It seems that few celebrities wish to be associated on Friday with Donald J at his inauguration. Garth Brooks, Aretha Franklin and Andrea Bocelli have already publicly declined, despite the offer of Ambassadorships; ‘B’ listers are scurrying to cover behind the ornate gowns of the Mormon Tabarnacle Choir; the admirable Charlotte Church has replied to Trump’s invitation in piquant, Welsh tones. There is now a frantic search by organisers for suitable invertebrate to fill spaces.
Step forward Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York who will give the Trump Presidency his imprimatur. The term ‘Far Right’, when used to describe religious leaders in the States, usually implies the anti-gay , Pentecostalist neo-cons who are the heartbeat of the Republican Tea Party groups. As conservatives go , Timothy Dolan is out there with them. When Dolan was chosen to be President of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, it may have surprised many educated American Catholics but it underlined the drift of the Church to the right. Last year, a gathering of US religious Right Groups at the UN, in partnership with some of the World’s most repressive regimes such as Uganda, lobbied against any recognition for the human rights of lesbian and gay people. They were assured of the enthusiastic support of Archbishop Dolan. Scarcely the message we are getting these days from Pope Francis.
On joining Trump’s jamboree, he will have the encouragement of many Irish Americans, descendants of the ‘Democrats for Reagan’, who voted in droves for this racist abomination. A Gortahork friend has expressed his deep disgust at the volume of support given to Trump by Donegal folk. The Archbishop could happily discuss shady deals with Donald; when he was Bishop of Milwaukee, it was reported in the US media that Dolan sought and received permission from the Vatican to move $57m into a Cemetery Trust Fund where it would be safely beyond the reach of victims , claiming compensation for sexual abuse by priests.
He will not be the sole clergy rep, honouring the occasion; joining him will be Paula White , a ‘prosperity Gospel preacher. Trump thoroughly approves of her religious message – ‘God wants people to be rich and he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing and favour; the richer you are, the more God loves you’. Her ministry has been described as the Church version of Trump University.
Trump will be thrice blessed by a colourful gaggle of the Right at the swearing-in ceremony. But what about the entertainment show? What is this narcissistic braggadocio to do?
Pussy-Riot, perhaps? How about it , Vlad?