On Friday, Jan. 20, Donald Trump took the oath of office, officially becoming the 45th president of the United States of America. After a long, historic and controversial campaign, thousands gathered in Washington D.C. to watch the swearing in of President Trump. The service began at 11:30 a.m. to ensure the transition for power happened exactly at noon.
As citizens gathered, Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, began their day with a short service at St. John’s Episcopal Church. This was followed by their arrival at the White House, where they had breakfast with now former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. Following this, the couples, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence, traveled to the Capitol Building, on the steps of which family, friends, dignitaries and representatives gathered.
The service began with the United States Marine Band’s performance of “The President’s Own” before a call to order and a few readings. First Pence was sworn in as vice president by Justice Clarence Thomas with Ronald Reagan’s Bible. Then Chief Justice John Roberts swore in Trump on two Bibles: his childhood Bible, a gift from his mother, as well as Lincoln’s Bible.
The inaugural address often sets the expectations of the administration. Trump stated in his speech, “Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed… January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”
An addition to his campaign rhetoric was a discussion of faith and spirituality. The president spent a portion of his short speech on the protection of God.
He ended the speech with, “Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again.”
After concluding with the national anthem, the Obamas were seen off by Trump and the first lady as they took a helicopter to an airbase outside of D.C., where they then flew to California for a vacation, as is customary for the outgoing president.
Following this, the Trumps joined congresspeople, as well as other notable figures, such as past presidents, for a luncheon held in the Capitol Rotunda. Included at this luncheon was gift giving and remarks made by various people, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, to honor the new president and vice president.
The inaugural parade followed, slightly later than intended. The Trump family, including Trump’s five children and grandchildren, led the parade.
The inauguration was not without controversy. The parade route included several groups of protesters, as well as property destruction seven or eight blocks from the parade route. The Women’s March was held across the nation the following day and had more people in attendance than the inauguration itself.
Elizabeth Gibson is a second-year student majoring in political science. She can be reached at EG850161@wcupa.edu.