I was sitting on the set of “Outnumbered,” ad-libbing for an hour as Donald Trump landed in Washington yesterday, when the visual struck me.
He and his family didn’t descend from the familiar blue-and-white Trump plane. They walked off a plane emblazoned with United States of America.
That, for me, made the transition of power real. The next time Trump gets on a plane, he will be saluting the lingering military folks as commander-in-chief. The nuclear codes will be traveling with him.
This is what it all comes down to. Nineteen months after coming down that Trump Tower escalator, the outsider given little chance by the media and political establishment will become the ultimate insider, the most powerful man on the planet.
And that’s why I find it particularly sad that 68 House Democrats are boycotting the peaceful transition of power. Which means, in the Beltway’s blood-feud culture, many Republicans are likely to be busy the next time a Democratic president is inaugurated.
For the 45th president, it is time to stand and deliver. As Barack Obama found, soaring campaign rhetoric doesn’t necessarily translate into effective governing.
Trump’s continuing warfare with the media may provide the backdrop for the next four years, but the country—especially those who voted for him—will be looking for results.
Can Trump generate plenty of good-paying jobs? Can he find a workable replacement for ObamaCare? Can he hammer out better trade deals? Can he get the wall built? Can he cut taxes and boost military spending and infrastructure spending without exploding the deficit?
And can he cut the necessary deals, not just with the Democrats but with the conservative wing of the GOP?
If Trump accomplishes some of those things, will the press begin treating him as a more “normal” president, rather than a dangerous one?
Or, if he gets mired in the Washington swamp, will the people who put him into office become disillusioned?
Trump may be our only president without political or military experience, but he is also, in a sense, the first independent president of the modern era, who wasn’t supported by the leaders of either party.
And he’s the first president with a powerful Twitter account, which helped get him elected but may be less useful at helping to forge the compromises that keep the wheels of government spinning.
And what will be the role of Melania, the nation’s second foreign-born first lady, who does not seek the political spotlight and, for now, is remaining behind at Trump Tower?
After Trump landed in the nation’s capital, the motorcade took him to his opulent new Trump hotel, the former Old Post Office Building. When everyone in the press was convinced that Hillary was going to win, the joke was that was the closest he’d get to sleeping on Pennsylvania Avenue. But on Friday night, Donald J. Trump will sleep in the white mansion five blocks to the west—and the country is in for quite a ride.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.