This inauguration creates a forest of “firsts.”
Most obvious is the national noise level. Spirited mass demonstrations greeting him in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere will feed the image of a nation still divided after Donald Trump won.
Boycotts and rebukes by members of Congress and rejections by celebrity entertainers aren’t normal either.
At 70, Trump becomes the oldest man ever to take the presidential oath.
And he’s the first from Queens. He’s the biggest surprise to come from the borough since the the 1978 Lufthansa heist.
After his election, Trump kept up his constant heat-by-tweet. His fans took this as a sign of exceptional candor and grit in the face of rivals’ attempts to undermine the legitimacy of his victory.
Usually by this stage the buzz has settled into milder bromides.
Polls show Trump to be less popular than other incoming president.
But the campaign showed the New York real estate heir to be invincible when confronted with questions about his character and business practices that would have knocked others down for the count.
Nobody can recall a major party candidate, let alone a winner, who blamed a judge’s ethnicity as the motive for a court decision. Or a president who publicly claimed the American election system was rigged — or who asserted he won a “landslide” after losing the popular vote.
But then, we’ve never had a president who built name recognition on a televised entertainment show. Or made use of a Twitter account to blast short, hair-trigger public messages without being subject to direct questions.
Although the late Ronald Reagan became famous as a movie actor, did serve as California governor before taking the presidential oath at 69. Trump comes fresh to the top elected office without having served in a lesser one. Dwight D. Eisenhower hadn’t been elected before 1952, but was, of course, a U.S. Army general who served as supreme allied commander in Europe during World War II.
Try finding another president who casually fed conspiracy theories — from “birtherism” to hidden vaccine dangers to a climate science “hoax” to rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s father somehow playing a role in the Kennedy assassination.
Trump even insisted President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “founded” the ISIS terrorist organization. While few thought he could be speaking literally, he never fully explained or defended the statement.
That, too, marked some kind of “first.”
In the end, a lack of predictability may prove to be Trump’s special edge — or his special handicap.
Suspense alone should inspire many to hear what he has to tell the world on Friday.