President Donald Trump will walk into the Oval Office and be stunned.
First, it will be a shock to work in an office decorated with images of men other than himself. Second, he is bound to be suffused with awe as he looks around at the Remington bronze bronco, the Rockwell “Statue of Liberty,” the portraits of Washington and Lincoln, the Swedish ivy on the mantel that has eavesdropped — and leaves dropped — on so much history.
The new president will suddenly realize that Joe Biden is right. He needs to grow up. Chuck Schumer is right. He has to stop nonsense-tweeting and name-calling. John McCain is right. He needs to stop fawning over Vladimir Putin, his BFF whose eyes flash “KGB.”
Donald Trump will, at long last, assume a mantle of dignity.
The capital has never been more anxious about its own government. The town is suffering pre-traumatic stress disorder. This guy is really going to be president.
Finally, there is bipartisan consensus: It’s time to flip out. Decades after duck-and-cover was a way of life, people here are once more in duck-and-cover mode. No one knows what is going to happen, but they know it will be utter chaos and that the old familiar ways have vaporized.
On the verge of the inauguration, a time of stately ritual and tradition in a city baked in ritual and tradition, ritual and tradition are out the window. Donald Trump is operating on an utterly new, unique and freaky frequency.
Closed-door confabs in mahogany and marble rooms with brass spittoons have been replaced with Trump heckling, pouting, demanding and sharing his innermost thoughts on Twitter. The city has the panicked air of a B-horror movie where the townsfolk stand stock still, bug-eyed and frozen, too frightened to flee, waiting for the creature.
Everything is turned inside out into sauerkraut. Democrats are appalled that Trump is challenging the CIA, the same agency that got WMDs wrong. Republicans are cuddling up to Russia. Mitch McConnell says the American people will not tolerate the Democrats’ holding up a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. WikiLeaks is protesting leaks. Trump and Sean Hannity suddenly love Julian Assange.
The city’s mood is “surreal,” as Sen. Dick Durbin told the New York Times. As the Illinois Democrat looks down from his Capitol Hill office at the inaugural stands going up, he is still in disbelief that it’s not Madam President and that they didn’t scoop up the Senate.
“I spent months never believing that he would be elected president,” Durbin said. “I sincerely hope that the office makes the man.”
House Republicans who had to back off their attempt to eviscerate the independent ethics office, after the president-elect tweeted his disapproval of their priorities, looked dazed as they walked out of their party conference meeting at the swift power of the Trump thunderbolt-tweets.
Can you imagine what would have happened if President-elect Barack Obama had called McConnell “a clown,” as Trump tweeted about Schumer?
Can you imagine a scenario where two Republicans in a row lose the popular vote but win the White House with a shady helping hand? Can’t the GOP win fair and square? Was it the Russians who turned Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania truly red?