, girly voice. On the other, she clearly understands art, antiques and the history of the White House. She tells the interviewer, Sandur Vanocur (another household name of the day), that she would like to make ‘a museum’ out of what she rightly called the people’s house. He asks her why there are so few antiques. She tells him that the first pieces were destroyed in the War of 1812. Subsequent presidents auctioned off furniture at the end of their terms. It was only in 1902 that Theodore Roosevelt put a stop to the practice (1:50):

On February 14, 1962, she gave an update on her work, which comprised an hour-long documentary. Her voice is less breathy, now velvety smooth. Her hairstyle and attire also changed. Enjoy this tour, complete with old photographs as well as antiques:

Inaugural balls

John F Kennedy attended all five inaugural balls. Because of her poor health at the time, Jackie only made it to two.

Business Insider has a photo of her with the president looking captivating in a gown and cape she co-designed with the designer. Melania Trump did the same in 2017.

Jackie wore the gown not only to the inaugural balls on January 20 but also to one held the night before, given by Frank Sinatra and actor Peter Lawford, John Kennedy’s brother-in-law. Both were members of the Rat Pack, who were closely associated with the Kennedys, much to the chagrin of pious Protestants.

Kennedy’s father, Joseph, also held a ball that night, which his son attended. Jackie did not, again, for health reasons.

Sinatra’s ball was considered one of the biggest parties ever held in Washington. It was held at the DC Armory, the prime venue for inaugural balls. Sinatra recruited big celebrities of the day and tickets were priced to garner as much money as possible to pay off the debt of the Democratic Party campaign. Wikipedia says:

With tickets ranging from $100 per person to $10,000 per group, Sinatra hoped to raise $1.7 million ($13.6 million in today’s dollars) for the Democratic Party to eliminate its debt brought on by a hard-fought campaign.[3][4]

Vanity Fair notes:

It was an only-in-America blend of high culture and low comedy, of schmaltz and camp, and it may have marked the moment when popular entertainment became an indispensable part of modern politics.

Quite possibly. Carl Anthony at carlanthonyonline.com writes in  ‘Inauguration Swinging-Sixties Style: LBJ’s Big Day, 1965’ that Lyndon Baines Johnson had many celebrities at his inauguration celebrations.

Returning to Sinatra’s ball, Vanity Fair says:

The bill was thoroughly integrated. Five of the two dozen performers were black: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Mahalia Jackson, Nat King Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The magazine gives us yet another first for Kennedy’s inauguration. On January 20:

J.F.K. would become the first president to dance with black women at an inaugural ball.

Celebrities

I cannot think of an inauguration that had as many well known people in such diverse fields as Kennedy’s.

At the inauguration ceremony, Robert Frost was not the only poet in attendance. Carl Sandburg was also there. Authors John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway attended. Artist Mark Rothko showed up. So did Mr and Mrs T Reed Vreeland. If that name looks familiar, Diana Vreeland was soon to become the editor of Vogue, a post she held for many years.

Vanity Fair introduces ‘From That Day Forth’, their article on the Kennedy inauguration, as follows:

Washington was bracing for what became perhaps the biggest and best political party of the 20th century—a “gilt-edged, mink-lined, silk-hatted, 10-gallon, 100-proof” celebration, as a greenhorn Washington Post reporter named Tom Wolfe summed it up at the time. Everyone who was anyone in Democratic politics was there, or wanted to be. The president-elect and his elegant wife, Jacqueline, had made a special point of inviting not only the usual hacks and flacks but also a select group of scholars, artists, writers, and thinkers

That is what characterised not only the inauguration — more pictures here — but the short-lived Kennedy White House. I can understand why it captivated my parents and how these names first entered my consciousness.

Even though I was a little nipper, no White House has come close to matching the magic of the Kennedys’.

Coming soon: the Trump inauguration

A few days ago, someone commenting at The Conservative Treehouse posted a link to a detailed article about Lyndon Baines Johnson’s inauguration in 1965.

The article, at carlanthonyonline.com, is called ‘Inauguration Swinging-Sixties Style: LBJ’s Big Day, 1965’. Carl Anthony’s article is well worth reading and has plenty of photographs.

Although I was interested in the 1964 election at a very tender age with all its varied personalities and intrigue, by the time Inauguration Day came around, I had lost interest. I do not remember my parents talking a great deal about LBJ, whereas when John F Kennedy was alive, he and Jackie were frequent topics of conversation. They watched every JFK speech broadcast on television. They were also interested in the people around the Kennedys.

I’ll come back to LBJ later. Suffice it to say that Carl Anthony’s article got me searching for information on Eisenhower’s inaugurations for today’s post and JFK’s for tomorrow’s. I was particularly interested in minorities present, celebrities performing and the general tone of events. This is what I found.

Eisenhower 1953

Dwight David Eisenhower’s first term in office began on January 20, 1953. He succeeded Harry S Truman. (Incidentally, his middle initial never stood for anything.) Richard Milhous Nixon was his vice president.

The Second World War general intended to focus on peace and prosperity.

However, the Korean War had started in 1950 and would not end until July 1953. An armistice was declared on July 27 and peace talks lasted until November 1954, at which time the country was divided into its present-day North and South Korea.

Russia also posed a threat, unmitigated by the death of Josef Stalin in March 1953.

Inauguration ceremony

The Washington Post (WaPo) archives have an excellent article on what happened on Inauguration Day. Excerpts and a summary follow.

The weather was unexpectedly sunny and pleasant. But that was not all (emphases mine):

The greatest spectacle of the Inaugural—a mingling of consecration and carnival, of solemnity and celebration—was warmed not only by the sun, but by the good will of those departing from the political scene.

A moment after Mr. Eisenhower took the oath that raised him to the pinnacle of his career, Harry S. Truman, suddenly become a private citizen, reached over and shook his hand warmly.

Mrs. Truman kissed Mrs. Eisenhower who, but a little while before, was trying to hold back tears as her stalwart husband was being sworn into office.

Those were the days.

An invocation for the ceremony was given by the Most Rev. Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington.

Eisenhower, who became a Presbyterian that year, was sworn in on two Bibles: the Washington Bible from 1789 and his own West Point Bible.

The Washington Bible was opened to 2 Chronicles 7:14, which will be familiar to many Americans who prayed and meditated upon it in a national civilian prayer effort during Obama’s second term:

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

According to Wikipedia, Eisenhower’s West Point Bible was opened to Psalm 33:12:

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

However, the Eisenhower archives indicate it was Psalm 127:1:

1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.

After Eisenhower took his oath of office, he offered a prayer, which WaPo says he:

had written … a little while before in his suite at the Hotel Statler, between the time he returned from church and the time he started for the White House to join Mr. Truman for the ride to the Capitol.

The incoming president said:

My friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads. Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the Executive branch of Government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere. Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.

Eisenhower then gave his first inaugural address. WaPo tells us that he was interrupted by applause five times:

the first time when he said that the United States faces the threat (obviously that of Russia) with “confidence and conviction.”

Bartleby.com has the full text of the address, which is highly optimistic and, perhaps to us, surprisingly outward looking. After he spoke at length on faith, Eisenhower said:

Freedom is pitted against slavery; lightness against the dark.

The faith we hold belongs not to us alone but to the free of all the world. This common bond binds the grower of rice in Burma and the planter of wheat in Iowa, the shepherd in southern Italy and the mountaineer in the Andes. It confers a common dignity upon the French soldier who dies in Indo-China, the British soldier killed in Malaya, the American life given in Korea.

We know, beyond this, that we are linked to all free peoples not merely by a noble idea but by a simple need. No free people can for long cling to any privilege or enjoy any safety in economic solitude. For all our own material might, even we need markets in the world for the surpluses of our farms and our factories. Equally, we need for these same farms and factories vital materials and products of distant lands. This basic law of interdependence, so manifest in the commerce of peace, applies with thousand-fold intensity in the event of war.

A benediction followed, given first by the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Henry K. Sherrill of New York, followed by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland.

Afterwards, the diminutive internationally acclaimed soprano, Dorothy Maynor (1910-1996), sang the Star Spangled Banner. She was the first black to sing at a presidential inauguration: Harry Truman’s in 1949. WaPo said it was difficult to see her on the rostrum because of her height.

Maynor, incidentally, was the daughter of a Methodist minister and married a Presbyterian clergyman in 1942. By then, she had already earned two bachelor’s degrees and had toured the United States, Europe and Australia, often to sold out concerts.

Eugene Conley (1908-1981) followed with America the Beautiful. He, too, was an opera singer. A tenor, he performed with the New York City Opera then went to Europe where he performed in Paris, Milan and London. By the time he sang at the inauguration, he was appearing regularly on television.

Hats were of interest because Eisenhower eschewed the traditional top hat for a homburg. In deference to his choice, Truman also wore one. As for their wives:

They rode bareheaded, chatted amiably and waved to the crowds.

Congressional luncheon

Eisenhower established this tradition with this inauguration.

Parade

In the parade which followed, the Eisenhowers created a new tradition: riding in the same car together.

They rode in a white Cadillac with its top down.

WaPo tells us:

The cheering began on Capitol Hill and mounted the nearer the Chief Executive got to the White House. He waved at first, but as the noise grew in intensity he began to stand up to acknowledge the acclaim.

When they reached the White House, the couple went straight to the reviewing stand.

WaPo says that the parade lasted four hours and 39 minutes, possibly the longest of its kind in history. The sun had set by the time it ended:

President Eisenhower was in a gay mood at the White House, as he reviewed the Inaugural parade. At one point he submitted to being lassoed by a California cowboy named Marty Montana, who made good with his lariat after one nervous failure.

Approximately 750,000 people turned out to line the route on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Inaugural balls

As I wrote in my history of presidential inaugurations, the Eisenhowers planned on only one inaugural ball, as Truman had done.

However, demand for tickets was such that a second one was held.

An original invitation is currently on sale.

Mamie Eisenhower’s gown was pink, which became her trademark colour as first lady. Time has a picture of it and says the style indicates a move away from postwar austerity to opulent gaiety:

Mamie didn’t skimp on the rhinestones. Her pink peau-de-soie gown is covered with more than 2,000 of them.

The Eisenhower archives have more pictures of the balls as well as of the rest of the day.

Eisenhower 1957

January 20 was on a Sunday in 1957, so Eisenhower was sworn in privately in the White House that day.

The public ceremony went ahead the following day.

Inauguration ceremony

The Eisenhower archives tell us that the weather that day was not as nice as it was in 1953. Light snow fell in the morning. Flurries continued in the afternoon.

The Bible verse used for that occasion was Psalm 33:12:

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

This video shows Eisenhower being sworn in:

The internationally renowned black contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) sang at the ceremony. Anderson never joined an opera company and performed in concerts and recitals only. Her career spanned four decades — 1925 to 1965 — and she was well known in the United States and Europe. The YouTube video below shows the president standing to her right side:

Eisenhower’s address, in full at Bartleby.com, was about American prosperity and the Cold War. However, once again, he reminded Americans of the world beyond:

New forces and new nations stir and strive across the earth, with power to bring, by their fate, great good or great evil to the free world’s future. From the deserts of North Africa to the islands of the South Pacific one third of all mankind has entered upon an historic struggle for a new freedom; freedom from grinding poverty. Across all continents, nearly a billion people seek, sometimes almost in desperation, for the skills and knowledge and assistance by which they may satisfy from their own resources, the material wants common to all mankind.

No nation, however old or great, escapes this tempest of change and turmoil. Some, impoverished by the recent World War, seek to restore their means of livelihood. In the heart of Europe, Germany still stands tragically divided. So is the whole continent divided. And so, too, is all the world.

The divisive force is International Communism and the power that it controls.

Sadly, that is still true 60 years on.

Nonetheless, Eisenhower encouraged a continuation of optimism and a hope that the United States could help the world where it could.

Parade

The Eisenhower archives tell us that the parade was only an hour shorter than the one in 1953.

Once again, 750,000 people lined the route to witness the entertainment:

Marching in the parade were 17,000 people, including 11,757 in military service. There were 47 marching units, 52 bands, and 10 drum and bugle corps in the inaugural parade. The highlight of the parade was a mammoth float — 408 feet long and mounted on 164 wheels — which introduced the theme “Liberty and Strength Through Consent of the Governed.”

The Eisenhower children and Nixon girls stood next to each other, their fathers behind them in the reviewing stand.

The grandstands were extensive, accommodating 65,800 persons: 2,900 more than in 1953.

As he did in 1953, Eisenhower stood up in the car to wave to spectators:

Here are some of the bands and floats. Note that the spectators are integrated:

Inaugural balls

That evening, four inaugural balls were held.

This brief and blurry video shows one of them. Mamie Eisenhower wore a lace ballgown:

The Eisenhower archives have more photos of the day.

Although my late mother was a big fan of the much derided Adlai Stevenson II, Eisenhower’s opponent in both the 1952 and 1956 presidential campaigns, she was very happy with the retired general by the time he ran for re-election.

She said the Eisenhower years were a time of much happiness in the United States. Speaking personally, it seems that the nature of television shows reflected that optimism. Whatever one’s politics was, people seemed to share the same values and interests. There was no real division then. Admittedly, segregation in the South was still to be resolved, however, many blacks from that part of the country found employment by moving north to good jobs in manufacturing, particularly in the motor industry in Detroit. Therefore, overall, the Eisenhower years offered mobility and opportunity.

Tomorrow: John F Kennedy’s inauguration

As Inauguration Day is on Friday, January 20, what follows is a history of how the day developed and what happens when an incoming or re-elected American president takes his oath of office.

The date

As I was researching this topic, it was interesting to note that George Washington was sworn in at the end of April and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in January. Why?

In September 1788, once nine states had ratified the Constitution, March 4 was set as the day when the US government began operations. If March 4 fell on a Sunday, the swearing-in was done privately with a public taking of the oath on Monday, March 5.

By an act of Congress, elections were held in November or December starting in 1792. In 1845, the date was changed to early November.

George Washington was not sworn in until April 30, 1789. This was because of a bad winter.

From that point through the 19th century, extra time was needed to tabulate votes and for the incoming president and his administration to travel to the capital. The first time this became an issue was in 1860. History.com tells us:

the lengthy lame-duck period caused problems such as in the aftermath of the 1860 election when seven states left the Union during the long “Secession Winter.” President-elect Abraham Lincoln had no power to act, and outgoing President James Buchanan took no action, leaving the issue for his successor.

With the expansion of rail travel in the middle of the 19th century followed by the advent of motor vehicles in the early 20th, transport time was greatly reduced. Technology such as the telegraph and, later, the telephone made communications easier.

Incidentally, Rutherford B Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House:

The long delay between election and inauguration, once necessary, turned into a nuisance.

The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States scrapped March 4 in favour of January 20 for the president and vice president. Congress would begin their sessions earlier, on January 3. The amendment also has contingency provisions in cases where there is no president-elect.

Even this was problematic. History.com explains:

The 20th Amendment didn’t take effect until October 1933, after the long lame-duck period once again proved problematic. With the U.S. in the throes of the Great Depression, incoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to wait four months to implement his New Deal while uncertainty further roiled financial markets. January 20 first served as Inauguration Day in 1937 when Roosevelt was sworn in for a second term.

When January 20 falls on a Sunday, the swearing-in is held privately with the public inauguration taking place on Monday, January 21.

Inauguration locations

As Washington, DC was not yet designated as the nation’s capital the first presidents gave their inaugural addresses in either New York or Philadelphia.

In 1790, George Washington selected the area of land which became known as the District of Columbia, made up of parts of Maryland and Virginia. Columbia was the poetic name for the United States and was a well known term at that time.

Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, gave both of his inaugural addresses at the United States Capitol in DC, the location generally used for inaugurations, albeit with some exceptions. When renovations were being done on the Capitol building, James Madison was sworn in at the Old Brick Capitol building in 1817. In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was sworn in for his last term of office at the White House, possibly for health reasons.

Prayers

Although prayers have been a part of the inauguration ceremony since George Washington became the first president, they became more formalised in 1937, FDR’s second inauguration.

FDR began the tradition of a prayer service held on Inauguration Day prior to the swearing-in ceremony. Today, a national prayer service takes place the day after the inauguration at the National Cathedral.

Bible

A Bible has often been used when the president takes the oath of office. George Washington used one in 1789. We do not know if he used one for his second inauguration. Records are unknown for the next several presidents.

John Quincy Adams took his oath on a law book in 1825. Although Martin Van Buren was sworn in on a Bible in 1837, the trail goes cold for his successors until 1853, when Franklin Pierce used a law book.

Abraham Lincoln used a Bible for both his inaugurations.

Although there were some exceptions afterwards, mostly when vice-presidents assumed office after a president’s death, the Bible became more commonplace for the oath with Ulysses S Grant’s second inauguration in 1873. The tradition continues today.

Other daytime events

After the inauguration ceremony, a number of other events take place.

Congressional luncheon

A Congressional luncheon is held which the president, vice-president and their guests attend. This tradition began in 1953 — Dwight D Eisenhower’s first inauguration — and leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate are present.

Presidential procession to the White House

This tradition, started by Jefferson on his second term, involves a public procession down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

Presidents have walked or ridden in a vehicle. Weather and security issues determine both. Where more recent presidents walk, it is only for part of the way, because of security concerns.

Inaugural parade

With Jefferson’s second inauguration, a parade became part of the afternoon activities.

In Jefferson’s day, this was part of the procession to the White House. He was accompanied by musicians and shipmen from the Washington Navy Yard on horseback.

For the next few inaugurations, an open house was held at what was known as the President’s House.

By the time Andrew Jackson was inaugurated in 1829, so many people were at the open house. Over time, the public reception at the White House gave way to the parade.

By 1837, Martin Van Buren’s parade began the evolution of the event to what we recognise today. Horse drawn floats became part of the festivities. Ten years later, an official committee began organising the parades, something which continues today.

In 1885, Grover Cleveland was the first president to have a reviewing stand, primarily to review the military troops passing by.

1865, Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration, was the first year when blacks appeared in an inaugural parade. Women were not part of the parade until 1917. The 2009 parade — Obama’s second inauguration — featured the first openly lesbian and gay participants.

The parades sometimes last all afternoon. It is up to the incoming president to give his preference to the committee.

Inaugurations past and present

Mashable has a great collection of photos, invitations and videos of inaugurations from the 20th century. Don’t miss it. You will find it fascinating.

Enjoy reading five little known facts about earlier presidents in Dr Larry Schweikart’s article for Townhall.

Inaugural ball

The US Senate website has an excellent history of the inaugural ball.

George Washington’s sponsors held one for him and his wife Martha in 1789 one week after the inauguration.

However, it was only in 1809, that the ball became an inaugural tradition. James Madison took office that year. His wife Dolley hosted a gala event for 400 guests. Tickets were $4 each — a princely sum in those days.

In 1833, Andrew Jackson attended two balls. In 1841, William Henry Harrison attended three.

In the mid-19th century, ball organisers wanted one venue large enough to accommodate everyone. James Buchanan was inaugurated in 1857 and had one huge event in a temporary purpose-built ballroom:

Food purchased for Buchanan’s ball included $3000 worth of wine, 400 gallons of oysters, 500 quarts of chicken salad, 1200 quarts of ice cream, 60 saddles of mutton, 8 rounds of beef, 75 hams and 125 tongues.

The next two were held in government buildings: Lincoln’s (1865) and Grant’s (1869). Grant’s didn’t go too well, because the north wing of the Treasury Building didn’t have enough room for dancing. For his second inauguration in 1873, a purpose-built structure was erected as it had been for Buchanan. Unfortunately, that also was a disaster. The weather was so bitter that the decorative caged canaries froze to death. The guests were also inconvenienced by the cold. The structure had no heat and the supplies of hot drinks quickly ran out.

Between 1885 and 1909, balls were held in the Pension building.

In 1913, the tradition stopped and would not be revived until Harry S Truman’s inauguration in 1949.

Woodrow Wilson (1913, 1917) thought they were an expensive and unnecessary intrusion into the solemnity of the inauguration. Warren G Harding (1921) agreed to a large party for his inauguration. Calvin Coolidge (1925), Herbert Hoover (1929) and FDR (1933, 1937 and 1941 [none in 1945]) went down the charity ball route.

Following Truman’s example, Eisenhower planned on one inaugural ball in 1953, but demand for tickets was such that a second one was held. For his 1957 inauguration, there were four. John F Kennedy attended five in 1961. Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Nixon also had inaugural balls.

Jimmy Carter eschewed them for modest parties in 1977. However, Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy attended inaugural balls. In 1997, Bill Clinton attended an all time high of 14. George W Bush’s inaugurations were celebrated at eight balls in 2001 and nine in 2005. Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2001 had ten official balls.

First ladies and inaugural balls

Business Insider — of all places — has a great historical overview of first lady ballgowns and trivia. Ladies will particularly appreciate the full-size photographs of the gowns.

Controversy — Jefferson’s first inauguration

We tend to forget that election results have often been fraught throughout US history.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has a fascinating account of his first inauguration in 1801. In a strange parallel to 2016, Jefferson wrote during the campaign of 1800 (emphases mine):

our campaign will be as hot as that of Europe, but happily we deal in ink only; they in blood.” He said the nation’s newspapers were “teeming with every falsehood they can invent for defamation.”

John Adams ran for re-election that year on the Federalist ticket. He:

was labeled a monarchist; Vice President Jefferson was called an atheist; both candidates were declared enemies of the Constitution.

The electoral college provided no relief, either:

Adams was defeated but Jefferson did not win the presidency. Instead, he tied with Aaron Burr, his Republican running mate. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1804, would change the process for electing the president and vice president by directing the states to vote separately for each; in 1800, however, the fact that nearly all Republicans recognized Jefferson’s place at the top of the ticket counted for little. The election would be decided in the House of Representatives, where members of the Federalist majority worked to block Jefferson’s election by backing Burr.

Seen in that light, Donald Trump had an easy time of it.

It took 36 ballots over eight days in the House of Representatives before Jefferson had the majority of votes.

The same controversies we are seeing today were also present in 1800 and 1801:

The bitterly contested campaign and the drawn-out election process, plus the predictions of resistance to the new administration and whispers about the possibility of civil war

Jefferson took the opportunity to craft an inaugural speech about national unity.

He walked to the Capitol dressed simply in a suit. His predecessors, Washington and Adams, had put on finery and been transported by carriage. Jefferson preferred to look like ‘a plain citizen’.

The Senate chamber, where he took his oath of office, was packed. The moment was made all the more difficult because:

Noticeably absent was Adams, who had left town in the middle of the night. Jefferson was sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall, his distant cousin and a staunch political foe.

He gave his address, in part:

“Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle,” Jefferson maintained, and said Americans were, in truth, “brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”[4]Though few people actually heard Jefferson’s address, which one observer said was “delivered in so low a tone” as to be barely audible, the sentiments were not lost.

A spectator who was present, Margaret Bayard Smith, was highly impressed:

This day one of the most amiable and worthy men [has] taken that seat to which he was called by the voice of his country.

Afterwards, Jefferson had dinner, but not with legislators. He returned to the boarding house where he had been staying and ate with his fellow boarders. He lived there for two more weeks, until March 19, at which time he moved into the President’s House.

Donald Trump’s plans

Carrying on from Jefferson’s 1800 campaign, 2016’s was no better.

The New York Times was one of several media outlets publishing hit pieces on Donald Trump. On May 16, political pundit Charles Krauthammer told Fox News:

It looks as if the Times had 50 interviews, spent a lot of money and time, knew it didn’t really have a story, came out exactly with…a story that was nuanced, interesting, but there was nothing scandalous about it.

If this is the best that the Times and the press can do trying to create scandal around Donald Trump, it’s time to plan for the inauguration.

And here we are.

Trump appears to have taken another page out of Jefferson’s notebook. Washington’s WTOP radio reported in December:

The theme is very simple,” Trump inaugural chairman Tom Barrack told ABC News. “The idea is to have a cross cut of harmony of America and normal Americans that reflects on them, not on the power and prestige of this man.”

Trump is also cutting down the number of inaugural balls to three:

“The balls are kind of a confusing quagmire because the states themselves have their own celebratory events,” Barrack said. “We’ll have basically three balls. Two in the [Washington] Convention Center, one called the Commander in Chief ball, which is a traditional military ball. And then we’ll have a series of private dinners.”

It’s a stark contrast from recent inaugurations. Obama attended 10 inaugural balls and former President George W. Bush attended eight inaugural balls to celebrate their first inaugurations.

“This is a workman-like inaugural. This is not a coronation,” inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn said. “And you’ve seen some inaugurals in the past that maybe did seem like a coronation. Again, it’s every president’s choice. This president wants to get to work.”

The Commander in Chief ball will include guests from law enforcement, firefighters, other first responders and the military.

Just before Christmas, Trump tweeted:

Trump supporters agree, according to the New York Post:

The “blue-collar billionaire” will have a day that’s more befitting the working-class base that put him in the White House: one without fanfare or celebrities or fancy couture (although his wife, Melania, will most certainly be dressed to the nines). Call it the People’s Inauguration, one that celebrates the ordinary American, and that suits his fans just fine.

“They could have zero entertainment at the inauguration, and I really don’t think for one minute that it would matter,” said Leslie Rossi, of Youngstown, Pa., a state that shocked the nation when it switched from blue to red on Election Day.

Even before the election, the Trump International in DC was sold out:

Some lucky Trump supporters managed to get tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.

On January 14, Trump tweeted:

RSBN, which started in Alabama in 2015 and has now relocated to DC, will be providing a live feed of the inauguration. Knowing them, they will broadcast as much of the day as they can:

Newsweek has a full list of events from January 19 through to January 21.

The weather is looking less promising than it did a week ago, but at least the temperatures will be manageable.

Former undercover police officer James Copenhaver has a detailed analysis of what those attending should expect on the day with regard to security.

In Washington, DC the Deploraball is scheduled to take place on the evening of Thursday, January 19. The event sold out quickly. It will be the people’s celebration featuring many speakers as well as fun.

Unfortunately, it might also be a target of protesters and people who wish to do attendees physical harm.

On January 16, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released an undercover film made at Comet Ping Pong — hmm (Pizzagate) — about plans to disrupt it with butyric acid. The video tells us the event is being held at the National Press Building. A little butyric acid goes a long way. If such an attack is successful, the whole building would stink and guests with asthma or heart conditions could end up in hospital. Project Veritas has already been in touch with the authorities:

Americans who voted for Donald Trump are hopeful about his and his administration’s ability to ‘drain the swamp’. Washington, DC was built on a swamp, hence the term.

They are looking forward to an end to, as Trump put it during the presidential campaign, the ‘false song of globalism’. They are tired of the greed, the lies and the intrigue. Most of all, they are tired of seeing their standard of living fall, their children’s prospects damaged and the shrinking of the middle class.

Although Trump will not be appearing, this is why an event like the Deploraball is being held. There were three tiers of ticket prices, all of which were $500 or less. The cheapest one was well under $100. For those who cannot go, Deploraballs are being held across the nation. As their website says:

This was our election.
We emerged victorious.

I hope they have a great time in complete safety.

Janus was the ancient Roman god of beginnings and endings.

The Romans worshipped him at the beginning of the year. Early Christians worshipped underground at that time, which explains why January 1 has had special religious significance for over two millennia.

Janus was depicted with two faces, as illustrated in Wikipedia.

The month of January is named after him: closing the door on one year and opening the door to a new one.

In linguistics there are Janus words: those which carry contradictory meanings. Susie Dent, an English lexicographer and etymologist as well as the queen of Dictionary Corner on the brainy game show Countdown, explained in last week’s Radio Times (31 December 2016 – 6 January 2017):

Such words are usually known as contranyms: in other words, they have meanings that directly contradict each other, depending on the context. To “sanction” something, for example, can mean to authorise its use, but it can also mean to penalise it. To “screen a film is to show it, but to screen something from view is to hide it. You can be in a fix, but you might also be able to fix the same problem.

Mental Floss, among other websites, has more examples of Janus words.

Going back to January, this is the start of many endings and many beginnings which will take place around the world, starting in the United States on Friday, January 20. What timing. It will be a long weekend for a number of Americans who plan to take the day off and celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump, even if they do it from the comfort of their own home.

Washington DC will be a madhouse that day:

Newsweek has the full three-day schedule of events, which begins with a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on Thursday, January 19 and ends with the interfaith National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (Episcopalian) on Saturday, January 21.

Inauguration 2017 has more detailed information.

The parade following the swearing-in ceremony will be shortened this year. Trump is eager to get to work — and probably has a low boredom threshold — so it will only be an hour long. Similarly, there will only be three official inaugural balls that evening. The incoming president and first lady will appear at all three.

As is customary, past US presidents and their wives will be in attendance to witness the transfer of power. Although George HW Bush will not be present because of health problems, his son George W Bush and wife Laura will be there. Jimmy Carter is going. Bill and Hillary Clinton will also attend.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr will conduct the swearing-in ceremony at noon (Eastern time).

We are about to begin an exciting time which will reverberate throughout the world.

France, Germany and the Netherlands have elections this year, so it will be interesting to see what the Trump Effect will be.

Foreign policy will also change dramatically. We can look forward to a time of peace in that respect, as Trump prefers negotiation to conflict.

Furthermore, as I said two weeks ago, it will also be a time of great revelations with regard to the Democrat/Republican combine.

Stay tuned!  A new chapter of history is about to be written and we’ll be alive to witness it.

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