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Inauguration Day

January 20, 2017

November 8th, 2016: America’s eyes are glued to household television sets, shifting through rapidly updating smartphones, and scanning Internet news sites. States change color, shifting from a profusion of blue into an explosion of red. Voting tallies proceed at an incomprehensible speed; the numbers quickly approaching all 270 electoral votes, the magic number of the night. With bated breath, America waits into the early hours of the morning; whoever emerges as President-Elect, part of America will disapprove.

America, groggy and still half-asleep, woke up on November 9th, 2016 to President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania wave during the inaugural parade. Image courtesy of People.

Just over two months after that controversial and divisive election, America and its new President arrive at Inauguration Day. President Trump remained controversial during his transition to President; he paved the way to January 20th, 2017 with Twitter feuds, political boycotts, and Russian scandals. Receiving a reported 40% favorability rating during transition, Trump stands in the center of possibly the most uncertain Inauguration Day in recent American history.

January 20th, 2017: The day began with a joining of two political forces, that of the Democratic Obamas and the Republican Trumps. Between sips of tea and coffee, the transitional period reached its climactic point; events rapidly follow the morning meeting, setting in motion the presidential transfer of power. The White House lies vacated by the Obamas, while movers rapidly pack up the possessions of the First Family, making way for the new family to fill the revered House with their own possessions. While this occurs, the President, previous holders of the position, and their respective administrations fill the seats of the inauguration platform.

Following a performance from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Vice President Mike Pence was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with resounding cheers from the crowd. The loudest cheers, however, were reserved for when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. inaugurated Trump as President.

Trump’s speech began with a gracious thank-you to the former presidents who attended the

President Donald Trump gives his inauguration speech. Image courtesy of CNN.

inauguration, as well as the American public and the world.

“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people,” he told the crowd. “Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.”

Trump then began an appeal to his supporters, the “forgotten everymen and women” he claims to stand for. “Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another,” he stated, “but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American people.”

The new President then went on to criticize Washington politicians, a large aspect of his successful political campaign. “Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth,” he claimed. Trump’s address toward the divided nature of America following the election touched on the fear many Americans have concerning his lack of political experience. “When America is united, America is totally unstoppable,” he urged. “There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.”

Criticism against Trump remained strong on Inauguration Day, with protest from both public and political opponents. By December, a reported total of 20 requests were already placed for demonstration permits to be used during Trump’s inauguration. Women’s March on Washington stands as the loudest protest; the group will be conducting a mass demonstration following Inauguration Day. Members of the Mormon religion and their Tabernacle Choir publicly denounced the Choir’s decision to appear at the inauguration. Many musicians declined the opportunity to perform at the inauguration in protest of Trump’s actions and beliefs.  

Loudest of all were Trump’s political opponents, with a total of 65 US Representatives publicly stating their intent to boycott the inauguration. US Lawmakers revealed their decision following evidence of Russian hacking during the election, Trump’s proposed policies, and his Twitter rant against civil rights icon John Lewis. Despite these protests, the inauguration proceeded without interruption, and Trump officially became the President of the United States of America.

Protesters flee from law enforcement as violence erupts. Image courtesy of CBC.

Trump’s inaugural parade did not go exactly as planned, with protests erupting only blocks away from the intended parade path. Fires were started, and buildings were damaged, along with over 90 arrests made before the parade even began. Violence continued as the limousines carrying Trump and his family began their procession through Washington D.C., but began to decrease as the parade proceeded. The inaugural parade consisted of many school band groups, military divisions, and law enforcement groups from around the country. Despite the violent protests, Trump and his family exited their vehicle to greet the American public, and safely arrived at the White House.

As the President and the First Lady dance the night away at the Inaugural Balls, America waits at home; citizens anticipate eagerly, some with skepticism, for Trump’s first actions as the newly-minted 45th President. Rumors circulate endlessly in the widening stream of news sources on the web, with reports of executive orders and cabinet choices dominating every news outlet. The country’s most unconventional president hangs in everyone’s minds, for some with triumph and hope, and for others with unease and fear.

The fanfare is over, and the campaign trail has ended; it is now President Trump’s duty to honor his promises to the American people, and to get to work on making America great again.

Former President Barack Obama departs after President Donald Trump is sworn in. Image courtesy of The Baltimore Sun.

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