On Friday, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. In November last year, he won a bitterly fought campaign against Hilary Clinton. America voted for a significant shift in leadership after eight years with Barack Obama at the helm in the White House. Read about the inauguration here!
Obama’s inauguration saw half a million people flooding the Capitol to watch the event, including celebrities and superstars. Trump’s inaugural address attracted a somewhat smaller crowd.
The Presidential Oath of Office: Trump’s Message
The president-elect has to recite just 35 words, but it is a tradition that has become a huge spectacle. Along with the address itself, there are parades, concerts and receptions which draw hundreds of thousands of people to Washington.
Here is a short overview of the main events:
- Trump recited the presidential oath on the steps of the Capitol.
- He gave his speech, outlining the most important policy objectives.
- After lunch, there was a parade from the Capitol to the White House.
- In the evening there were three balls which Trump attended with his wife Melania.
“America First, America First”
His speech was characterised by a return to protectionism and perhaps even American isolationism. In all matters from taxes to foreign policy, the Trump presidency would put America first. He said that in order for America to become “great” again, US citizens would just have to “buy American and hire American”.
Trumps Motto „Back to Work“
Despite the fact that Trump raised over $90m USD for the inauguration (considerably more than both of Barack Obama’s addresses), he planned a much quieter inauguration than previous presidents.
His reasoning was to show that America is getting “back to work” and did not wish for the ceremony to descend into a circus. Amongst others, the “Mormon Tabernacle” choir and the “Radio City Rockettes” performed while the spotlight was cast on the 2010 “America’s got Talent” singer Jackie Evancho.
According to Trump’s team, the money that was left over is to be donated to charity. The donor list has not been made public yet. We do know, however, that the aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing contributed half a million dollars and the oil giant Chevron donated a similar amount.
Many members of congress from the Democratic Party boycotted the ceremony in protest. However, the majority of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate were in attendance. Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, as well as former presidents George W. Bush Jr. and Jimmy Carter, were present at the event. Protests were held amongst the wider population as well. Over 200 people were arrested as they clashed with police. The worst protests saw objects thrown at police lines and a few small businesses vandalized. Despite the sporadic violence, most of the demonstrations remained peaceful.
- According to the Constitution, the President’s four-year term ends at 12 noon on the 20th of January following the election and the president-elect sworn into office afterwards.
- It has only twice been held away from the Capitol: once during the war of 1812 with Great Britain and again in 1945 due to the Second World War.
- There is no set person who is required to administer the presidential oath of office but it is normally administered by the Chief Justice