Washington set for inauguration: Ceremony to feature a ‘soft sensuality,’ as security is heightened and entertainers snub the event
Express News Global
Published: January 15, 2017
WASHINGTON, U.S. – With U.S. president elect Donald Trump’s inauguration looming on January 20, the list of speakers for the event has still not been locked down, along with a confirmation of all those who will attend.
Those, however, who will be in attendance are Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as George W. and Laura Bush, and Jimmy Carter at the country 58th inauguration ceremony.
The speakers confirmed so far are Inauguration Day religious leaders, who will be reading from scripture and leading prayers, and among them is Pastor Paula White, one of Trump’s top spiritual advisors.
Deputy Communications Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee Alex Stroman told NBC News “You’re going to see a shorter parade this year, probably about an hour and a half or so.”
“That’s probably a testament to this president’s willingness and eagerness to get to work for the American people.”
The day will begin with the customary morning worship service, followed by a procession to the Capitol, where outgoing President Barack Obama accompanies the president-elect.
Following this tradition, Mike Pence will be sworn in as vice president in the Senate chamber, followed by the president’s swearing-in ceremony on the west front of the Capitol building.
Trump as the new president then gives an inaugural address, after which he attends the inaugural luncheon, inaugural parade, and the evening’s inaugural balls.
The entire event could cost as much as $200 million, partially paid for by taxpayer money.
Thousands of people will descend on Washington to celebrate the swearing-in of the 45th president of the United States, in a parade, welcome concert, and a number of balls and galas.
Thomas J. Barrack, chairman of the Trump inaugural committee, confirmed that Obama has invited president-elect Trump and Melania to the White House for a coffee before the actual swearing-in and that they will ride together to the Capitol.
“The inauguration is going to be amazing. What we’re doing is trying to orient it toward the greatest tribute to America. The only peacetime transition of partisan power that ever happens this way. The focus for this president, since he is a celebrity, is really on the place, on the people. Martin Luther King Day is on Monday, which is going to be a great, epic start. There will be a series of events leading up to Thursday,” said Barrack.
Steve Ray, a Washington-based announcer who has worked with MLB’s Washington Nationals, will be the inauguration announcer.
Meanwhile, Washington souvenir shops and hotels are gearing for the inauguration. However, the mood is generally subdued.
“The mood is not as jovial, and there hasn’t been as much excitement as when Obama was elected,’ said one resident of the city.”I think a lot of people were taken aback in this area when Trump won.”
Trump’s job approval rating has dropped seven points to 37 percent over the past month, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University.
The president-elect’s favorability ratings are down seven points over the last 30 days.
The business tycoon who is soon to be president has already broken his own record for being the least popular president-elect in history. Respondents by a margin of 45 percent-34 percent believed that Trump would be a worse president than Obama.
Inauguration planner Tom Barrack told reporters on Tuesday that the ceremony will feature a “soft sensuality.”
“We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect; side-by-side is the current president,” Barrack said.
Barrack, a longtime Trump friend, said the president-elect instructed him to make the swearing-in “about the people, not about him.”
“So what we’ve done instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers, is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place. It’s a much more poetic cadence than having a circus-like celebration that’s a coronation.”
Barrack said the president-elect wanted his inauguration to be a unifying event and Trump would be “mostly abiding by tradition.”
“‘The campaign is over, I am now president for all the people,'” Barrack said, quoting Trump. “‘I want you to build a bridge and tie them back in. I was to heal the wounds and I want to get back to work on Saturday morning.'”
Barrack joked that his role in planning the inaugural event was the “worst job in America.”
“He gave the best job in America to all the bright people, he gave the party to me,” he said.
Trump was quoted in a New York Times report as saying, “We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars.”
Dress shortage lies
Ahead of his inauguration, the president-elect during an interview claimed, “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington,” due to what he forecast “perhaps a record-setting turnout for the inauguration.”
“We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars,” he said.
“All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration,” Trump told the New York Times during an interview following the 2017 Golden Globes, proof that his inauguration would be very well attended.
Media outlets who researched the claim found the opposite to be true, and sales associates and store managers also dismissed this claim.
“No one has purchased anything here to wear to the inauguration,” a Versace sales associate told The Daily Beast, adding that they currently carry “one or two” dress styles from the runway and have plenty in stock.
People magazine spoke to the owner of a DC-area boutique, who said, “There’s never been less demand for inaugural ballgowns in my 38 years.”
On Twitter too, the president-elect was mocked for his claim.
“The dress shops are all sold out” sounds like a line from a story I’d read as a child about the cruelties of kingdoms and classes,” one user posted, while another said, “KKK calls them robes not dresses FYI.”
A third user tweeted, “Seriously the man about to be our president lied about dress shops in DC being sold out of dresses due to his “huge” inauguration…”
The glitz and glamour
Several artists have turned down invitations to perform at Trump’s inauguration. Among them are Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and David Foster.
Former X Factor contestant Rebecca Ferguson said that she’d “graciously accept” an invitation to perform at Trump’s inauguration on one condition: that she be allowed to sing Billie Holiday’s famous song, “Strange Fruit.” The song is a condemnation of the lynching of African Americans in the 1930s.
Rapper Kanye West will also not be singing for the president. “No, No. Kanye and Donald are good friends,” Tom Barrack told CNN “Donald is a great admirer of Kanye, as we are all, but he is not performing at the inauguration.”
British singer Charlotte Church meanwhile tweeted, “Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye.”
DJ Moby wrote that he had been approached to DJ one of the inaugural ball. “I guess I’d DJ at an inaugural ball if as payment #trump released his tax returns,” Moby wrote on Instagram.
Meanwhile, some famous artists instead of attending the inauguration will hit the streets of Washington, D.C. on January 21 to participate in the Women’s March, such as Amy Schumer, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, America Ferrera, Debra Messing, the cast of Orange Is the New Black, Frances McDormand, Julianne Moore, Olivia Wilde, Constance Wu, and many more.
Those who will perform are Jackie Evancho, of “America’s Got Talent,” the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, country duo Big & Rich, the Radio City Rockettes and a country-rapper named Cowboy Troy who charted sometime around the mid-2000s.
The decisions by those groups to perform at the inauguration have however led to internal tension.
Several of the dancers that make up The Rockettes have opted not to perform. Similarly, some of the members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be staying home. And one member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Janet Chamberlin, has quit the group.
Other performers consist mainly of high school and college marching bands, according to reports.
Meanwhile, the president-elect has invited transgender celebrity Caityln Jenner to the inauguration and she has reportedly accepted.
With racial tensions high in the aftermath of an extremely divisive election campaign, police are concerned guns could make an appearance at the inauguration this year.
DC’s police department is particularly concerned that members of white supremacist groups and other radicals who backed the Republican in the run-up to the election may be carrying concealed weapons to protect supporters — and the president-elect himself — from protesters.
A Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Tuesday told BuzzFeed News the department is “aware of various groups planning on exercising their First Amendment rights. Although we do not discuss operational strategy or tactics, MPD is prepared to both protect the rights of individuals to exercise their First Amendment rights and ensure public safety.”
The spokesperson also warned, “If individuals or groups decide to act unlawfully, plans have been put in place to efficiently address them.”
The event could well likely be a security nightmare for law enforcement agencies.
In addition to the estimated 800,000 Trump supporters likely to attend the event, thousands of anti-Trump protesters are also coming to town, and while most protests are expected to be peaceful, there could be some random anarchist group planning to create mischief.
Also, there are plans by marijuana activists to hand out pounds of free weed to draw attention to the legalization movement. Local authorities, however, will probably turn a blind eye to the weed smokers.
Making marijuana-related arrests at counter-inaugural protests “wouldn’t be our first priority,” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
He added that city officials are “prepared for any and all circumstances,” and warned that anyone not participating peacefully will face consequences.
“We expected them to exercise their rights peacefully … and we’ll be prepared should anybody not,” Bowser said.