NEWS AND OPINION:
Many Fox News viewers were concerned following a recent appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” by Billy Hawkins, president of Talladega College, a historically black campus in Alabama. Mr. Hawkins let it be known to prime-time host Bill O’Reilly that the college’s famed Marching Tornadoes band had garnered “mean-spirited” criticism and “nasty emails” following their efforts to raise $75,000 to appear in President-elect Donald Trump‘s inaugural parade.
The result: A GoFundMe account established to help the band pay for their travel and lodging expenses has since raised $625,000 — with more donations constantly arriving after Mr. Hawkins’ appearance. At times, donations were coming in at the rate of $1,000 an hour. The college president is looking forward to the band’s appearance in the upcoming parade.
“We owe Bill O’Reilly a great thank you. The GoFundMe account has skyrocketed,” Mr. Hawkins told Fox News. “The closer we get to Friday, the more excited I become. I’m so proud of our young people.”
Mr. O’Reilly will interview Mr. Trump — who will be President Trump by then — during the Super Bowl pregame show on Feb. 5. “The O’Reilly Factor,” incidentally, currently averages 3.5 million viewers, and has been the No. 1 show in its time slot for the last 16 years.
FOR THE LEXICON
“DisruptJ20.” That is the umbrella name and social media ID for an aggressive activist coalition based in the nation’s capital that plans, organizers say, “massive direct actions that will shut down the Inauguration ceremonies and any related celebrations — the Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls, you name it. We’re also planning to paralyze the city itself, using blockades and marches to stop traffic and even public transit.”
“The leftover left that materialized during the George W. Bush administration is returning in force as of January 20. Whatever they do to disrupt events related to the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, it is a preview of coming attractions,” predicts Scott Johnson, an analyst for Powerline.com. “Whatever happens — or not — later this week, the leftover left is back. Of that much I am certain.”
James O’Keefe — the undercover “Project Veritas” journalist who on Monday released video footage that revealed some DisruptJ20 plans — calls the group “alt-left activists.”
A CHEER FOR SECURITY
Inaugural security is winning bipartisan applause from two of the nation’s most security-minded officials. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael T. McCaul and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the committee’s ranking Democrat, met with those who do the heavy lifting when it comes to inauguration safety, which includes the muscle of 28,000 law enforcement officers and precise security strategies that will be in place for many hours.
“I commend the efforts of the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, Capitol Hill Police and local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to ensure a safe and successful inauguration,” says Mr. McCaul. “Despite the intense terror threat our nation faces, I am confident that we will be able to conduct a seamless and peaceful transition of power in large part because of the hard work of the department’s employees and the Secret Service and those on the front lines keeping our nation safe.”
INAUGURAL PARTY, PINE TREE-STYLE
Here’s a brief but telling missive from “Deep Woods” — a longtime Inside the Beltway reader who indeed lives with his family in the deepest of deep woods in New England — who tells of his own inaugural celebration:
“Greetings from the cabin. We will gather in front of our TV on Friday with other deplorables to thank God for our deliverance. Our cabin will be decorated with flags and other patriotic symbols. We will toast with Trump chardonnay, and serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for our guests. For dessert Mrs. Woods will serve a red, white, and blue Trump Trifle. A fitting end, so to speak, to our national nightmare,” Mr. Woods advises.
THE DIVERSITY OF PARTIES
Many news organizations have dwelled on reports that high-profile actors and performers are boycotting the inauguration, conveniently overlooking the fact that President-elect Donald Trump has won praise for his celebrity-free festivities that focus instead on heartland high school bands, military and veterans groups and grass-roots patriots. Beyond the large-scale official galas and state parties, there is a creative range of celebrations planned over the next four days. Just a few of them:
Native Nations Inaugural Ball honoring Native American Veterans, with an additional powwow, dinner and “Rock Your Mocs” after-party; 2017 Latino Inaugural hosted by Rep. Raul R. Labrador, including an appearance by Brazilian World Cup champion Ronaldino Gaucho; Asian Pacific American Presidential Inaugural Gala to honor Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders “nominated to serve in the new Trump administration”; The Christian Inaugural Gala hosted by Traditional Values Coalition and “celebrating God’s Mercy”; Inaugural DeploraBall, hosted by Gays for Trump; DeploraBall (same name, different hosts) celebrating the Trump administration “alt-right” style; Deplorables Nation Inaugural Ball to “Make America great again”; Great Gatsby Inaugural Ball, celebrating “peaceful transition of power” in 1920s style; The American Legion & The Veterans Inaugural Committee Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball; Vettys Presidential Inauguration Ball hosted by Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled Veterans of America.
POLL DU JOUR
• 61 percent of Americans say it’s likely President-elect Donald Trump will “create good-paying jobs in economically challenged areas”; 96 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
• 61 percent say it is likely Mr. Trump will “renegotiate NAFTA”; 89 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.
• 50 percent say it is likely Mr. Trump will “rewrite the tax code to be less complicated”; 83 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.
• 48 percent say Mr. Trump will “protect” the nation’s cybersecurity; 86 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
• 42 percent say Mr. Trump will “defeat ISIS”; 77 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 15-17.
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