For all the local fans of President Donald Trump who couldn’t make it to last Friday’s inauguration, there’s a chance to catch a glimpse of him this week in Philadelphia.
And for all the Trump haters who gathered near Eakins Oval for Sunday’s Women’s March on Philadelphia, they’ll have a chance to voice their displeasure with him in their midst.
On Thursday, Trump will attend the Republican House Senate Leadership Conference at the Loews Hotel at 12th and Market streets. British Prime Minister Theresa May is also expected to attend.
Gary Grisafi — a musician, music teacher, ward leader and City Council aide from Castor Gardens — will be driving a car in the motorcade that will take Trump and his entourage from Philadelphia International Airport to the Center City hotel.
Grisafi, Republican leader of the 53rd Ward and an aide to Councilman Al Taubenberger, really wanted to attend the inauguration.
“I made so many phone calls,” he said.
In the end, Taubenberger secured tickets from U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, a Democrat who skipped the inauguration. Democratic Reps. Bob Brady and Brendan Boyle were also no shows.
Grisafi’s seats was an estimated 120 yards from the spot where Trump and Vice President Mike Pence took the oath of office. Big-screen televisions and a sound system helped.
“We had good seats,” he said. “It was nice. It was fun. It was a good experience. It was my first time in Washington.”
Grisafi, a former candidate for state representative and Council, is a big fan of Trump.
“I like him,” he said. “We need someone with business sense who can benefit the country. He knows how to negotiate and get things done.”
Other Northeast folks who made the trip to the inauguration included city GOP chairman Joe DeFelice, general counsel Mike Meehan, state Rep. Martina White and ward leaders Chris Vogler and Linwood Holland.
“I was inundated with requests,” DeFelice said of tickets.
DeFelice enjoyed being a spectator, though he did have a chance to chat up the local GOP’s efforts with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
“I wanted to pretty much take in everything,” he said.
DeFelice attended the Make America Great Again Welcome Concert at the Lincoln Memorial, listening to 3 Doors Down, Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood.
After the inauguration, his first, he watched the parade and attended the Liberty Ball with his wife, Rose.
Donald and Melania Trump and Mike and Karen Pence and their children visited the Liberty Ball, and DeFelice had a chance to see Floyd Mayweather, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Triple H.
“It was an excellent experience,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, re-elected in November, joined the festivities.
“My wife Kris and I wanted our older two children to witness this celebration of our democracy,” he said. “We brought Bridget and Patrick to the west front of the Capitol Building to see history first hand. I hope the sight of the three branches of our government, both parties, standing together, will teach them — and remind us all — that we were sent here to do the people’s work, to solve the problems we face, and to leave to our children a stronger, safer, more prosperous nation.”
Trump will be in town on Thursday, and among those not rolling out the welcome mat will be the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, headed by Northeast resident Pat Eiding.
The local AFL-CIO and others fear that Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will repeal Obamacare without providing an immediate replacement. The union will rally at 11 a.m. outside the Municipal Services Building.
Last Friday, as Trump was taking the oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, protesters gathered outside the statue of the late Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank L. Rizzo. Sings read “No Justice. No Peace. Jail the Police” and expressed support for Philadelphia being a “4th Amendment City” — Kenney’s politically correct name for sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.
The next day, an estimated 50,000 people gathered on and near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to protest Trump.
Mayor Jim Kenney was among those on hand.
Others carried signs, many with words not printable in a family newspaper. Other signs read, “Abort Trump,” “We Shall Over Comb” and “Snowflakes Create Avalanches.” Sean Hannity of Fox News has derided people who can’t seem to accept Trump’s win as “snowflakes.”
The local march was linked to the Women’s March on Washington, which attracted about 500,000 people.
There were hundreds of similar marches across the country and around the world.
Madonna generated a lot of news at the D.C. event for saying she thought “an awful lot about blowing up the White House” and using foul language on live TV.
The crowds locally, in D.C, and elsewhere represented diverse groups, though a Texas-based group was disinvited because its members are pro-life.
The marches called for an end to racial profiling and police brutality and expressed support for Muslims, minorities, refugees, sexual assault victims, immigrants, the LGBTQIA community, the disabled, the poor, abortion rights, paid family leave and the Equal Right Amendment.
Afterward, Trump tweeted, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”
People will be expressing their views, both for and against Trump, every day for the next four years. ••
City of Sisterly Love: Last Saturday, an estimated 50,000 people marched on Benjamin Franklin Parkway to protest Trump. The local march was linked to the Women’s March on Washington, which attracted about 500,000 people. PHOTO: JACK FIRNENO
Streets of Philadelphia: Protesters march down 15th Street next to City Hall on Friday as President Donald Trump took his oath of office in Washington, D.C. Various protests were held throughout Philadelphia, and around the world, over the weekend. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO