New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg stood up for the government bureaucrats and left-wing paranoids in D.C. and gave them laudatory coverage in Wednesday’s “Accustomed To Transitions, But Not This."
Stolberg fretted: "...as Mr. Trump’s inaugural draws near, in a nation so deeply divided that it seems the political middle has entirely disappeared, perhaps no place in America feels as unsteady and on edge as the capital, which Mr. Trump calls 'the swamp.'...With his 6 a.m. Twitter blasts and chaos-sowing style -- and a roster of conservative Cabinet picks eager to do an about-face on President Obama’s policies -- Mr. Trump has upended the city’s rhythms and jangled its nerves."
In the Virginia suburb of McLean, where the local diner is a C.I.A. breakfast hangout, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who ran the agency for George W. Bush, is playing career counselor these days. With President-elect Donald J. Trump attacking the intelligence community, the general says his “old tribe’’ is feeling “a special angst.”
In free-spirited Takoma Park, Md., a “nuclear-free zone” since 1983, a left-wing resistance movement is taking shape. Nadine Bloch, an activist and artist, is running pre-inaugural training on nonviolent protest -- complete with mock police officers wielding rolled up newspapers as batons.
And here in the District of Columbia, where 91 percent of voters cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton, “full-scale panic” is setting in, said John Feehery, a Republican strategist and Trump enthusiast. Leslie Harris, a liberal Democratic lawyer, uses war imagery: “I feel like my city is about to be invaded.”
Washington has always been a chameleon of a city, accustomed to remaking itself when the White House changes hands. But as Mr. Trump’s inaugural draws near, in a nation so deeply divided that it seems the political middle has entirely disappeared, perhaps no place in America feels as unsteady and on edge as the capital, which Mr. Trump calls “the swamp.”
As do a lot of other people.
Trump is ruining bureaucrats’ morning coffee with his combative ignorance.
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With his 6 a.m. Twitter blasts and chaos-sowing style -- and a roster of conservative Cabinet picks eager to do an about-face on President Obama’s policies -- Mr. Trump has upended the city’s rhythms and jangled its nerves. The White House press corps is fighting to keep its work space in the West Wing. High-powered lobbyists worry their clients will turn up in his Twitter feed. Civil servants, many of them working class, say he knows nothing about running a bureaucracy.
“We don’t know exactly what to expect from Trump, except that he’s combative,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential biographer, who has lived here for 20 years. And furthermore, Mr. Dallek complained, “It’s offensive to be called a swamp.”
At their core, Washington and its close-in suburbs are company towns, populated by people who live and breathe policy and politics, or work in the sprawling federal bureaucracy. The region is “one of the largest and wealthiest economies in the world,” the Brookings Institution recently reported -- one reason much of America, which suffered greatly during the recession, resents those in the capital.
But like the rest of America, Washington is also a real place, with real people, who have lived here for decades. The permanent occupants of “the swamp” see presidents come, and see them go. And no matter what their politics, people agree with Mr. Feehery that this transition “feels different” from any in recent memory.
But when Mr. Trump was elected, suddenly America’s divisions hit home. When Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, rented a house nearby, his neighbors decorated their homes with gay pride rainbow flags. When a white supremacist group hosted a dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant, Maggiano’s, protests erupted outside.
Then Comet Ping Pong, a pizzeria where Ms. Harris takes her grandchildren, was targeted by a fake news story involving Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Harris, savvy about the media, organized community support. Soon after, a gunman turned up at the restaurant and fired shots inside.
Nice to see Takoma Park living up to its left-wing reputation:
Just over the Maryland line, Takoma Park is a “sanctuary city,” which refuses to prosecute undocumented immigrants. Mr. Trump does not look kindly on that. Days after the election, Ms. Bloch, 55, the organizer, helped pull together Takoma Park Mobilization, a new grass-roots group aimed at “standing up for our neighbors,” she said. More than 500 people attended the first meeting.
Block may be calling for federal workers to refuse to obey the incoming administration.
They have since divided themselves into committees and subcommittees, with titles like “Immigration” and “Women” and “Civil Rights,” and have been holding weeknight meetings in the firehouse and the airy historical society headquarters, next door to Bikram Yoga and down the street from the food co-op. Next up: sessions aimed at liberal civil servants agonizing about whether to quit their jobs.
“It may be better for us for people to stay,” Ms. Bloch said, “and figure out how to resist within the system.”
Stolberg didn’t push back on this racial paranoia:
In northeast Washington, a heavily African-American quadrant of the city, such discussions seemed ludicrous; people there don’t plan to protest. They just want to stay out of harm’s way. On a snowy Saturday morning at Perfection Unisex Salon, the stylist Chante Watts, 37, urged some of her clients, who are teachers, to come in for cuts on Inauguration Day. They all intend to stay home.
She was running a hot comb through the hair of Chris Vera, who helped explain why. Ms. Vera, 32 and a city employee, has been asked to help with the inaugural; she fears violence will erupt that day. “Nobody wants to be within a 10-mile radius,” she said. “Nobody’s feeling quite safe.”