Recent estimates from the New York Times cite 45th president Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration crowd size at one-third of the crowd that assembled for the women’s march in Washington. They estimate that the women’s protest garnered at least 470,000 attendees, with an estimated nationwide engagement of 2.9 million, according to a PoliticusUSA report. In contrast, it was estimated that a crowd of 160,000 witnessed the inauguration of President Trump. When comparing this year’s inauguration crowd to the turnout for former president Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony, the difference is more staggering; Obama drew roughly 1.8 million attendees to the aforementioned 160,000 that attended this past Friday, according to CBS News.
The public is seemingly more invested in national awareness marches and rallies; the women’s march crowd in Washington represents only one of a large pool of nationwide assemblies calling for the maintenance of civil rights and equality, environmental preservation, or simply a broader anti-Trump sentiment. TheLos Angeles Times reported on January 21 that these broader protests revolve around the hateful rhetoric that in part fueled Donald Trump’s campaign and the view that his inauguration speech was “not conciliatory” according to Jim Iacono, 54, a Los Angeles demonstrator.
Present concerns at both the level of the citizenry and elected officials in Congress involve President Trump’s cabinet choices amidst his inauguration; in recent days, Secretary of Education pick Betsy DeVos and potential EPA head Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma, have both been challenged by progressive senators such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. These senators have asked very direct questions pertaining to the management of government funds in the education system and Pruitt’s apparent indirectness as to his personal sentiments toward climate change and its cause (Senator Sanders repeatedly mentioned to Pruitt that a 97 percent consensus among peer-reviewed scientific journals indicates that human activity and fossil fuel use are chief causes of the climate crisis).
As for DeVos, Senator Warren pointed to her lack of perspective of the average American family trying to put their children through the higher education system; DeVos is the daughter-in-law of billionaire Amway founder Richard DeVos. Warren’s line of questioning exposed DeVos’ lack of personal experience with taking out student loans for either herself or her children. Warren emphasized in her questioning that there are solid laws on the books that can assist DeVos in curtailing “waste, fraud and abuse” in the education system; she also pointed to Donald Trump’s controversial Trump University as representative of the current problems with higher education as a profitable commodity.
Soon after the inauguration, there were reports, which included an article in Adweek, of modifications to the White House official website, namely the omission of civil and LGBTQ rights, climate change and healthcare from the “Issues” section, which are sweeping changes for the Trump administration’s website. Raw Story reports that instead, these top issues from the Obama administration have been replaced with priorities that include “standing up for our law enforcement community” and “making our military strong again.”
The juxtaposition of Trump and Obama’s inauguration crowd sizes coupled with the nationwide activist assemblies appear to indicate national concern for America’s future. As recently as November, just after the election, ABC News partnered with survey firm SSRS to assess the reaction of Americans to Trump’s victory and America’s future. The results were clear: 46 percent of the respondents took a negative view. ABC indicated that they colored these responses with words like “scared,” “afraid” and “bleak.” Thirty-nine percent had a positive outlook, responding with the most commonly words “hopeful” and “optimistic” regarding the future of the country under President Trump. Fifteen percent of the survey respondents had uncertainty or a neutral reaction to the incoming Trump administration and its implications.
The 2017 inauguration, along with its crowd and the throngs of activism nationwide usher in 45th president of the United States Donald Trump and his administration. This event occurs in an era of national polarization and disillusionment with government. Accusations of Russian involvement in November’s election result and its implications for U.S. relations with the federation and leader Vladimir Putin only compound aforementioned concerns over Trump’s policy omissions and additions. This month’s inauguration and its crowd represents a precipitous time in American history, in which the future is uncertain and the risks severe.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]