What an incredible day. Now it’s time to get America back on track. Who’s with us?
Donald Trump promise to put America first as he took the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States on Friday.
Mr Trump didn’t let the threat of Washington, D.C. rain showers spoil his inauguration, the long-time-coming culmination of an improbable political revolution that shows no sign of letting up.
The brash billionaire capped off a three-day parade of dinners, speeches, prayers and a concert with pomp and circumstance in front of the U.S. capitol as hundreds of thousands of Americans who he has said were ‘forgotten’ during the Obama years cheered him on.
The 45th president’s hated ‘dishonest media’ watched as storm clouds threatened, along with four former presidents, most of the U.S. Congress and a sea of ‘Make America Great Again’ devotees.
The sea of faces on the National Mall was dotted with red caps, Trump’s signature campaign items bearing that slogan, itself an artifact from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.
When Trump was introduced, he turned and faced the crowd, smiled, and offered a wave.
Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who headed the inaugural committee in the Congress, told the nation: ‘What we do here is both commonplace and miraculous.’
Blunt called it ‘not a celebration of victory,’ but ‘a celebration of democracy.’
Other senators visible on the balcony overlooking reporters included West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who met with Trump at Trump Tower, and Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina.
Burr will oversee a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian election-year hacking.
Across the balcony to the south, House Appropriations chair Harold Rogers of Kentucky, who will oversee funding of Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, picked a prominent standing position.
Standing next to Rogers was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who had been a candidate for secretary of state.
A U.S. Marine Corps band played Sousa marches. Chants of ‘U.S.A.!’ broke out. Cheers erupted when when the vice-president elect, Mike Pence, was announced, among the standing-room crowd stretching more than a mile to the west.
And as giant TV screens flashed mobs of Americans their first glimpse of the new president behind the scenes, a rock concert-like whoop went up. Before he was introduced, screams of ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ reverberated on a scale even he has never seen or heard.
Among Trump’s living predecessors, only George H.W. Bush failed to make the trip, owing to his hospitalization in Texas. He sent his regrets to Trump, writing that his doctor warned sitting outside in the cold would put him ‘six feet under.’
Standing on the dais were his son, George W. Bush; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton; and Barack Obama.
Trump’s crowd applauded the outgoing chief executive of the U.S., audibly surprising some members of the media whose seats were far to the front.
They were less kind to Sen. Charles Schumer, the newly minted Democratic minority leader. As his speech stretched beyond their patience, they broke into shouts of ‘We want Trump!’
Obama and the former first lady released a video message Friday morning, saying they would take a break from public life and ‘sit still for a little bit’ as they become private citizens again.
The message was an appeal for supporters to weigh in on the future of the Obama Presidential Center on the south side of Chicago.
Clinton’s wife, the Democrat whom Trump defeated soundly in the Electoral College more than ten weeks ago, also participated Friday in America’s peaceful transition of power.
Some Democrats, including many in Congress, have questioned that decision, saying it tended to normalize the incoming president when their party should be ostracizing him.
But she gamely attended in a white pantsuit, alongside Bill and their daughter Chelsea, smiling for cameras during an appearance she never thought she would make without hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ played in her honor.
Clinton won points from a former adversary for bucking up for the occasion.
‘I think it takes a lot to show up in that situation after the kind of campaign that was run against her,’ said Tad Devine, a top advisor to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton in the Democratic primaries.
Devine spoke to The Hill newspaper.
Trump castigated Mrs. Clinton repeatedly as ‘Crooked Hillary,’ interrupting her during debates and projecting a generally belligerent attitude as he unseated the would-be first female president.
Even in victory, he has thrown a few shoulders.
Thursday night during a candlelight dinner at Washington’s Union Station, Trump jabbed at the Clinton campaign for planning a fireworks display in New York City when they thought they had the presidency locked up.
Ultimately, Team Clinton canceled its fireworks permit as Election Day closed in.
‘They spent $7 million on fireworks. And they canceled it – and that’s because history has proven that if you’re going to lose, you don’t want fireworks, right?’ Trump joked.
Trump’s sprawling family, the most visible sign of his softer side as he stumped for the White House, were out in force Friday.
Wife Melania, daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, and sons Don Jr., Eric and Barron beamed, along with three spouses and assorted Trump grandchildren.
Ivanka Trump’s power-husband, real estate investor Jared Kushner, will soon move into a White House office to become a ‘senior adviser’ to the president.
The wealthy and well-connected Orthodox Jew – Ivanka converted before their wedding – is expected to have a broad foreign-policy portfolio that includes a Middle-East peace mission to reconcile Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Trump relied heavily on Kushner’s counsel during the campaign. He said Thursday night during a candlelight dinner at Washington’s Union Station that ‘all my life I’ve been hearing that’s the toughest deal in the world to make. And I’ve seen it.’