NEWS AND OPINION:
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 on 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 who 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.
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.
BODACIOUS: THE NRA IN ATLANTA
Some 80,000 people are now happily making their way through the National Rifle Association’s bodacious annual meeting and exposition underway in Atlanta, an event that boasts a significant appearance by President Trump. Other rarefied celebrities also will be present at one time or another, including the NRA’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, and Executive Director Chris W. Cox, Republicans Sens. Ted Cruz and David Perdue, Rep. Clay Higgins, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. and former Rep. Allen West. See every speech streamed live online from 12:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday at NRATV.com.
In the meantime, Mr. LaPierre does not have anything good to say about the “failing” news media, saying that the press has “never been less trusted, less credible and less respected” and fraught with “malpractice,” among other things.
“For decades you ignored calls from millions of gun owners to just tell the truth. All you had to do was to just get the facts right about our guns and our freedom,” Mr. LaPierre says in a fierce public message to the media. “But you never even pretended to listen. Instead you weaponized the First Amendment against the Second Amendment. Now the whole country sees you as a mockery. Your claim to the truth is as legitimate as a thief’s. If the fact of individual freedom had rested in your hands, America would have fallen long ago.”
VOTERS OF FAITH STILL LOVE TRUMP
Millions of voters of faith voted overwhelmingly for President Trump in November, and they remain his most loyal supporters, according to the Faith & Freedom Coalition, which hosted the president as a candidate and publicly prayed for him during his campaign.
“Faith-based voters who ushered President Trump into office last November — who were confident in his commitment to the sanctity of human life, and to his pledge to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a justice who would respect the Constitution — are extremely pleased with his record of accomplishment this early into his presidency,” says Ralph Reed, chairman of the grass-roots organization, which boasts more than 1 million members.
He cites surveys released this week by ABC/Washington Post and NBC/Wall Street Journal that reveal, among other things, that Mr. Trump’s strongest base of support remains evangelicals: 70 percent continue to support him, as do 52 percent of conservative Catholic voters.
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POLL DU JOUR
• 80 percent of U.S. voters want President Trump to “succeed” while in office, regardless of how they voted; 97 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.
• 17 percent do not want him to succeed; 3 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats agree.
• 92 percent are “satisfied” with the way they voted in the 2016 election; 97 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of independents and 91 percent of Democrats agree.
• 4 percent wish they had voted differently; 1 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats agree.
• 57 percent say it’s time for Congress “to move on” and not continue to investigate Russian attempts to influence the election; 82 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Fox News Poll of 1,009 registered U.S. voters conducted April 23-25.
• Squawks and bluster to firstname.lastname@example.org.