Looks like we made it! Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 46th President on Wednesday. Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female, black and South Asian Vice President. And the nation's worst President and greatest sore-loser ever became a former President at the same time, fleeing D.C. like the coward he is just after dawn. All of which we cover in today's BradCast Inauguration Special. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]
On his way out the door, Donald Trump unleashed a load of pardons and commutations for his corrupt allies and wealthy friends, abusing the Presidential pardon power in an unprecedented, but hardly surprising, way. We detail just some of the 144 grants of clemency he issued just after midnight, including for Steven Bannon, his former campaign manager and fired White House senior political strategist (who was indicted for defrauding millions of dollars from Trump supporters for a project to build a wall on the U.S. southern border); Elliot Broidy, former RNC fundraiser and Trump Inaugural Treasurer who pleaded guilty to selling his services to lobby Trump on behalf of a foreign billionaire; Paul Erickson, GOP operative and boyfriend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina; a last second pardon for Albert Pirro, the real-estate developer, GOP fundraiser and convicted felon husband of Fox "News" host and Trump suck-up Jeanine Pirro; and more than 100 others like them. The raft of 11th hour pardons led one good government advocate to wryly charge that "Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon."
Much to our surprise, however, Trump did not pardon his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, any of his children or himself! We would have bet good money he'd have pardoned some or all of them. (Especially himself!) But he apparently didn't.
As if his list of pardoned fraudsters, liars and other assorted and unrepentant criminals wasn't wasn't slimy and sleazy and swampy enough for ya, Trump also issued one last. middle of the night Executive Order to rescind his own 2017 EO that barred Executive Branch officials from lobbying their own agency for five years after leaving office, in addition to a lifetime ban on lobbying for any foreign government. In reversing his much vaunted ethics rule from his first year in office, he made clear yet again that he was only ever pretending for his base of dupes and suckers that he wanted to "drain the swamp" in D.C.
In much less sleazy news, on Day One of the Biden Administration, the new President signed an unprecedented raft of Executive Orders at the White House after his Inauguration, meant to begin to undo some of the most egregious excesses and corruption of the previous Administration. The orders focus generally on four concurrent crises Biden has vowed to immediately begin tackling, including COVID-19, the economy, racial injustice and climate change. Among the EOs planned to be signed on Wednesday, according to AXIOS:
But after Trump mercifully fled town early on Wednesday, a remarkably moving and socially distanced Inauguration Ceremony was held at the U.S. Capitol, under extraordinary security precautions following the massive MAGA Mob of violent, rioting insurrectionists who attempted, to little avail, to block Biden's decisive 2020 victory from being formally affirmed by Congress just two weeks ago today.
We share some key moments from today's ceremony, including Biden's full, crisp, and tremendously on-point Inaugural Address. The new President, among other things, declared that "Democracy has prevailed" and vowed to be a "President for all Americans" while calling for "unity". He pointedly noted: "We must end this uncivil war" and went on to observe that "Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies."
Finally, we close with a few thoughts on this wonderful, historic and long overdue day from both Desi and myself, at the end of four (actually five) hellishly long, painful, destructive, difficult and deadly years as the "American Carnage" of the Trump Era hopefully begins to fade as a new day begins...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)