RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Also in the studio with us is NPR's Scott Detrow. Scott, we are awaiting an historic moment, the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States. It is a sober moment. It is a solemn moment. We have not seen Donald Trump navigate this kind of tone before.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: That's right.
MARTIN: And inaugurations - there is usually a long list of people who give prayers...
MARTIN: ...At least a handful of people, religious faith leaders. Donald Trump has done the same. He's invited some faith leaders to the events today. What can you tell us about the people who will be praying?
DETROW: It's an interesting mix of people. And several of them were featured at high-profile moments over the course of the presidential campaign. One of those people is Pastor Wayne Jackson. He's a Detroit-area pastor, and he is the head of a black church in Detroit. And Donald Trump went to visit his church in early September. This was a period where Donald Trump and his campaign were working very hard to be on script, to tone things down a bit to try and grow their base and appeal to Republicans who didn't want to vote for Hillary Clinton, were wary of him but looking for a reason to get on board. So Trump visited his church.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DONALD TRUMP: You do right every day by your community and your families. You raise children in the light of God. I will always support your church - always - and defend your right to worship.
DETROW: One of the most toned-down moments of Donald Trump's campaign. Wayne Jackson is one of a couple people who will be on the stage today who kind of come from the prosperity gospel part of the religious world...
MARTIN: This is...
DETROW: ...Making the argument that, you know, being rich - being wealthy is not incompatible with Christianity and might even be a sign that you are a good Christian.
MARTIN: Yes, that you are in fact blessed.
There will also be, I understand, a rabbi?
DETROW: That'll be - that's Marvin Hier, the first rabbi to take part in an inaugural ceremony since 1985.
MARTIN: There will be some notable people who are not in attendance today - right? - a growing list of House Democrats, in particular, who have decided to sit this out.
DETROW: We're approaching about 70 Democrats at this point, a little under 70 House Democrats.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Those numbers have just been growing. I mean...
GREENE: ...How big a deal is this if you put this in historic perspective?
DETROW: It became a much bigger deal over the last few days, starting this weekend when Representative John Lewis said that he was not going to go to the ceremony because he didn't view Trump as legitimate, talking about the Russian influence of the election, the hacking efforts that allegedly came from Russia.
Donald Trump responded to that, as he often does, by attacking John Lewis. And then he...
GREENE: Aggressively. Like, he - like, Donald Trump had some options there.
GREENE: He could have just sort of said - I don't know, kind of taken a high road and said, you know - Congressman, it's disappointing you're not coming to this peaceful transition of power. But I mean, he really went after Congressman Lewis, which seemed to anger a lot of people.
DETROW: And I think the one thing that he said that really upset people was saying that John Lewis was all talk and no action. He said this about a civil rights icon on Martin Luther King weekend. So the number of representatives skipping the inaugural basically doubled at that point in time. Earlier this week, it was in the 30s, and it's just been growing since. It is notable that no senators are skipping the event, and President Obama will be there. Hillary Clinton will be there in her role as a former first lady.
GREENE: Not just there but, I mean, up near where Donald Trump will be delivering this inaugural address - I mean, you can't imagine what that will be like for her.
DETROW: Definitely within camera shot. And I think many cameras will be cutting to Hillary Clinton to see how she responds during his inaugural address.
MARTIN: We should mention George H.W. Bush will not be in attendance. He is still recovering in hospital. But he sent a lovely note to Donald Trump, did he not?
DETROW: He did. George H.W. Bush has kind of perfected the art of sending the nice note. And he sent this. It was released earlier this week saying, you know, I'd love to be there. But if I sit outside in January, the doctor says that will put me six feet under. But I'm thinking of you, and I'm thinking of the country.
GREENE: All right. Scott Detrow, thanks so much for being here this morning and staying with us throughout the morning. We appreciate it.
DETROW: Thank you.
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