Vowing to the working class voters that elected him that “you will never be ignored again,” real estate magnate Donald Trump Friday became the nation’s 45th president.
In a 16- minute speech that painted a dire vision of today’s America and that closely echoed many of the themes he emphasized during his campaign, , Trump vowed to transfer power from Washington, D.C. and give it to the people as well as to make every decision on trade, taxes, immigration and foreign policy to benefit American workers and American families.
“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Trump, the oldest man in American history to be inaugurated president, entered the west front of the Capitol building with its panoramic view of the Mall down to the Lincoln Memoria, flashing a thumbs-up, giving a kiss to First Lady Michelle Obama and shaking hands with President Barack Obama.
Before an unusual gathering of former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who Trump defeated in the November election -- Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Trump, whose path to the presidency initially looked improbable, with him never once having held public office in his life.
Although Trump issued some calls for unity by saying “we share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny,” his speech sometimes sounded like a campaign speech, opposing to many international trade agreements and a foreign policy that sounded distinctly isolationist.
Standing on the dais in front of D.C.’s elite – he stood in front of cabinet officials, congressmen and senators – Trump argued that “for too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
“Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth,” he said. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”
He said the nation has enriched foreign industry at the expense of U.S. industry as well as paid for the armies of other countries while allowing “for the very sad depletion of our military.”
‘We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon,” he said. “ One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.”
He vowed that “from this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”
The event, which includes all the pomp a democracy can muster, normally serves as an orderly transfer of power from one president to the next. And while there have been strained moments in the past — outgoing President Harry Truman and incoming President Dwight Eisenhower barely spoke to each other as they rode to the 1953 inauguration — the nation has not seen such divisions since the height of the Vietnam War in 1969.
Not only did Trump lose the popular vote to Clinton, but he has riled longtime allies in Europe with his blunt talk that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has helped keep Europe peaceful in the aftermath of World War II, is "obsolete." He has threatened to impose steep tariffs on goods imported to the United States from China and Mexico, a move that could save factory jobs but raise consumer prices for many Americans.
“He is an embarrassment as a person, for the values and the policies he stands for,” said Randy Abramson, 57, who is from Toledo and now lives in Washington. “We just have to make it known that this is our country and this is what we stand for. I think this is kind of a wake-up call for all of us to stay informed and stay on top of stuff and let our elected officials know what’s happening.”
But even as hundreds of protesters marched throughout the streets, they were dwarfed by the number of Trump supporters. Both when Clinton and New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer took the stage, there were scattered boos from the National Mall, with an occasional shout of “Lock her up.”
Libby Oberlin from Mansfield said it was the first inauguration she had ever “thought about attending.”
“I love Trump,” she said. I love his political incorrectness. I love how he tells how it is. I love how he says God Bless America. He’s not scared to say God,” adding “I can’t wait for him to get in there.”
“I keep telling people it’s going to a fun four years,” she said. “It’s going to be a fun ride. And I can’t wait to ride this with him.”
But Trump’s detractors were in force as well. As Trump took the oath of office, a group of protestors sitting near the front stood up and screamed the preamble to the Constitution. They were later removed by police.
And just blocks from the swearing-in, a few dozen protestors marched. Many will be back on Saturday for a scheduled woman’s march, including Amanda Wolfson of St. Paul, Minn.
“I teach German history,” she said. “So I think about all the people who didn’t stand up in the 1930s. I don’t want to say that was me.”
According to the Washington Post, some 90 protestors were arrested a few miles from Trump's swearing-in, with anarchists armed with crowbars and hammers marching through the city's streets.
The day started relatively peacefully. Earlier in the day, a limousine carrying Trump arrived at the White House about 9:40. Obama waved and said "how are you" as Trump emerged from the car in dark suit and red tie. Wife Melania wore a powder blues dress and matching heels.
She carried a matching colored box containing a present, which Obama carried inside after exchanges of handshakes and kisses.
Later, the White House residence staff presented the president and first lady with two flags that have been flown over the White House: one from the first day of the Presidency and one flown the morning of the last day of the Obama presidency.The group attended a luncheon in Congress immediately after the swearing-in. The inaugural parade is set for later this afternoon, with one Ohio group – the Cleveland Police Mounted Unit – scheduled to participate.
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