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Some of Trump’s fiercest foes will attend inauguration

Top: Senator John McCain, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Bottom: Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama.Wire images

While many leading politicians have pledged to sit out President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, others say they will attend — including some of his fiercest critics on both sides of the political aisle.

In a campaign season that was marked by acrimony and by profane language many never expected to hear amid political discourse, Trump made enemies of a beauty queen, a Gold Star military family, and a federal judge.

But many of those he fought most fiercely are current and former elected officials, including some he will have to work with over the next four and possibly eight years.


Hillary and Bill Clinton

First on any list of Trump critics would have to be Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee who fiercely jousted with the Republican in three televised debates and in months on the campaign trail, before losing her bid to be the nation’s first female president in Trump’s upset victory.

Clinton and her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, have said they will attend the inauguration, following the tradition for former presidents and their spouses, despite many months of acrimony and a devastating electoral loss.

During the campaign, Trump nicknamed Clinton “Crooked Hillary,” an appellation he used many times on the campaign trail and in his tweets about his opponent.

In July, as Clinton accepted her party’s nomination, she said Trump was unfit to lead the country.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,’’ she said. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

The next morning, Trump went on a Twitter tirade that criticized her and other Democratic Convention speakers.

At an August speech in Pennsylvania, Trump went so far as to call Clinton “the devil,” and in the final debate he referred to her as ‘‘such a nasty woman.’’


Bill Clinton has also had plenty to say about Trump, and little of it has been positive. In December, he told a newspaper that Trump ‘‘doesn’t know much’’ and went on to say, ‘‘One thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him.’’

Naturally, Trump fired back.

Barack and Michelle Obama

Bill Clinton won’t be the only former president on the inaugural stage who has a dim view of Trump.

Outgoing President Barack Obama criticized Trump, after the public release of a 2005 video recording of Trump making crude remarks about sexually assaulting women, saying the real estate developer lacks self-confidence.

‘‘He’s insecure enough that he pumps himself up by putting other people down,’’ Obama said.

A few days later, Obama said Trump was not only unqualified for the nation’s highest office, but unfit even to work at a convenience store.

‘‘The guy says stuff nobody would find tolerable if they were applying for a job at 7-Eleven,’’ Obama said.

As is often the case, Trump attacked first.

Beginning in 2011, Trump vigorously promoted untrue claims that Obama was born outside the United States and frequently called for him to release his birth certificate, a line of attack that many saw as a racist attempt to delegitimize the nation’s first African-American president.

After Obama made public his “long-form’’ birth certificate proving he was born in Hawaii, Trump continued to question the document.


Trump finally relented in September, days before his first debate with Clinton, making a brief statement in which he falsely accused Clinton of starting the “birther” rumor during her 2008 primary campaign against Obama.

‘‘Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,’’ Trump said. ‘‘I finished it, you know what I mean.’’

There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign spread questions about Obama’s birthplace during their 2008 primary, though fact-checkers have found that some Clinton supporters promoted the rumor.

Trump also declined to rebuke a man at a September 2015 New Hampshire town hall who falsely said that Obama is a Muslim and in a June 2016 appearance on “Fox and Friends” appeared to suggest that Obama sympathized with Islamic terrorists. Two months later, Trump went even further, calling Obama “the founder of ISIS.”

First Lady Michelle Obama has also criticized Trump. In a heartfelt speech in New Hampshire, she expressed her horror at the 2005 tape of Trump’s crude remarks about womenthat had become public days earlier.

“This is not something that we can ignore,” Michelle Obama said. “It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a “lewd conversation.” This wasn’t just locker-room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.”


Elizabeth Warren

While the Clintons and Obamas often appeared to simply brush off Trump’s jabs, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren regularly went on the attack, deriding Trump in language that was forceful and unambiguous. Warren confirmed Tuesday that she would attend the inauguration.

Warren is nearly as fond of Twitter as a platform for public discussion as Trump is, and the two have often exchanged barbed tweets. Last May, Trump attacked Warren, whom he often referred to as “goofy,” claiming she hadn’t accomplished anything since taking office and reviving a controversy about Warren’s claims of having Native American ancestors.

Warren, never one to back down from a fight, fired back a little later that afternoon.

Paul Ryan

Democrats are a Republican’s natural adversaries, of course, but Trump hasn’t only had conflicts with members of the rival party.

Throughout the campaign, Trump had also a contentious relationship with the nation’s second most prominent Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who criticized Trump’s scorched-earth style of politics in March — without naming him — and expressed unease over Trump’s call for a Muslim ban and slow disavowal of a white supremacist.

Trump, in turn, hesitated for months to endorse as Ryan faced a primary challenge from the right.


Ryan told Republicans in October, after the 2005 tape of Trump became public, that he would no longer campaign for the nominee and would not defend him.

Trump responded then by saying, ‘‘I don’t want his support, I don’t care about his support.” He also called Ryan ‘‘weak and ineffective.’’

Since the election, Trump and Ryan have both said they have moved beyond their past disagreements and have spoken well of each other.

John McCain

Trump has also had a public feud with Senator John McCain, first exchanging harsh words with the Arizona Republican shortly after announcing his candidacy in the summer of 2015.

McCain apparently irked the New York businessman when he said Trump’s controversial comments about immigrants had ‘‘fired up the crazies.” Trump retorted that the Arizona Republican was ‘‘a dummy.”

Then, in an Iowa campaign appearance, Trump criticized McCain’s military record, saying the 2008 Republican nominee and former prisoner of war was a ‘‘war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.’’

A year later, McCain was sharply critical of Trump’s remarks about the parents of a Muslim Army captain who was killed in the line of duty.

“While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us,” McCain said in a statement.

As with Ryan, Trump was slow to endorse McCain, and McCain withdrew his endorsement of Trump after the release of the tape in which Trump said he grabbed women by the genitals.

“Donald Trump’s behavior this week, concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy,” McCain said in a statement.

A few days later, Trump referred back to his slow endorsement of McCain.

McCain has remained critical of Trump since the election, saying a reset of the US relationship with Russia would be “unacceptable” and rejecting Trump’s embrace of waterboarding suspected terrorists. Whether Trump will seek warmer relations with McCain or his other critics within in his party remains to be seen.

Material from the Associated Press and from pool reports was used in this report. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.