- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

“Washington will never be the same.”

That is the motto for the new Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital, which staged a private “grand opening” and ribbon-cutting with Donald Trump himself on Wednesday. Sited in the historic Old Post Office not three blocks from the White House, the magnificent hotel boasts the 4,000-square-foot, two-level, three-bedroom Presidential Suite with its 16-foot ceilings, restored historic fireplace, plus its own dining room and fitness center — all located in what was once the Postmaster General’s office.

“With the notable exception of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is the most coveted real estate in the city,” Mr. Trump told a media-heavy audience, later adding, “My theme today is five words: Under budget, and ahead of schedule. That’s what we did.”

The GOP nominee thanked the government agencies who worked with him on the massive project, he thanked local construction workers, tradesmen, law enforcement and historic organizations. He also used the occasion to cite the nation’s fragile infrastructure, health system and inefficient big government. Mr. Trump also talked up America and its citizens.

“There is nothing we cannot do,” he said. “I ask America to join me in dreaming big, and dreaming wonderful things, in a new chapter for all of you. That is how we will truly make America great again.”

Mr. Trump was accompanied by his wife Melania, and his children Ivanka, Tiffany, Eric and Donald Trump.

But even such pleasant moments are politicized. The press continues to hammer on the idea that Trump hotels in general are not performing up to par. The hotel itself had previously been vandalized; protestors were there to greet Mr. Trump on his arrival. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other local officials did not attend the event.

“Bowser is a lifelong Democrat who has stumped for Hillary Clinton in Northern Virginia. But the optics are certainly awkward. Mayors are expected to be at grand openings, ribbon cuttings, and any other events that promote their cities,” reports Washingtonian magazine writer Benjamin Freed, who noted that, in the last two years, Trump family members contributed a total of $7,000 to Ms. Bower’s campaign and inauguration committee.

But so be it. The hotel is up and running, and the presidential campaign roars on. Mr. Trump will be in Washington in late morning to christen his hotel; he’s due at a jumbo rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 4 p.m., followed by another in Kinston, 250 miles to the east, at 7 p.m.

WERE THE 1950s BETTER?

“Few ideas are more divisive among the public than whether American culture and way of life have changed for worse (51 percent) or better (48 percent) since the 1950s,” says Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, a nonprofit research group that has just released its 2016 American Values Survey.

“This election has become a referendum on competing visions of America’s future,” Mr. Jones continues. “Donald Trump supporters are nostalgic for the 1950s, an era when white Christians in particular had more political and cultural power in the country, while Hillary Clinton supporters are leaning into — and even celebrating — the big cultural transformations the country has experienced over the last few decades.”

How’s that working out? The new survey found that 7 in 10 likely voters supporting Mr. Trump say American society and way of life have changed for the worse since those proverbial fabulous ‘50s. Seven in 10 likely voters supporting Mrs. Clinton say things have changed for the better. Find more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

AUCTION THERAPY

Those distressed by the endless election can take refuge in history. Lion Heart Autographs, an auction house, will put presidential memorabilia, vintage autographs and manuscripts on the auction block with flair on Wednesday. The many items include a lengthy and moving fragment from the first draft of George Washington’s inauguration address, an 1864 telegram sent by Ulysses S. Grant, a typewritten letter from Theodore Roosevelt and notes in John F. Kennedy’s hand addressing his campaign slogan, “The New Frontier.”

“The auction provides a history lesson that illuminates the exuberance and activism of those who influenced and fashioned our national politics and pays tribute to our founding fathers,” organizers advise, calling the selection “a tribute to the democratic ideals of the United States.”

Well, that’s refreshing. Find information at LionheartAutographs.com. Bidding gets underway at 1 p.m. EST at Invaluable.com.

MEDIA BIAS RUN AMOK

A 12-week study of broadcast news coverage by the Media Research Center underscores Donald Trump’s claims that the press is against him. The conservative media watchdog evaluated evening news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC from July through mid-October to find that 91 percent of the stories offered a negative slant against Mr. Trump.

“Even when they were critical of Hillary Clinton — for concealing her pneumonia, for example, or mischaracterizing the FBI investigation of her email server — network reporters always maintained a respectful tone in their coverage,” says Rich Noyes, who led the research. “This was not the case with Trump, who was slammed as embodying ‘the politics of fear,’ or a ‘dangerous’ and ‘vulgar’ ‘misogynistic bully’ who had insulted vast swaths of the American electorate.”

The networks devoted 1,191 minutes to the presidential campaign during the study period, or nearly 29 percent of all news coverage. Mr. Trump garnered 785 minutes of the total, Mrs. Clinton 478 minutes. Mr. Noyes found that, for Mr. Trump, the stories centered heavily on “sexist rhetoric and mistreatment of women,” plus questions about his tax returns, immigration and his claims the election is rigged.

“Controversies involving Hillary Clinton received far less attention. Her ‘basket of deplorables’ comment received just seven minutes of total coverage, while barely two minutes (134 seconds) was spent talking about her handling of the 2012 attack in Benghazi when she was secretary of state,” Mr. Noyes notes.

OH, SWEET MYSTERY

Helpful: Business Insider has ranked the best and worst of typical Halloween candies in terms of sugar, fat, calories and even protein content. “While no candy is obviously nutritious, these are the ones you’re better off eating — or avoiding,” advise the researchers.

The 10 “healthiest” of the season: Reese’s Pumpkins is in first place, followed by Hershey’s Take5, Smarties, Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Pops, Snickers Peanut Butter, Nerds, Jolly Rancher Lollipops, Gobstoppers and Caramel Apple Pops.

With either no protein, too much fat or too much sugar, these candies are the 10 least healthy: Sweetarts Chews are in first place, followed by 3 Musketeers, Reese’s Miniatures, Reese’s Cups, Brach’s Candy Corn, M&M’s, White Chocolate KitKat, Nestle Crunch, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and KitKat.

POLL DU JOUR

74 percent of Americans feel “pessimistic” about the direction of the country.

61 percent say neither political party represents their views anymore.

51 percent say life has changed for the worse since the 1950s; 48 percent say life has changed for the better since then.

50 percent say the best days of the U.S. are behind us; 48 percent say the best days are in front of us.

44 percent say the nation “veered off track some time ago”; 30 percent say this occurred in the last few years.

Source: A PRRI survey of 2,010 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 1-27 and released Tuesday.

• Chitchat, complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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