Donald Trump attends pre-inaugural events in Washington

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An enthusiastic crowd and a smiling Donald Trump stood with his family at the free Lincoln Memorial concert that was part of the pre-inauguration events Thursday. (WLS)

Donald Trump wrapped up his evening events and returned to Blair House, where he will spend the night. Staying at the presidential guesthouse on inauguration eve is a time-honored tradition, capping off a very busy day.

Trump landed in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning. His first official order of business was a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. He then attended a free public concert at the Lincoln memorial, which featured country star Toby Keith, soul's Sam Moore, actor Jon Voight and The Piano Guys. Also performing: Lee Greenwood, DJ RaviDrums, 3 Doors Down, and The Frontmen of Country, featuring Tim Rushlow, Larry Stewart and Richie McDonald.

It won't include singer Jennifer Holliday, originally announced as one of the headliners. She backed out after an outcry from Trump critics. A number of other entertainment A-listers like Garth Brooks and Elton John refused invitations to perform.

"In a way it's a shame or them that they are taking themselves out of the box for performing for the next president of the United States. Folks that are here are fans of what Hollywood produces too. It makes sense to produce shows for everybody and not just those who agree with you politically," said Richard Porter, Illinois Republican National Committeeman.
The last event of Trump's evening was a candlelit dinner at historic Union Station for his biggest donors. He thanked supporters and told them why he think he won.

"I outworked everybody. I think I outworked anybody who's ever run for office. We outworked them three, four, five speeches a day," he said.

There were half a dozen black-tie galas throughout the capital Thursday night. For Illinoisans, the designated event was the Heartland Ball which also hosted people from Missouri, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Attendees were mostly Republicans, optimistic about the next President, but there were some Democrats too who were celebrating and supportive of the democratic process.

Somewhere between 800,000 and 1 million people are expected to attend the inauguration. Organizers are also expecting a possibly record number of protesters.

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A pre-inauguration concert began Thursday afternoon after Donald Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and began the weekend's inauguration celebrations.



Another of Illinois' 11 Democratic House members joined the inauguration boycott. Congressman Danny Davis (IL-7) said he will not attend due to "constituency considerations." More than 60 congresspeople are staying home in protest.

While political consultant David Axelrod doesn't agree with the boycott, he thinks the new president should take heed and use his inaugural words wisely.

"He has not made a great effort to reach out beyond his base, so this is a signal. If I were him, I would take this as an opportunity to speak to those people who aren't here to see the inauguration and let them know he wants to be their president too," Axelrod said.

Security is tight as more and more people flow into Washington, both supporters and demonstrators who all want to be a part of Friday.

"There are going to be masses of people showing up here, it's gonna be fun. As you know, we had to walk a mile and a half just to get to this interview because of the street closures and traffic is immeasurably difficult right now," said Tim Schneider, Illinois Republican Party chairman.

Before departing for Washington, Trump announced his final Cabinet choice: former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary. Spokesman Sean Spicer said the president-elect was continuing to make "edits and additions" to the inaugural address he'll deliver at Friday's swearing-in.

As cabinet nominees continued to be questioned on Capitol Hill, Trump said at a noon leadership luncheon, "We have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet assembled."

WHAT TRUMP'S FIRST DAYS COULD BRING
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Trump?s aides suggest that within hours of Trump?s inauguration he could reverse President Obama?s executive orders on immigration.



Trump's aides suggest that within hours of Trump's inauguration he could reverse President Obama's executive orders on immigration. By the stroke of a pen, Trump could increase deportations by 75 percent with an immediate focus on illegal immigrants with criminal convictions.

He could order increased workplace raids by federal agents, sharply reduce the numbers of refugees entering the U.S. legally and put tougher restrictions from countries he thinks spawn terrorists.

Wednesday President Obama listed reasons he would publicly oppose Trump, including if the new president tried to reverse protections for "DREAMers," the foreign-born children of undocumented immigrants.

"If I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. Efforts to roundup kids who have grown up here and send them someplace else," Obama said at his final news conference.

Trump has indicated he will not issue executive orders during his first weekend as president, but by Monday will being work to undo the Affordable Care Act. Repealing and replacing the law will require votes in Congress that Trump promised during his campaign would happen in the first 100 days.

He has also avowed to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with Great Britain, roll back energy regulations to restore the coal industry, and to push through a $1 trillion public/private infrastructure plan.

On Thursday, President Obama issued his final batch of commutations, reducing the federal prison sentences of 300 more inmates. Former governor Rod Blagojevich did not make the cut.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN TRUMP SUPPORTERS HAVE HIGH HOPES
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Black voters in the Chicago area who voted for Donald Trump explain their reasoning and hopes for the next president.


Some African-American Republicans from the Chicago area spoke about their support for Trump, and their hopes for his administration.

"The quality of life for black people is going to increase dramatically because he's going to treat black people like white people," said Charles Butler, conservative voter.

On the eve of the inauguration, Butler said Trump will be good for black America.

"Why don't we go ask Rev. Jackson why he gave Donald Trump, in 1999, a lifetime achievement award for his help with African Americans? Why don't we start there? Donald Trump has always supported African Americans," he said.

Unlike a majority of black America, the conservative radio talk show host is one of several black Republicans in the Chicago area who support Trump, despite his assertions that the nation's first black President wasn't born here and his recent Twitter feud with Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis.

"I'm not scared of what Donald Trump is planning to do," said Jeffery Coleman, Republican voter.

A former Calumet Township Republican Committeeman, whose father is co-chair of the Chicago GOP, Coleman said Trump was not his first choice but said his presidency is a chance of a lifetime, politically, for black people.

"One party is no good for anybody. The opportunity is good for us regardless of the rhetoric, or the fear," Coleman said.

These black conservatives remain convinced that African Americans are actually not better off, blaming the Democratic Party and, in particular, illegal immigration, which they said is a major cause of high black unemployment.

"I think this will be a very interesting four years. If he accomplishes two goals, primarily two goals: the strengthening of education within our black communities and economic development," said George Pearson, co-founder of the Illinois Black Tea Party.

And while it is still unclear just how a Trump administration will address the issues that continue to plague black communities, these black conservatives who support Trump remain optimistic about his promise of a new deal for black America.

"Donald Trump is going to open that door so that black people who want something can get something," Butler said.

The black conservatives who spoke with ABC 7 Eyewitness News said, at this point, they're not too concerned with the lack of details about how the Trump administration will address the issues that plague black communities; they're just waiting to see if he does what he said he will do.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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