Tomorrow, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president (as you've probably heard). As part of the ceremony, he'll swear on the Bible—in this case, two Bibles. The president-elect announced earlier this week that he plans to use his own Bible in addition to the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln during his first inauguration in March of 1861.
The significance of Lincoln's Bible speaks for itself. As for Trump's own Bible, it's a Revised Standard Version he says his mother gave him when he graduated from Sunday school back in 1955.
Swearing on a Bible is a presidential inauguration tradition that goes back to George Washington. But not all presidents have chosen to swear on the Bible: Theodore Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams and Lydon B. Johnson are among those who didn't use a Bible in their inauguration ceremonies. Trump will be the fifth president, including Barack Obama, to swear on two Bibles.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will conduct the ceremony. Discuss
A Secret Service discrimination case that has spanned more than 20 years was settled out of court for $24 million yesterday.
More than 100 black Secret Service agents argued that the security agency discriminated against black people by promoting less-qualified candidates over them from 1995 to 2005. The lawsuit began during the Clinton administration and was foisted off and delayed for several years as administrations and heads of the Secret Service changed.
Ray Moore, the lead plaintiff in the case, was part of President Clinton's security team and recalled putting in a bid for promotion 200 times and never being successful. White agents trained by him were often successful in being promoted over him.
Other plaintiffs also said they experienced the same thing, being passed over by unexperienced white agents who had lower performance ratings.
They also said the agency allowed a system of racism, including calling foreign leaders under their protection the n-word and, but the agents were told not to complain for fear of ruining their careers.
The agency has agreed to the settlement, but admits to no wrongdoing and no guilt of having an institutional bias within the ranks.
Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary who oversees the Secret Service, had his agency reopen this case to find a resolution before President Obama's term ended. In a statement, he said: “I am pleased that we are able to finally put this chapter of Secret Service history behind us. Had the matter gone to trial, it would have required that we re-live things long past, just at a time when the Secret Service is on the mend.”
The claim began with eight original plaintiffs, who will each get up to $300,000.
As part of the settlement, the Secret Service will have a new hotline for agents to report incidents and those incidents will be tracked when it comes time for those people to be promoted. Discuss
According to House Republicans, President-elect Donald Trump would prefer to build what he has referred to as the "Great Wall" between Mexico and the United States with taxpayer money through Congress. According to a report by CNN, Trump's administration would send the wall through the appropriations process as early as April.
After CNN reported that Trump's administration would ask taxpayers to pay for the wall, Trump got on Twitter to clarify his administration's plan and blame the "dishonest news media" for falsely reporting it by leaving off the fact that Mexico would be paying back the money.
The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!
Chris Collins, the congressional liaison for the transition team, told CNN that Trump would be able to negotiate Trump Mexico paying the fees back:
When you understand that Mexico's economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play. ... On the trade negotiation side, I don't think it's that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it's in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall.
Asking Congress paying for the wall could lead to other problems within the federal government. Democrats could refuse to pass the spending budget with the inclusion of funds for the wall, which could potentially lead to a government shutdown.
Throughout his campaign Trump promised the wall would be made of concrete, steel and rebar and would be as high as ceilings, with a "big, beautiful door" for documented immigrants to walk through.
Experts have long said that the wall would be unrealistic and Trump himself has frequently vacillated, saying the wall would not be the entire border length or could even be a fence instead of a wall. Discuss
Yesterday, Puerto Rico's Congressional representative turned in a bill to allow the island as the 51st state by 2025.
The only question now is what would happen to the flag?
Puerto Rico has long debated whether it would remain somewhat independent as a commonwealth or if it would try for statehood.
Currently the island is in a dire financial crisis that has sent more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans to the States recently and left the country with $70 billion of debt, according to ABCNews. Jennifer Gonzalez, the island's representative, said that as a state, Puerto Rico would get about $10 billion of federal funds annually.
Puerto Ricans are unable to vote in presidential elections, have less representation in Congress, but they still pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while receiving less funding from the federal government.
Most recently in 2012, voters in Puerto Rico said that they wanted to change their status from being a commonwealth, but there was no clear consensus on where to go from there. Discuss
A newly released study by Pew Research Center found that 91 percent of the current U.S. Congress identify as Christian—a number that has not changed much in more than 50 years, despite its constituency's Christian identity declining.
Today, about 71 percent of people in the U.S. identify as Christian.
Researchers found that in 1961, members of the 87th Congress were 95 percent Christian.
Of the 293 Republicans in both houses of Congress, only two do not identify as Christian and are Jewish. The 242 Democrat members are still overwhelmingly Christian, but feature a bit more diversity in terms of religion. Eighty percent identify as Christian, along with 28 Jewish people, three Buddhists, 2 Hindu members, two Muslims, one Unitarian Universalist and one member who calls herself "religiously unaffiliated."
According to Pew, the 10 members who omit a religious affiliation are Democrats.
The disparity in the religious affiliations of Congressional members compared to their constituency is apparent in both overrepresentation and underrepresentation. Jewish people are 2 percent of the population, but 6 percent of Congress. People who say they're religiously unaffiliated have one member in all of Congress for representation, but are 23 percent of the U.S. population.
The associate director of research at Pew, Gregory Smith, told The New York Times that being religious may be politically advantageous.
“Lots of Americans tell us, with respect to the presidency, that it's important to them that the president share their religious beliefs,” he said. Discuss
Considering how turbulent the aftermath of November's election has been, some people may think that those who abstained from voting are probably regretting that choice right about now.
A Pew Research study tells a different story. It has found that 55 percent of the people who didn't vote in the last general election don't regret it and only 44 percent wish they had voted instead. The voter turnout was about the same, at 58 percent of eligible voters.
The newly released study found that the most popular reason for abstaining was that they didn't like either major party's candidate, closely followed by 25 percent who didn't think their votes would matter. Other less prominent, but still popular answers were not having registered, not having enough time or not being able to make it to the polls for some other reason.
Young people were also disproportionately non-voters. Americans under 30 only made up 16 percent of registered voters, but made up 41 percent of those who didn't vote.
Non-voters also had less formal education, with 53 percent having a high school diploma or less—only 32 percent of registered voters have high school education or less.
White people were less likely to be a nonvoter, 52 percent versus 70 percent of registered voters, and Hispanics and Latinos were 11 percent of the electorate, but 20 percent of nonvoters.
Most people who did vote said they would still vote for their candidate, but 8 percent of Gary Johnson's voters said they'd vote for someone else now. Discuss