Good afternoon! On Barack Obama’s last full day in office, The Point is receiving inauguration dispatches from our columnists Lane Filler and Mark Chiusano in Washington. As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office, tell us how you’re feeling.
During his remarks at Thursday’s New York GOP inaugural breakfast in Washington, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gave attendees a reading list to “really help you understand Trump.”
The list for insight on the Trump phenomenon included controversial conservative sociologist Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart,” which explores the divergence of classes in America and the creation of “super ZIP codes” full of out-of-touch elites, Gingrich said. (“Your state has a number of them,” he joked.)
Gingrich added the Nassim Taleb article “The Intellectual Yet Idiot,” also about out-of-touch elites.
And, of course, he suggested Trump’s own books, “The Art of the Deal” and “The Art of the Comeback.”
Gingrich said the key to Trump’s success was his mastery of media — tweeting in the morning and calling in to cable shows before a rally carried live on TV, all while his bumbling opponents held fundraisers to buy advertisements “that could run between his interviews.”
Breakfast with Newt
“We have an assignment from Donald Trump,” New York State Republican Party chairman Edward Cox told his festive members Thursday morning at the New York GOP inaugural breakfast in Washington. “We’ve been assigned the task of winning the New York City mayoral race.”
Cox wasn’t the only speaker in the packed house (which included TV monitors in eight overflow banquet rooms) to mention the mayoral race, or the idea that the success of native New Yorker Trump would lift all New York Republican boats. Ed Rollins, whose Great American PAC bankrolled $30 million in Trump ads and whose postelection version, Great American Alliance, is bankrolling New York GOP events this week in Washington, called Mayor Bill de Blasio “the epitome of what Democrats are.”
Keynoter and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, long a popular cheerleader for a Republican resurgence in the Empire State, promised Republicans were “going to learn some lessons from this campaign and apply them across the country.” And State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan touted a new wave of Republican success nationally and in New York, pointing to “1,000 GOP seats gained” in state legislatures during the Barack Obama years and highlighting the State Senate as the only GOP-controlled legislative body among the 10 bluest states in the nation.
As of Thursday, Republican officials said neither real estate executive Paul Massey nor the Rev. Michel Faulkner, the two declared GOP mayoral candidates in November’s race, were in Washington. But seemingly every other serious Republican was, as Cox and other party officials said ticket and hotel room demand was seriously high, with more than 1,000 requests.
For a large and exuberant crowd of Republicans celebrating a shocking win by a man who is one of their own, New York City born and bred, any victory seemed possible on the eve of the inauguration.
What’s an environmental regulator to do under President Trump?
Judith Enck had her post-EPA career figured out. After seven years as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s region that includes New York, during which time she worked to improve water quality in Long Island Sound and helped focus attention on nitrogen pollution, Enck was planning to work on an issue she cares deeply about — plastic pollution of the ocean.
“Then the election happened,” Enck told The Point. “I kind of feel like I don’t have the luxury to work on that issue. The house is burning down.”
Enck said her goal now is to work in some yet-to-be determined capacity on protecting environmental laws and regulations under threat from the incoming Donald Trump administration, especially the Clean Power Plan and progress made on fighting climate change.
In the short term, Enck will join the Pace University School of Law as a visiting scholar. She plans to give lectures, organize a symposium and help connect third-year law students with jobs in the government and nonprofit sector.
“Given the concern I have with the next administration, it’s really important to have energetic new environmental lawyers out there practicing,” Enck said.