Everyone stands when the president enters the room.
It’s protocol, a deserved sign of respect for the office and the American people who select its occupant.
As Donald J. Trump stands at the West Front of the Capitol on Friday and swears an oath, he deserves every ounce of that respect — for as long as he is in office.
He won’t be everybody’s friend or hero, but he will be everybody’s president.
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Plenty of people have reason to doubt and distrust.
Dozens of members of Congress planned to boycott the inauguration after Trump disparaged civil rights legend and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
Hundreds of thousands of women plan a march in Washington on Saturday — while perhaps as many more show solidarity in similar marches in cities across the U.S., including Fort Worth.
Organizers say marchers want to express “concern and fear” about campaign rhetoric from Trump that “insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault …”
Others still disagree with, even dispute, the results of November’s election. But the election is over.
Trump’s a businessman and a showman. All we’ve had to judge him by are his business (he’s done very well for himself) and his words — which, like those of any showman, are crafted to draw attention.
After the oath, his deeds push everything else to the background. What he says still counts, but what he does or fails to do counts even more.
No one should take that to heart more than the nation’s news media.
Trump has been openly hostile to the press for many months. He has clashed head to head with reporters from some of the nation’s largest news organizations.
Trump doesn’t need the news media to transmit his words to the public, long a traditional role of the press. He has Twitter and other social media for that.
Far more important is the news media’s role in reporting the accomplishments, mistakes, deeds and misdeeds behind those words.
Trump may label unfavorable stories as fake news, but the people of America can judge by his deeds whether they will still respect him four years from now.