Donald John Trump sworn in, marking a transformative shift in America’s leadership

January 21, 2017 3:00 am
Donald John Trump was sworn today as the 45th president of , taking office on a day that featured smaller crowds and more subdued ceremony than previous inaugurations – but still ushered 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.

President delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 45th president of the . Photo / AP

Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming that with his victory, “the United States of America is your country”.

“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, DC, and giving it back to you, the people,” he said.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 signalled that “the people” would rule the country again.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital 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 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.

President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama arrive for Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Photo / AP

Earlier, 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 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.
Now, they met at the White House door, one going in and one going out.
The two men and their wives took a motorcade to the US Capitol, through empty streets.
Around them, there were sporadic clashes between police and protesters around Washington. In several instances, video showed black-clad protesters – some carrying symbols of “anarchist” groups – smashing shop windows and overturning newspaper boxes.

President Donald Trump takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, as his wife Melania holds the bible, and with his children Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany. Photo / AP

Earlier in the day, the Trumps attended a service at St John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, continuing an Inauguration Day tradition. One of the preachers was Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist minister who is pastor of a Dallas megachurch, and who has made inflammatory condemnations of both Mormonism and Islam in the past.
Jeffress, who grew close to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, said on Twitter that his sermon would be entitled, “When God Chooses a Leader”. Trump left the service about 9.30am. He mouthed “Thank you” to supporters as he climbed into an SUV.
Before Trump and Vice President Mike Pence took their respective oaths, Republican senator Roy Blunt – who oversaw inauguration preparations on Capitol Hill – offered a brief speech praising the American tradition of peaceful transfer of power.


“Commonplace and miraculous,” Blunt called it, recalling the early, key transitions between early American presidents of different parties. That made inauguration ceremonies, Blunt said, “not a celebration of victory, [but] a celebration of democracy”.
After that, a series of Christian ministers offered Bible verses and prayers. Samuel Rodriguez, a California minister, chose to read from the Sermon on the Mount, including Jesus’ promise that “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the earth”.
President Trump will attend a luncheon at the Capitol before his inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. That parade is supposed to last about 90 minutes – which would make it one of the shortest in recent history.

People stand on the National Mall to listen to the 58th Presidential Inauguration for President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Photo / AP

Signs of the transfer of power were evident throughout the morning.
Before 9.30am local time (3.30am NZT), TV footage showed Obama leaving the Oval Office for the last time, before he and the first lady held a pre-inauguration tea with the Trumps. Obama smiled as he walked down an exterior hallway, in view of cameras. “Any last words for the American people?” a member of the press called out. “Thank you,” Obama said.
Soon after, the Trumps arrived at the White House, greeting the Obamas and presenting them with a gift – a box wrapped in the distinctive light blue of high-end jeweller Tiffany & Co. The Obamas seemed briefly perplexed about what to do with it, with the president looking in vain for someone to hold the box while the new first couple and the old took a photo together.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump talk with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama during a departure ceremony. Photo / AP

Since Trump’s election, both men have tried to mend their relations, including with a high-profile meeting days after Trump’s stunning election.
On the White House steps, the bitter history between Trump and Obama went unmentioned. Obama asked Trump, “How was church?” and they turned to go inside.
Trump’s swearing-in will give Republicans control of both the White House and Congress for the first time since 2006. The new president has promised to undo some of the most significant pieces of Obama’s legacy – including his signature healthcare law. But Trump also enters office with a significant amount of uncertainty, since he has repeatedly contradicted other Republicans – and himself – on major questions about how immigration, taxes, health care and other issues will be handled in the new administration.
Trump takes office as the least-popular new president in 40 years, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Forty per cent of Americans view Trump favourably, 21 points lower than the rating with which Obama will leave office.

Former President Barack Obama waves as he boards a Marine helicopter during a departure ceremony. Photo / AP

But Trump won the election, and so this will be his day. The stage – and the country – he had sought to command will be his, at last.
“It all begins today!,” Trump tweeted early in the morning. “I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!”
The Capitol began filling up early in the day with guests for the ceremony, including Trump’s children and top aides.
As the Obamas and Trumps met at the White House, Trump’s 2016 opponent – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – arrived at the Capitol with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton wore a white pantsuit. She had worn similar pantsuits at key moments during her campaign as a nod to early suffragists, who often wore white.

President Donald Trump points at Former President Barack Obama after his speech during the 58th Presidential Inauguration. Photo / AP

Trump and his extended family arrived in Washington Thursday, signalling a new era in the country’s governance as they stepped off a military plane at Joint Base Andrews. They participated in a full day of events that included a stop at Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue property, the Trump International Hotel, and later a wreath-laying with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
“We all got tired of seeing what was happening, and we wanted change, but we wanted real change,” Trump said on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the eve of Inauguration Day at the conclusion of a concert punctuated by a glimmering fireworks display. “It’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world, they say.”
Earlier that day, as Trump put the finishing touches on the inaugural address, Pence and their incoming administration were preparing to assume control of the federal government.

Protesters walk beside The Statue of Liberty in a coffin during a mock second line jazz funeral procession down the streets of New Orleans in protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump. Photo / AP

Addressing reporters from the transition team’s Washington headquarters, Pence said, “It is a momentous day before a historic day”.
He noted that all 21 Cabinet nominations have been made and that 536 “beachhead” officials are ready to report for duty at federal departments and agencies.
“Our job is to be ready on Day One,” Pence said. “The American people can be confident that we will be … It’s going to be a very humbling and moving day for the president-elect his family and for mine. But let me tell you, we are all ready to go to work.”
Trump and his team sent signals suggesting an attempt to begin repairing relations with groups he demonised throughout his transition, including the intelligence community and the media.
Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, calmly answered questions for an hour in his first formal briefing with journalists and confirmed that Trump would soon visit the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia to express his gratitude to career intelligence officers.
Past presidents began to descend on Washington to witness Trump’s swearing-in, including Jimmy Carter, who was spotted Thursday aboard a commercial Delta flight from Atlanta.

Police use pepper spray on protesters in Washington. Photo / AP

Trump’s aides said he had taken personal ownership of his speech, writing and rewriting drafts himself with the help of a few advisers, and practised delivering it before teleprompters this week at Trump Tower in New York.
Tomorrow, the new president will attend a traditional national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral before spending the rest of the weekend settling into his new home and meeting with his advisers.
This is the full text of Donald Trump’s inaugural address as the 45th President of the United States.
“Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.
“Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done.
“Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.

“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. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.”Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning because 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, DC and giving it back to you, the people.
“The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
“That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you.
“It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
“January 20, 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.
“Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
“At the centre of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
“But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealised potential.
“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
“We are one nation and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams. And their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidised the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.
“And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
“One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.
“But that is the past. And now, we are looking only to the future.
“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. 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.
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
“Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.
“America will start winning again, winning like never before.
“We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
“We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour.
“We will follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American.
“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.
“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.
“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
“The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
“There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
“Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it.
“The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
“Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
“We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions.
“It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
“We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.
“And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they will their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
“So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words. You will never be ignored again.
“Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
“Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together we will make America great again.
“Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.”
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