Trump becomes 45th President of the United States
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States on Friday, vowing to drain power from Washington elites and always put “America first” in its dealings with the world at a moment of transformative political change.
He arrived at the White House for the first time as President just before 5 p.m. ET following a day of tradition marking the power shift in the nation’s capital.
In a time-honored ceremony on the flag-draped West Front of the Capitol earlier in the afternoon, Trump placed his left hand on a family Bible and another that belonged to Abraham Lincoln and promised to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. As light rain began to fall on a crowd stretching toward the Washington Monument, Trump took the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts with the new first lady, Melania, by his side.
Trump’s inaugural address centered on the themes that animated his stunning outsider campaign, which shattered political conventions and gave voice to heartland voters who felt badly let down by professional politicians.
Though he paid tribute to outgoing President Barack Obama, the President sketched a new vision of America. He promised to restore the nation’s strength and purpose and to rebuild it from within, vowing to “bring back” American jobs, borders, wealth and dreams.
“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, and in every foreign capital and in every hall of power,” Trump said. “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: ‘You will never be ignored again’
Trump talked of a nation of mothers and children trapped in poverty in the inner cities and “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones,” and warned crime and gangs had robbed the nation of much of its potential.
“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump said, with Obama looking on.
“A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights and heal our divisions,” Trump said, emphasizing that whether people are black or white they still bleed the same red blood of patriots.
And he told Americans listening to the address: “You will never be ignored again.”
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter attended the ceremony. Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in the November election, was in the audience in a show of support for national unity and the peaceful transfer of presidential authority.
“I was very honored, very, very honored when I heard that President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton was coming today, I think it is appropriate to say it,” Trump said. “Honestly, there is nothing more I can say because I have a lot of respect for those two people.”
The swearing-in was one of many traditions that began Friday morning. Trump and his family attended a private worship service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, known as the church of presidents. The Obamas greeted Trump and the new first lady at the North Portico of the White House before hosting them for tea.
Earlier in the morning, Obama wrote a letter to Trump and left it on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, as outgoing presidents typically do for their successors. As Obama left the Oval Office for the final time, he was asked whether he had any words for the American people. “Thank you,” Obama responded.
In what is always a poignant moment, the former President Obama and his wife left Capitol Hill on a helicopter bound for Joint Base Andrews for a farewell ceremony before taking one last flight on the presidential jet. The Obamas are heading to Palm Springs, California, for a vacation.
Trump attended a joint congressional inaugural luncheon in the Capitol before heading back to the White House for the inaugural parade. Halfway along Pennsylvania Avenue, Trump’s vehicle stopped and the new first couple walked hand in hand past the cheering crowds. By the time the motorcade approached the new Trump hotel, the President was back in the hulking car.
In the evening, Trump and the new first lady will attend two inaugural balls, part of the stripped-down inaugural festivities that aides say are meant to stress that the new president is eager to get to work.