BIG WEEKEND: PRESIDENT, PROTESTERS AND PRESS
There are two momentous political events to consider this weekend, and they are polar opposites. First, we have President Trump, who will step out on the broad stage of a major arena in Pennsylvania Saturday night for one of his favorite activities: a massive, grass-roots rally to affirm his first 100 days in office and to connect with the voters that love him. The event is not without issue. An anti-Trump protest and rally is planned by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and activists from around the state who claim the president’s time in office has been “filled with alternative facts, incompetence and international scandal.”
Then there is the White House Correspondents Dinner in the nation’s capital, staged in a posh hotel some 96 miles to the south. Just as Mr. Trump arrives on stage in Harrisburg, several thousand formally clad journalists, lobbyists and celebrities will stroll out of a dozen different cocktail parties and begin the promenade toward the glittering ballroom, where they will dine on a sumptuous meal and giggle over inside jokes. Many will celebrate the fact that Mr. Trump is not among them. He opted out of the event weeks ago, winning accolades from a number of conservative pundits who applauded his decision to skip a long evening with the mostly hostile press.
“Couldn’t agree more. This is a stupid event, and Trump is a serious president. There is no reason why he should indulge his enemies,” noted John Hinderaker, an analyst for Powerline.com.
For the sake of civility, public calm and a bunch of other things, let us hope that both groups have a positive, pleasant, productive experience.
Indeed, the White House crowd will enjoy a red carpet walk and 21 assorted pre-parties and after-events sponsored primarily by news organizations and activist groups. The elite population will include such famous folks as actors Billy Bob Thornton and Alyssa Milano, feminist Gloria Steinem and musician Elvis Costello. There has been persistent but unverified chatter that Hillary Clinton, actor and Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin and possibly former President Barack Obama could show up.
Mr. Trump has protesters waiting, however. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party has organized “The Rally Against 100 Days of Broken Promises,” which includes Democratic National Committee Vice Chairman Michael Blake, multiple state lawmakers and officials, unions and Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse.
“Bring your signs, hats and your slogans,” organizers advise.
Former President Barack Obama is rumored to be making a possible appearance at this weekend’s White House Correspondents Dinner.