- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The White House press pool is always at the ready, even when a very long story comes to a close. Here’s the final official report on then-President Trump, filed from Palm Beach, Florida, just minutes before he officially left office.

“There was no crowd or greeters at airport. But supporters had gathered at key points along route. Some had Trump-Pence 2020 flags. Many wore red MAGA hats,” wrote Rob Crilly, White House correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

“The pro-Trump crowd stretched a couple of miles before the bridge on to Palm Beach Island. Two or three deep in places. ‘We love you 45,’ ‘Support our Police’ were among other signs along the route,” Mr. Crilly continued.

“The motorcade traveled at a crawl — not like the usual race down the road — slowing at each group presumably so POTUS could take in the support and wave,” he said.

And here’s the absolute final missive on Mr. Trump as president, filed by Mr. Crilly at 11:47 a.m. Eastern — just 13 minutes before Mr. Trump officially left office at nigh noon and just outside Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club.



“Pool is holding outside Mar-a-Lago. By some mystical powers the POTUS pool will dissolve in Palm Beach at midday to be replaced by POTUS pool in D.C. For IT reasons, I am handing over to in-town Biden pool now, so that the messages can all be passed on OK. But the pool will monitor things here until midday just in case,” Mr. Crilly advised.

Then he took time for a summation, plus a recognition of a White House press assistant.

“It just remains for me to thank my fellow poolers on this historic day, for keeping things on the straight and narrow. And in particular to thank wrangler extraordinaire Margo Martin who kept us all in the right places and on time during her final day with the White House,” he wrote in his report.

COVERAGE OF TRUMP, COVERAGE OF BIDEN

There has been much speculation about what the media would do in a political landscape which does not include former President Donald Trump. We shall soon find out. Meanwhile, here’s how the coverage shook out on Inauguration Day for both Mr. Trump and President Biden as journalists grappled with the outgoing and the incoming administrations. Headlines from the last 24 hours offer insight:

For the former president:

“Trump’s lonely exit” (CNN); “Donald Trump gracelessly leaves the stage” (Yahoo); “Trump destroyed the most important virtue in America” (The Atlantic); “Farewell to the viral Trump tweets” (Slate); “Trump’s last minute moves against China complicate Biden’s agenda” (The New York Times); “Networks stick with Trump in his unusual goodbye speech” (The Associated Press); “‘Like a Ghost’ in the White House: The last days of the Trump presidency” (Politico); and “Trump leaves office with little to show of his major promises, and a legacy of violent divisiveness” (NBC News).

For the new president:

“Biden calls for end to ‘uncivil war’” (Newsmax); “U.S. allies ‘greatly relieved,’ but also wary as Biden steps up” (CBS News); “Biden’s first act: Order on pandemic, climate, immigration” (The Associated Press); “Biden should go big, fast and simple” (The Atlantic); “How the narrow Senate majority will shape Biden’s presidency” (CNN); and “Biden to focus on domestic terror, possibly targeting Trump supporters” (One America News Network).

PRESS RELATIONS: A FORECAST

Some now ponder the potential relationship between President Biden and the press.

“Is a full return to normalcy possible? There may again be daily press briefings and more on-camera interviews with mainstream journalists, but still it would be foolish to assume that the media will enjoy all the access it wishes. (The Obama administration was criticized for being more restrictive to the media than past administrations.) What’s more, many conservative press outlets will be champing at the bit to hold Biden accountable and likely will address any double standards as often as they can,” writes Eriq Gardner, an analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, an industry source.

“Finally as the public’s attention shifts in the post-Trump era, many outlets could experience ratings declines or suffer readership slumps. That could lead the media industry to become more demanding of the new administration, and it will be worth watching to see how Biden’s team responds,” Mr. Gardner advises.

BERNIE HAS A MOMENT

Former first lady Melania Trump made fashion news Wednesday for departing the White House in a sleek black designer suit, sunglasses, an artful updo and towering high heels.

But wait. Sen. Bernard Sanders also made fashion news for his un-fashion.

The Vermont independent and self-described democratic socialist appeared at the inauguration of President Biden clad in a parka, plain workaday pants and some heavy knitted mittens. Assorted observations about the senator’s sartorial choices led the national trends on Twitter for quite sometime, with Mr. Sanders earning such descriptions as “grandpa at the post office,” made in a tweet by CBS News political reporter Grace Segers.

The mittens, however, earned their own social media hashtag.

#BerniesMittens made the top 10 trends as well, with their own story. The patterned mittens were hand-knit by Vermont schoolteacher Jen Ellis from repurposed wool and lined with fleece made of recycled plastic bottles; Mr. Sanders has been wearing them since 2018. Ms. Ellis, meanwhile, is now taking orders for mittens. These details were unearthed by BuzzFeed on Wednesday afternoon.

POLL DU JOUR

35% of U.S. voters say illegal immigration is a “critical threat” to the vital interests of the U.S. in the next 10 years; 56% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 23% of Democrats agree.

34% of U.S. voters say illegal immigration is “an important but not critical threat” to the vital interests of the U.S.; 30% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 38% of Democrats agree.

21% of U.S. voters say illegal immigration is “not an important threat” to the vital interests of the U.S.; 8% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 32% of Democrats agree.

9% overall don’t know or have no opinion; 6% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,991 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 15-17.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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