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Trump’s first full day: Prayer, bowling, and a visit to the CIA

President Donald Trump veered quickly from confrontational to conciliatory, vowing not to satisfy his “enemies” who want him off Twitter at an inaugural ball on Friday night. | AP Photo

In a series of rapid-fire acts, the president begins fulfilling his promise to change the government he now controls.


President Donald Trump quickly set to work in his signature style—including hanging gold drapes in the Oval Office—making good on his promise to radically change the government he now controls, even as demonstrators marched through the capital and around the country in opposition to his administration.

Trump veered quickly from confrontational to conciliatory. He vowed not to satisfy his “enemies” who want him off Twitter at an inaugural ball on Friday night. But on Saturday, he announced that one of his first official visits as president would be to the CIA headquarters at Langley. The move comes after Trump has openly warred with the intelligence community, expressing doubt about its conclusions that Russia intervened in the election to aid him and comparing the intelligence agencies to “Nazi Germany” for alleged leaks.

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Trump’s address to the CIA is set to be live-streamed on WhiteHouse.gov, and has echoes of President Obama’s own visit to Langley early in his presidency, when the CIA was under fire for its use of harsh interrogation techniques. But unlike Trump, Obama made his visit on a Monday, when there were far more personnel actually at the office.

After delivering a strikingly populist inaugural address Friday, and between the ceremonial events of the day, Trump signed an executive order to freeze regulations and another that could start the process of undermining the Affordable Care Act.

After musing Friday about those who want him off Twitter, he took to social media Saturday morning to praise Fox News for its coverage of his inaugural address.

He also set about putting his personal touch on the Oval Office, from changing the drapes to giving prominent placement to a bust of Winston Churchill. Some in the Trump family also took advantage of the White House’s perks, with Donald Trump Jr. tweeting out a picture of the family bowling at the White House bowling alley.

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Signs of Trump’s foreign policy also emerged Saturday.

As Trump’s team prepares the schedule for his first week, London’s The Telegraph reported that British Prime Minister Theresa May is planning to visit the U.S. and meet with the new president next week. However, a top foreign policy aide to Trump was unable to confirm the visit.

“I can’t tell you yet,” retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, now chief of staff of the National Security Council told POLITICO. “I just don’t know.”

Trump has pledged close relations with the United Kingdom after its vote to leave the European Union, and has said a unilateral trade deal with the country will be a top priority.

And a clear signal was sent to federal employees that public dissent would not tolerated after the National Park Service’s Twitter account posted pictures showing the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was far smaller than that which attended Barack Obama’s 2009 swearing-in. A memo was quickly sent that agencies within the Department of the Interior were to cease activity on Twitter. The posts in question were deleted, and the NPS returned to Twitter Saturday with an apology.

“We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you,” the agency said, posting a picture of a buffalo with the message.

Even as Trump has vowed to upend traditional Washington, he stuck to the traditional script Saturday, attending a prayer service at the National Cathedral. Trump, seated in the front row with his wife, Melania, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence, sang along to the national anthem, occasionally patting his chest.


Amid the pomp and circumstance, though, disorganization continued at the White House.

Some of the White House’s press wranglers continued using personal email addresses because their official ones had yet to be set up, and there was confusion as to whether or not the prayer service was open to the press (it was). And Trump’s plans for the day, usually disseminated directly to the media, were instead blasted out on Twitter by press secretary Sean Spicer.

Trump will visit the CIA’s Langley headquarters Saturday afternoon, Spicer announced.

“Event is over capacity at 300+ Excited to thank the men and women of the intelligence community,” he wrote in announcing the CIA visit.

But even as Trump savored his ascent to power, opposition to his administration was manifest throughout the capital as demonstrators flocked to the city for the Women’s March, packing onto Metro trains and filling avenues. Similar marches are taking place in other cities around the country.

Even at the prayer service, Trump could not escape notes of opposition to his plans.

Trump listened to a prayer that said, “Break down the walls that separate us”—a not-so-subtle knock on his promise to wall off the nation’s southern border.

Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.

Source: POLITICO – TOP Stories

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