Celebration and Chaos are Themes of the Day
Sarah Toy and Vaishnavee Sharma
BU News Service
Washington — Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States on Friday after an unprecedented and controversial presidential campaign and election that exposed deep fissures in the American electorate.
After being sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Trump delivered a speech that struck populist notes and set the tone for his presidency.
“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action,” he said. “The time for empty talk is over. Now is the hour of action.”
Trump’s address, delivered from the west front of the U.S. Capitol, had echoes of his campaign speeches; he reinforced his pledge to fight “radical Islamic terrorism,” lamented American loss of jobs to foreign countries, and promised to “make America wealthy again.”
It was also distinctly nationalistic. “A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions,” he said. “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”
Trump was sworn in using his own Bible, which his mother gave him in 1955 when he graduated from Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church, as well as Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, which President Barack Obama also used. Mike Pence was sworn in as vice president by Justice Clarence Thomas with Ronald Reagan’s Bible.
“I feel like God is blessing America,” said Peggy Irvin, 52, from Denver, Colorado, who calls herself a prayer warrior. “Last night at the Welcome Concert, when they were singing ‘Glory, Hallelujah,’ it made me think — it brought so much hope for the nation.”
Others were not as optimistic. Trip Allen, 64, of Seattle, Washington, said that he thought the president had stolen the election. “I see him as illegitimate,” he said. “I think we have a totalitarian government in the making.”
As the ceremonial transition of power took place, scattered protests took place around the city. At a checkpoint in John Marshall Park, Black Lives Matter protesters chained themselves together, blocking the entrance to the swearing in, forcing police to redirect crowds to other entrances. Thousands filed down Chinatown’s H Street, chanting “Dump Donald Trump!” and “Not my President!”
Protester Ashley David, a freshman at Georgetown University, waved a large photo of Trump with the phrase “Putin Puppet” scrawled across the newly sworn-in President’s face. “He talks a big game about draining the swamp and deporting immigrants,” she said. “But he’s just importing hate and fascism.”
“Hillary won the popular vote,” said Cathy Leibensperger, a protester who waved a sign saying “Abolish Electoral College.”
“Trump is an abomination,” she added. “His cabinet picks are horrible Wall Street climate deniers and awful human beings.”
As the day continued, protests turned violent around the city. At 12th and K Street, police lobbed teargas and stun grenades at protesters who threw rocks, broke windows, started fires and damaged property. Over the course of the day, at least 217 protesters were arrested, according to NPR.
Earlier in the day, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted the Trump family at the White House before they departed for the Capitol and the swearing in. Following the ceremony, the Obamas departed by helicopter.
Joe Biden, the departing Vice President and his wife Jill returned to their home in Delaware via an Amtrak train. For years, Biden took the train to his job in Washington.
After the ceremony, the new president and first lady attended an inaugural luncheon in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall, where he and over 200 dignitaries and officials, including the Clintons, dined on a meal of lobster, shrimp and Angus beef. Trump asked the former first couple to stand for a round of applause, saying he was honored to have them there.
Following the luncheon, the Trumps joined the traditional inauguration parade, exiting their car to walk part of the route. There was a noticeable absence of people in the grandstands, particularly next to the president’s reviewing stand where a section of empty seats drew the notice of Twitter users.
The bleachers right next to Pres. Trump’s White House viewing stand for the Inauguration Parade are virtually empty. pic.twitter.com/kNNkfRu3Wo
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) January 20, 2017