New president delivers 'America first' as he vows to return power to the people
Donald Trump placed his hand on two Bibles on Friday and took oath as 45th President of the United States, reiterating an America-first message that catapulted his campaign to the most powerful office in the world.
“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,’ he said from the carriage entrance of the Capitol building, the seat of government.
Trump appeared to often lapse into a campaigning style, targeting a message of unity but delivering one that drove a clear wedge between the political elite and the people, and the past and the future.
Addressing the “people of the world”, the president said: “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 all of the world for many, many years to come.”
Rain began falling on a chilly day almost exactly as the new president stood at the podium to deliver his address.
As he spoke, protests continued around Capitol Hill, and turned into clashes with riot police following the address, resulting in pepper spray use and nearly hundred arrests, according to reports.
In his speech, Trump repeated campaign pledges of focusing on jobs creation and boosting the economy, and for that he described “two simple rules”: “buy American and hire American.
“January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers once again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now,” he said.
Trump thanked former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, for being “magnificent” during the transition of power, while stressing his presidency would go beyond the ordinary four-year election cycle.
He appeared to take aim at many of the politicians who were sitting on stage, many in his own Republican party.
“Today we are not merely transferring power from one party to another ... but we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you, the people,” he said.
He said the establishment chose to protect itself. “Their victories have not been your victories,” he said.
“That all changes, right here, starting right now. Because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.” Trump said to applause. “This is your day, this is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.”
On foreign policy, the president promised to improve old alliances and build new ones. He renewed a vow to fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” that “we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth”.
Trump reassured the Americans that their nation would be protected, and not just by the military and law enforcement: ‘most importantly, we will be protected by God,” he said.
Trump’s brand of populism stands at stark odds with former President Barack Obama, whose career has been defined by a commitment to progressive politics.
The dramatic change was welcomed by Linda Blanchard, who traveled to Washington from Montgomery, Alabama said the opportunity to see Trump assume office warranted her first visit to a presidential inauguration.
"This new president has a vision that brings the working class together and business class together to make America what it used to be," she said.
"We're good but we can be better, and he wants us to be great," she said referring to Trump.
But not all are taking kindly to the change of power.
After the speech, Trump signed bills and orders for the first time as head of government before heading to a presidential luncheon with First Lady Melania, where he received a standing ovation.
Much as the speech sought to set a strong political tone, President Trump did not reveal much about his plans on economy and trade, as he reiterated his campaign promises, highlighting to put American jobs at first.
"Every decision on trade, taxes, immigration, foreign affairs will benefit American workers and families," he said.
"We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries, making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs," he added.
In Friday's address, Trump called for American companies overseas to bring back manufacturing and jobs back to the U.S. during his campaign after winning the election.
He has taken a strict position against two of the U.S.' three biggest trading partners, saying he would impose 35 percent border tax on Mexico and impose 45 percent import tariff on Chinese goods.
"Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength," Trump said in his inauguration speech. "We will bring back our jobs, borders, wealth, and dreams."
He then turned to his campaign promise of rebuilding American infrastructure, which was perceived by Wall Street as an act that would increase infrastructure spending and boost economic growth.
"We will build new roads, highways, bridges, airports, tunnels, and railroad all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and labor. We will follow two simple rules -- Buy American and hire American," Trump said.
His remarks, however, was far from providing much detail about his goals on economy and growth. He reference to protectionism also spooked investors, and led to losses on the stock market.
After Trump's speech was concluded, the Dow lost 70 points to 19,761. The S&P 500 fell nine points to 2,265 and The Nasdaq shed 23 points 5,543. All indexes managed to stay on the positive.
The dollar also fell slightly to 3.7639 against the Turkish lira.