Donald Trump has given just one big order to his staffers for this “greatest show in history” — don’t let this suck as much as his sparsely attended, scarily bleak, doom-in-America inaugural address. As the tanks limp into position, and the airports close for Trump’s “personally planned” fireworks display, the biggest fear in D.C. is … what if they give a show, and nobody comes?
As The Washington Post reports, everything about this “national” event has been carefully scripted and perfectly arranged … to satisfy an audience of one. This is the Trump show: for Trump, about Trump, and only Trump. But a part of the script that Trump has written for his show is that millions of people poor into the National Mall, hurl their red hats into the sky, and shout their eternal allegiance to Trump. And staffers are really, really worried that the crowds are going to seriously disappoint.
Even with the RNC handing out tickets right and … righter, and with Trump staffers being handed stacks of tickets with orders to bring their family and friends, reports are that a ticket into the VIP section of Trump’s “salute” to himself is not exactly a hard ticket to come by. The White House secretary that tried to claim that this was “not a ticketed event” could turn out to be right after all, because getting a sufficient crowd around the reflecting pool may require taking down the barriers and crowding everyone in.
Perhaps the best sign of just how well this is going is who is definitely not going to be there. Non-attendees include Ivanka, Jared, and Trump Jr—all of whom would prefer to go lounge in their Hampton’s vacation homes than swelter with Trump in D.C. Also not on hand are the great majority of Republican representatives and senators, who are spending the holiday in the usual way by participating in events back in their home districts and states. Even White House officials have been complaining that the last minute, poorly-explained event meant that many of them made plans weeks before Trump started handing them tickets to his Mall-based rally. But they’ll come. They’ll grumble, but they’ll come.
As Vanity Fair reports, they can expect to have plenty of elbow room.
How many major Republican donors or congressmen contacted were planning to attend Trump’s event … that would be none. Instead, the VIP section will be filled with staffers, staffer’s families, staffer’s friends, and the 5,000 plus military who have been more or less ordered to put camo’d butts in chairs.
But Trump shouldn’t worry. The most important part of the event won’t happen until after dark. He can always claim the Mall was full, so bigly full.