Rather than begin a healing process in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, NYC seems more divided than before.
Three early Trump selections — tea party Congressman Michael Pompeo as CIA director, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general — indicate he may govern as he campaigned. Flynn headed the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired in 2014, amid reports that his views on Islam and management style were disruptive. Sessions was rejected as a federal judge 30 years ago after being accused of racism. The selections suggest Trump might make good on his promise to deport immigrants here illegally and create a national Muslim registry. Both appall many New Yorkers, some of whom have repeatedly protested the election results, but draw praise from others.
The appointments were received with shrieks of disapproval by The New York Times. First, there was the misleading front page headline: “Firings and Discord Put Trump Transition Team in a State of Disarray.” Of Flynn, the Times editorialized: “Too Hotheaded for a Sensitive Position.”
Over at Police Plaza, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a news conference ostensibly to discuss police security at Trump Tower until inauguration. As police officials laid out plans, de Blasio, who days earlier said that in a private meeting he had lectured Trump about his immigration policy, continually interrupted to reiterate his opposition to Trump. Not for nothing did a Hillary Clinton staffer in a hacked email describe him as “insufferable.” Yet when in the past, de Blasio sounded self-serving, his rhetoric now seemed reassuring.
Then on Friday night while attending the play “Hamilton,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed by theatergoers as he took his seat. As Pence left the theater after the show, actor Brandon Victor Dixon directed his own gratuitous attack on Trump’s policies. “We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us . . . and uphold our inalienable rights.”
Trump couldn’t resist, tweeting that the cast had “harassed” Pence. “Apologize!” he wrote.
But Pence says no apology is necessary. Of the boos at the theater, he says, “that’s what freedom sounds like.”