Your guide to Donald Trump's inauguration
Two years ago, months before Trump announced he would run for president, journalists were discussing Barack Obama's upcoming State of the Union address. A top Obama adviser said Republicans would be willing to work on the president's agenda — including raising taxes on the wealthy. (That did not happen.) Lindsay Graham set up a presidential exploratory committee. Trump tweeted 84 times on Jan. 19, 2015, largely retweets of other accounts.
Now, Washington is poised for a showdown few would have predicted 24 months ago. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to watch and celebrate Trump's inauguration. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are expected to protest on Friday and Saturday. Those actions kicked off Wednesday night with a queer dance party outside the D.C. home of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Demonstrators are clear: Their goal is to bring the inauguration to a standstill. That includes actions that will block entrances for ticketed inauguration guests, interrupting the parade, blocking traffic and generally bringing D.C. to a halt. The focus on disruption has led to death threats directed toward protest organizers. But those leaders tell Mic they remain resolute. (Mic)
This is Mic's daily read on Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you. Welcome to the political newsletter that can't believe it is Obama's last day. Want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox? Subscribe here.
— Today: It's the last day Donald Trump will not hold the nuclear codes.
— Confirmation hearings: Wednesday was busy. Read on.
— Up next: Steve Mnuchin and Rick Perry to lead Treasury and Energy, respectively.
— More: The Democratic congressional boycott of Trump's inauguration seems to have plateaued at about 60 members — nearly a third of House Democrats. (Washington Times)
— Where's Trump? Washington, D.C.
— 1 day until Trump is president.
On Thursday, Trump will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. In the evening, he will join a celebration at the Lincoln Memorial that includes musical acts. Protesters plan to disrupt the Welcome Celebration on the National Mall, as well as demonstrate outside the DeploraBall of Trump supporters at the National Press Club.
On Friday, protesters are planning to blockade several entrances to ticketed areas near the Capitol. While entrance to much of the mall does not require a ticket, closer viewing areas that will hold Trump's favored guests and the press require a pass. Assuming guests can enter the area in front of the Capitol, Trump is expected to be sworn in at noon on Jan. 20. The inaugural parade follows at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern from the Capitol to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump will then attend three official inaugural balls.
Meanwhile, protesters plan to march when Trump is inaugurated and continue resistance with rallies during the afternoon. Organizers have told Mic there are unannounced and unsanctioned actions that will occur throughout Friday that aim to disrupt the event.
On Saturday, the Women's March on Washington will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. The march, which could attract 200,000 people, will start with a rally near the Capitol. The march will begin at 1:15 p.m. The rally will coincide with Trump's appearance at a prayer service at Washington's National Cathedral.
What you need to know:
Trump's inauguration is not expected to deliver the party he promised: Venues remain unbooked, there are fewer balls and afterparty revelry will be at a minimum. (Washington Post)
Celebrities are coalescing for high-profile appearances around the Women's March in a way they are not for Trump's inauguration. (Mic)
Lawyers have provided resources to assist protesters who are arrested, detained or otherwise come into legal trouble during the next few days in D.C. (Mic)
Despite its scaled-down footprint, Trump's inauguration could be the most expensive in history, with a $200 million price tag. About half that could be spent on security, far more than at past inaugurations. Trump's inauguration fundraising machine raised nearly twice what Obama's did in 2009. (New York Times)
Trying to book a last-minute hotel for the inauguration or protests? Rooms cost as much as $2,000 per night. But there are some cheap ways to avoid sky-high lodging costs. (Mic)
Here is how you can watch the inauguration live. (Mic)
What really matters: Here's everything Trump can do with a stroke of a pen when he is sworn in. (Mic)
American Hopes and Fears
The day before Trump is sworn in as the nation's 45th president, Mic released video submissions from dozens of Americans talking about whether they believe a Trump presidency will hurt them. The responses are powerful. Watch them here.
Yesterday's hearings make a promise: We will cancel Obama's legacy
Three of Trump's nominees for top administration jobs ran into strong headwinds at Wednesday confirmation hearings. Tom Price, Trump's nominee to become secretary of health and human services, was grilled for recent stock transactions that had the appearance of benefitting him financially based on a bill he introduced in the House. Price vigorously defended himself, insisting nothing improper occurred. The Office of Government Ethics weighed in on Twitter, saying its role is "prevention" and it could not judge any comments Price makes about his actions.
Price also failed to provide many details about a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. He said individual states and patients would have more control in determining their health insurance, but did not explain how Trump's forthcoming plan would keep tens of millions of people insured. (New York Times)
Scott Pruitt stood his ground as Democrats questioned his environmental record and ties to the fossil fuel industry. The Oklahoma attorney general and Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency said that "we must reject the notion that if you're pro-energy, you're anti-environment." (The Hill) Pruitt said he did not believe climate change was a hoax, but he would not commit that humans are the primary drivers of global warming — on the day 2016 was declared the warmest year on record. (New York Times) Pruitt also said he believed individual states should have substantial responsibility in making environmental regulatory decisions.
A less contentious hearing featured Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor and Trump's pick to run the Department of Commerce. Ross will have a major role in shaping America's trade deals. He said America will be a tougher enforcer of existing trade laws, an attempt to placate senators nervous about Trump's anti-free trade rhetoric. (Wall Street Journal) He'll also have a role in how the U.S. approaches climate change; he'll oversee scientists who study global warming and have a say in pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. (Mic) On Wednesday, Ross dodged a question about whether he believes climate change is real. "I believe that science is science," he said, "and scientists should perform science."
Meanwhile, Nikki Haley painted a traditional Republican establishment view of foreign policy in her bid to become ambassador to the United Nations. She disagreed with Trump's statements that NATO and the U.N. are ineffective. She added that Russia "can't be trusted" and is guilty of war crimes. (Post and Courier) Her comments are a contrast to past statements from Trump and Rex Tillerson, Trump's nominee for secretary of state.
Gut check: Despite some controversy, all four nominees are likely to be confirmed. From the Washington Post: Trump's nominees face "the kinds of problems that have torpedoed nominees in the past. But it’s far from certain — or even likely — that any of Trump’s nominees will buckle under the political pressure."
Testifying today: Steven Mnuchin and Rick Perry. Mnuchin will be questioned about his role in the 2008 foreclosure crisis and how he would regulate Wall St. as treasury secretary. Mnuchin will also face scrutiny over a new report he initially omitted $100 million in personal wealth from disclosure forms. (Washington Post) Perry's knowledge of the Department of Energy and its role will be closely examined, as he apparently did not realize Energy is predominantly responsible for America's nuclear weapons — far more than its role regulating fossil fuels or other energy policy.
News and insight you cannot miss:
— Mike Pence said Wednesday that Americans should harbor no anxiety about losing their health insurance when the Affordable Care Act is repealed. He said Trump will reveal a replacement in the "early weeks" of the administration. (ABC News)
— From the Outline: Can Donald Trump open doors? A must-see video.
— What is next for Vice President Joe Biden? Drinking milkshakes and taking the train. (New York Times)
— Inside closing time at the Obama White House. (Associated Press)
— Trump has tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his nominee for secretary of agriculture. The pick is Trump's final cabinet nomination and comes a day before the inauguration. Trump is set to enter office with very few top administration officials in place. (Mic)