BIG WEEK­END: PRES­I­DENT, PRO­TEST­ERS AND PRESS

The Washington Times Daily - - POL­I­TICS - BY JEN­NIFER HARPER

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.

WHITE HOUSE COR­RE­SPON­DENTS’ AS­SO­CI­A­TION

For­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is ru­mored to be mak­ing a pos­si­ble ap­pear­ance at this week­end’s White House Cor­re­spon­dents Din­ner.

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