By Dick Miller
WE.CONNECT.DOTS: Donald Trump wants to be known as the “President of Change,” but Friday’s Inauguration events come off the same as most other President, Governor or – for that matter – dictator of your favorite Banana Republic.
There are just more reasons to dislike inaugurations than to like them. That doesn’t even count the automatic one for the losing candidate and his/her supporters.
One impression – hard to shake – is that these events targeted supporters’ wallets one more time, offered more chances for the corrupt to buy some influence.
At the minimum, the events were another opportunity to repeat campaign pledges the winner had little hope of keeping.
Some of the smarter winners used the events to begin to scale back campaign promises. How often did we hear “On my first day in office I will repeal Obamacare” during the campaign?
Maybe Mr. Trump — not known for understatements – will announce – at the least – that he needs to postpone the Repeal because of unforeseen technicalities.
Inaugurations are usually where the “rubber begins to hit the road.” Reality sets in. Even we, the ever-docile voters, are more likely to pretend all along that we knew the Donald was talking through his …. .
One thing certain Friday. By the Washington Post’s count, Trump made 282 separate campaign promises during the 18-month run-up. He will not be able to re-promise them all.
The Donald should always be expected to break the mold. Just not on Friday.
Like past Presidents his Inauguration Committee has offered special packages to those who need to buy influence. We begin with the lowest price deal which would likely be more in the range of our readers.
For $25,000 you get two tickets each to the Victory Reception, Inaugural Concert and Fireworks, Parade, Inaugural Ball and Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony. The designated duo will also get access to daytime and evening hospitality and the Trump “official shuttle system.” Coffee and popcorn will still be available at regular prices.
Kick your check to $100,000 to get “executive priority booking” for two hotel rooms. You still must pay for the rooms with a four-night minimum stay, no special pricing and on a first-come, first served basis. You also get four tickets to most events and two tickets to the “Cabinet Dinner – an intimate policy discussion with select Cabinet appointees.”
Your participation gets more intimate at $250,000. Tack-on a “Ladies Luncheon” with the First and Second females. At press time, we were not certain if “First” was designee for Trump’s wife or daughter. This package also includes a Candlelight dinner for two with President-elect Trump and Melania Trump and Mike and Karen Pence.
The $500,000 underwriter package includes all the above, plus tickets to an intimate dinner with VP-elect Pence and Mrs. Pence.
Estimated donations to the Trump Inaugural Committee hit $90 million this past weekend. Funds raised that exceed expenditures are given to charities.
A $1 million commitment allows you double tickets to every event from the lower bracket. Other “exclusive” happenings include “leadership lunches” with House and Senate bosses since Republicans now control everything.
The Inaugural Ball – eight tickets available to seven-figure donors – is a black-tie affair and the Committee does not provide tuxedos.
Tickets to the “official inaugural ball” are priced at $60 for lesser dignitaries.
Some packets are probably discounted to ultra-wealthy Americans who donated to Trump’s campaign. Records to December indicated 18 ultra-wealthy donated at least $1 million to Trump’s campaign.
Co-chairs for Trump’s Inaugural Committee are Miriam and Sheldon Adelson. The wealthy Los Vegas casino owners each donated $10.2 million to Trump.
Even outgoing President Obama caved for his second inaugural. After his first victory, he limited inaugural donations to $50,000 and none could be from Corporations. For the 2013 swearing-in, the contribution amount and source restrictions were removed. His committee profits went to charities. Obama also paid for the White House Easter Egg hunts.
Bottom Line: Your writer served on some inaugural committees because he was a soldier for the Party. Still didn’t like them.
Not only were you asked supporters to open wallets one more time, but inaugurations in Washington and Harrisburg are held in the most miserable weather conditions.
Wasn’t until my second Gov. Shapp swearing-in that I became smart enough to stay in the hotel room while others shivered and froze.
At the first Shapp installation I didn’t understand why so many people hung out in hotel lobbies. Later I learned these people were job hunters hoping to be in the right place at the right time.
At the least, the swearing-ins should be held indoors. TV cameras help more of us witness the transfer of power.
That just did not satisfy my millennial son and his friends Ticked off after Bush 2 edged out Al Gore in 2000, Joe Miller and company drove to Washington, found front row “curb” seats on the freezing parade route.
That enabled them to demonstrate against the new President-elect as he sped past in his well-heated, comfortable limousine.