Politics

Trump’s Inaugural Parade Is Becoming Its Own Controversy

Some don’t want anything to do with the affair

The inaugural parade in 2013 after President Barack Obama took the oath of office. (Molly Riley/ AFP file photo)

Back the right horse, and you may get to ride one in the president’s parade. 

Twenty-four of the 34 local groups chosen to perform at Donald Trump’s inaugural parade later this month come from counties the president-elect won, a Roll Call analysis found.

The selected organizations, ranging from high school bands to mounted law enforcement officers, will come from 22 states to march from the U.S. Capitol to the White House after Trump is officially sworn in on Jan. 20.

There will also be six national groups — including the Boy Scouts of America and the Disabled American Veterans — and representation from each military branch.

The parade, which began in 1873 with the inauguration of President Ulysses S. Grant, has historically served as a way for incoming presidents to make a statement, according to the White House Historical Association. Abraham Lincoln, for example, invited blacks to march for the first time during his procession.

It’s unclear if the president-elect’s inaugural committee intentionally included more Trump supporters, or if there was a greater interest in performing from pro-Trump areas of the country. A request for comment from the Presidential Inaugural Committee was not returned as of press time.

Either way, lingering animosity toward the president-elect has found its way to the parade route, with a number of controversies already emerging.

Days after the election, free speech advocates argued in court that protesters should be allowed to demonstrate along restricted spaces on the parade route. The case was filed before Trump’s victory, according to The Washington Post, but one of the restricted areas is sidewalk space outside Trump’s Washington hotel, which sits on Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House.

Marching bands have also come under scrutiny for their decisions to be associated with the parade — or not.

A historically black college in Alabama took nearly a week before it announced Thursday its band would accept an invitation to play in Trump’s parade. Talladega College President Billy Hawkins received two petitions — one voicing concerns about participating and another encouraging the school to perform there — before ultimately deciding to attend.

“We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade,” Hawkins said in a statement. “As many of those who chose to participate in the parade have said, we feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.”

Unlike Talladega College, none of the D.C. public school marching bands applied to perform in the parade for the first time in at least 20 years, NBC4 Washington reported. The band at the historically black Howard University in Washington played during President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, but its director hinted that Trump was a reason for the sudden lack of local interest.

“I think everybody knows why and no one wants to say and lose their job,” John Newson told NBC4.

More than 90 percent of voters in Washington, D.C., supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has signaled that this year’s parade could be significantly shorter. Alex Stroman, deputy director of communications for the committee, told Breitbart News that attendees can expect a 60- to 90-minute parade.

Obama’s first parade stretched over two hours, though his second was shorter.

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