Donald Trump wants America behind him.
“For many years our country has been divided, angry and untrusting,” he tweeted. “Many say it will never change, the hatred is too deep. IT WILL CHANGE!!!!”
He tweeted that on Sunday, a day after he tore into Rep. John Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of his election. Trump went there again Tuesday, saying Lewis lied about never missing an inauguration before — he skipped George W. Bush’s 2001 swearing-in, too.
The count of Democratic House members who say they will boycott the inauguration Friday has passed 50, with many citing the attacks on Lewis as a tipping point.
New polls showed Trump has historically low approval numbers for an incoming president. That set him off, too, Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.
“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls,” Trump said on Twitter. “They are rigged just like before.”
On Wednesday the president-elect told Fox News, kept scrambling to save face. He told one of his more accommodating corners of mainstream media, that he hopes dignitaries skipping the inaugural "give me their tickets."
Trump predicted a “record” turnout for his inauguration. The National Park Service expects more than 350,000 protesters, Politico reported — “unprecedented numbers,” a spokesman said.
Obama's 'commute' passes
Obama stirred controversy with his latest commutations. One was for Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks leaker lifted from a 25-year sentence for releasing military and diplomatic information while a U.S. Army private.
Another: Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been serving time since 1981 on armed robbery, weapons changes and seditious conspiracy to violently overthrow the government as a member of FALN, the Puerto Rican Marxist separatist group responsible for the fatal Fraunces Tavern bombing in Manhattan. He'd been serving a 55-year sentence, last of those involved.
Hand on the Bibles
Trump will take the oath of office using two Bibles: one used by President Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration, and one he received as a boy from his mother after graduating from a church school in Queens.
The chairman of Trump’s inauguration committee, Tom Barrack, noted that Lincoln appealed to “the better angels of our nature” in the 1861 address. Lincoln’s Bible was also used by Barack Obama in 2009 and 2013.
Vlad stands by his man
Russia’s Vladimir Putin accused the Obama administration Tuesday of trying to “undermine the legitimacy of the elected president,” blaming them for leaking a “fake” dossier — the unverified allegations about Trump’s behavior on a Moscow trip in 2013.
Putin joked that Russia’s prostitutes are “the best in the world. But I doubt Trump took that bait,” given he was organizing beauty pageants and meeting “the most beautiful women in the world.”
The take-away: Wilbur Ross
When New York billionaire Wilbur Ross faces his confirmation hearing for secretary of commerce Wednesday morning, he may be asked to square past views and actions with those of Trump.
Ross has spoken against “China-bashing” on trade, favored more visas for foreign tech professionals, and his private-equity interests outsourced 2,700 jobs in auto parts, textiles and finance, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
Bracing for immigration changes
Trump is expected to deliver, as promised, a tougher U.S. immigration policy, including revved-up enforcement to deport those here illegally, coming first for those with criminal records, reports Newsday’s Victor Ramos.
There are as many as 99,000 people in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and 11 million nationwide, who are in the U.S. illegally, according to estimates by the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.
Diplomacy gets Trumped
Trump’s tweets directed at foreign powers, his skepticism of U.S. intelligence briefings and his aversion to honoring long-standing diplomatic protocols have already rocked an area of government steeped in decades of tradition and formality, writes Newsday’s Laura Figueroa.
He won’t be the first president to distrust America’s foreign policy establishment — so did Richard Nixon, says Thomas Alan Schwartz, professor of history and political science at Vanderbilt University. A key difference is that Nixon pursued diplomacy with secret back channels, not on Twitter.
Another day, another tweet-tiff
Trump on Wednesday tapped out a stream of objections to the idea that corporate pledges to add jobs weren't all his doing even before taking office. NBC News not only challenged that claim but also published a poll shortly after midnight that found most Americans disapprove of the president-elect's constant use of the social medium. NBC also broadcasts "Saturday Night Live," which regularly irritates Trump with Alec Baldwin's satirical potrayals of him.
What else is happening
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price may have broken the law with a stock deal.
- Protest-oriented Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to join an anti-Trump rally on Thursday in front of the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle.
- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will meet with the president-elect at Trump Tower Wednesday for the first time since the election, Newsday’s Yancey Roy reports. A source said the discussion would include infrastructure, Obamacare and “issues of importance to New York.”
- Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg met with Trump Tuesday and said they are “on the same page” about simplifying requirements for the next-generation Air Force One to cut costs.
- Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana — tapped to head the Interior Department — rejected the president-elect’s claim that climate change is a hoax, saying at his confirmation hearing that it is indisputable that human activity is major cause of environmental changes affecting global temperatures.
- Scott Rechler, a Long Island developer with progressive ties, was a middleman in Monday’s meeting between Trump and Martin Luther King III, writes Newsday columnist Randi Marshall.
- Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” who claims Trump made unwanted sexual advances, filed a defamation suit against him for publicly denying her claims.
- Those things Trump said he would do on “Day One?” That will be Monday, Jan. 23, not Friday, he said in his Times of London interview.
- Tuesday was the deadline for sealed bids on Trump’s first childhood home in Jamaica Estates, Queens, writes Newsday’s Michael Gavin. It was sold just a month ago to a real estate investor for $1,390,500.
- A typo in Trump’s retweet of praise for his daughter Ivanka directed his 20 million followers to a Brighton, England, woman named Ivanka Majic. In reply, she advised “more care on Twitter and more time learning about #climatechange.”