Trump takes oath, promises to fight for American interest
Donald John Trump was sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, taking office on a day that has featured smaller crowds and more subdued ceremony than previous inaugurations — but still ushers in a transformative shift in the country’s leadership.
Trump, 70, was administered the oath by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. His wife Melania Trump stood at his side. The oath was given using two Bibles — one from President Lincoln’s inauguration, and another that Trump’s mother gave him in 1955.
Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming that with his victory, “the United States of America is your country.” With now former president Obama and three previous presidents watching from behind him, Trump seemed to condemn them as unfaithful to the popular will, saying that his inauguration signaled that “the people” would rule the country again.
“Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” he said. He continued: “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost… Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.”
Trump’s speech struck an unusually pessimistic tone — especially for a president who took office at a time of broad economic prosperity. Trump condemned the “American carnage” of crime, and said “wealth, strength and confidence had dissipated” because of jobs lost overseas.
“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree… from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First. America first!,” Trump said. This two-word slogan, used heavily in Trump’s campaign, had previously been infamous in U.S. history, as the slogan of isolationist forces opposed to American entry in World War II. Trump had used it as an economic message.
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American factories,” Trump said.
Earlier on Friday morning, Trump met with Obama at the White House — an Inauguration Day tradition, made more unusual this time by the two men’s history.
Trump, a real estate businessman and reality-TV star, began his rise in conservative politics by essentially calling Obama a liar and an illegitimate president: Trump insisted for years that Obama was born in Kenya. Obama was actually born in Hawaii, as Trump conceded late in the 2016 campaign. Obama, in turn, had mocked Trump at a televised White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2011.
Around them, there were sporadic clashes between police and protesters around Washington. In several instances, news video showed black-clad protesters — some carrying symbols of “anarchist” groups — smashing shop windows and overturning newspaper boxes.