With Inauguration Day just a month away, all bets are off

Posted12/30/2016 1:00 AM

Will Donald Trump invite Vladimir Putin to his inauguration on Jan. 20? (Or has he already done so?)

Will Barack and Michelle Obama attend the inauguration ceremony? I assume they'll be at the White House when the Trumps arrive on the morning of Jan. 20. They won't have to answer a doorbell because White House staff and dozens of Secret Service agents will be crawling all over the place -- as will the news media.


But don't bet on anything -- or against anything. I have a feeling that many political and news media veterans who have been around a lot longer than I have don't have a clue as to how Inauguration Day is going to play out.

There are 22 days to go as I write this -- about 50 days since the election.

Am I writing an "end-of-the-year political analysis"? Who knows? There is still one more day before the end of the year -- one more day of intrigue, surprise, mystery and wonderment.

Unusual events can happen every day in the Trump Pre-presidency.

And, of course, after Inauguration Day, there are 1,460 days left in the "first" Trump term.

Each day is likely -- no, make that certain -- to generate new questions, new issues, new periods of wonderment.

Can Trump unite Republicans? Can he work with Democrats? With leaders of other countries?

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How quickly will there be a list of likely Democrat contenders for 2020?

Will Trump even seek re-election? Will Trump actually stay in office for a full four years? I would not be stunned if he decides shortly after his "two-year anniversary" in January 2019 that he doesn't like the job and that VP Mike Pence will become the 46th President and the front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2020.

And what about the Obamas? The outgoing president and his family have announced their plans to stay in Washington, at least for some time while one or both their daughters are in school, but with the Obama Presidential Library apparently earmarked for Chicago, it is hard to imagine the Obamas not spending a substantial amount of time in Chicago.

Presidential libraries are for scholars, researchers, politicians and political gadflies. But they also can be huge tourist attractions for the host city, and the location of the Obama Library in Chicago could be the major cause of a sharp reduction in crime on Chicago's South Side.

Locating his presidential library in Chicago may be the most positive single thing President Obama will have done for the city.

Perhaps the biggest question mark many have is what is Trump really going to do?


What is the relationship between the U.S. and Russia going to be?

What about the relationship with the Arab and Muslim worlds?

What about Mexico and Canada? Mexico has been one of my favorite vacation spots for years, and Mexican people are wonderful -- but are they going to dislike Americans and become distrustful? Are they going to build Trump's wall and charge me (and you) to get in?

My own predictions:

He is going to surprise everyone with a well thought-out agenda that -- except for the hard-line politicians or demagogues -- will satisfy most Americans.


Maybe he is going to be a disaster -- the combination of bully and buffoon that he sometimes projects -- and Americans will come around to say, "Where's Hillary Clinton when we need her? Or even Bill?"

Which is it going to be? Sorry. Too soon to predict. Any predictions today could change before Jan. 20 -- or within one month or one year of Jan. 20. Or even tomorrow.

So just stand by.

Ed Murnane, edmurnane@gmail.com, of Arlington Heights, is a retired president of the Illinois Civil Justice League and formerly served as a staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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