Thousands of Americans packed the National Mall on Friday as America officially swore in the 45th President of the United States, business mogul Donald Trump. Many attendees sported their famous red hats bearing Trump’s signature campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”, cheered loudly as they heard the new Commander-in-Chief address the world regarding his vision for the future. Notable attendees of the event included former President Bill Clinton alongside Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, and former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. Former Vice Presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney were also in attendance with their wives. And, of course, the former First and Second families of President Obama and Vice-President Biden also were in attendance to witness the peaceful transition of power.
Notably, many people in the crowd cheered when former Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was shown on the jumbotrons. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone, considering both Trump and Sanders earned the support of many independents for their ‘anti-establishment’ demeanors. From the Southwest Standing section of the US Capitol, people applauded President Bush, President Carter, and even First and Second ladies Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden were shown on the jumbotrons. President Obama received some cheers; however, the Clintons’ received mostly boos. For whatever reason, the loudest and most passionate noise came from further back in the National Mall, in sections away from the Capitol Building. It seemed like the closer you were to the Inauguration platform, the more civil the crowd was.
The crowd itself was not merely made up of Republican supporters. In attendance were plenty of independents, including some self-proclaimed Populists. There were also several happy Libertarians in the crowd, including 22-year-old Cody from Michigan. Of the Inaugural speech, he said “For the first time in my adult political life, I felt hopeful that real political change was on our horizon.”
He later quoted his favorite line from President Trump’s speech: “We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
Not everyone feels this optimistic about the new President. Abby, a resident of nearby Fairfax County, Virginia, 67, spent the weekend protesting, claiming she is “Afraid that our world is changing for the worse and our basic human rights are being taken away from us”. I asked her which rights she is afraid will be revoked, and she mentioned that “Racism is just going to get worse, religious rights, health care rights, and other basic human rights.” She had planned on attending the Women’s March on Washington the following day to voice her concerns for the incoming administration.
Highlights of Trump’s speech included him expressing his desire for power to be transitioned not to himself but back to “the people”. He also promised change of another form, encouraging the establishment to place the interests of the people above themselves, putting an end to government “carnage”, dreaming bigger than ever before, rebuilding American infrastructure, defeating radical Islamic terrorism, and putting America first with trade, immigration, jobs, and the military.
These next couple of years will be interesting in the political domain. It will be interesting to see the impact of Trump’s “America first” mentality and optimism. Under President Trump, will America win so much that it gets tired of winning? Or will this be a one-term presidency?