Thursday, 2 December 2021

Trump lands in Washington DC

Protesters, police scuffle

Protesters and Washington police scuffled Thursday night outside a meeting of pro-Trump conservatives, the first of several demonstrations aimed at disrupting the new administration’s inaugural weekend. Protesters gathered on 14th Street outside the National Press Club to demonstrate against “DeploraBall,” an event organized by some of Trump’s most fervent supporters. The name riffs off the campaign description of some Trump backers by his defeated opponent, Hillary Clinton, as a “basket of deplorables.” As attendees – some of whom were clad in suits and red hats, others dressed in gowns – entered the event, demonstrators chanted “Shame” and “Nazis go home” behind a phalanx of police. Some held signs that read “No Alt Reich” and “No Nazi USA.” Other protesters chanted against the “alt-right,” “fascists” and “Nazi scum,” though it could not be immediately determined who was attending the event. Some protesters could be seen setting small fires in the streets, though it was unclear what was set ablaze. A motorcycle was damaged on the street, and police could be seen pepper-spraying some protesters.

Washington waits

Meanwhile, the transition of power – from a Democratic president to a Republican one – has shut down much of Washington and left its thousands of political staffers in quiet anticipation. At the same time, President Barack Obama’s last boxes are being packed and his few remaining aides are preparing to move out as they enter their last moments hours of Obama’s eight years in the White House. Obama is spending the last full day of his presidency in the White House on Thursday, where staffers are saying their wistful goodbyes. “After six years here, walking through these doors for the final time,” White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz tweeted.

Confirmation battles

On Capitol Hill, members of the Senate are gearing up for an immediate battle over confirming Trump’s Cabinet picks. About seven nominees may receive confirmation votes Friday afternoon, after Trump’s inauguration, while Democrats are already looking to draw out the process with some of the picks, like secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson and HHS nominee Tom Price. Obama held his final news conference Wednesday – and his final interview was with a podcast run by a group of former aides, Tommy Vietor, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Dan Pfeiffer. In his final news conference, Obama offered an optimistic message as his party prepares to watch Republicans reverse many of its accomplishments from his tenure in office. “It is true that behind closed doors, I curse more than I do publicly, and sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does,” Obama said. “But at my core, I think we’re going to be OK. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted.” After Trump’s inauguration, Obama and his family will depart on one last presidential plane ride – to a vacation in Palm Springs, California. They’ll travel back on their own.

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