Here we go, America: In two hours, Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States — and a fascinating period in our country’s governance will begin. Here’s when and how to watch, and the AJC will have you covered all day and well into the night with a team on the ground in Washington, D.C.
Along the way, post your thoughts and reactions below. I’ll update this post with my own as we go through the day.
UPDATE at 11:17 a.m.: Three of the four living ex-presidents — soon to be four of five — are in attendance and have been introduced. Included in their company is a certain ex-First Lady and contestant in the 2016 election:
Good for her, and good for America. And to those Democrats who decided to skip this event in protest: If Hillary Clinton had the gumption to be there, you should have, too.
UPDATE at 11:54 a.m.: Mike Pence is officially the vice president, having been sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas. He could well be the most active and powerful vice president in some time, if not all-time.
UPDATE at 12:00 p.m.: It’s official. Trump has taken the oath of office.
UPDATE at 12:32 p.m.: If you expected Donald Trump’s inauguration speech to represent a step back from the rhetoric of the campaign, you were wrong. Oh, were you wrong.
From the very beginning, Trump demonstrated his populist message still animates him. He is leading “a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people,” because “for too long the capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people did not. … their victories have not been your victories.”
“That all changes right here and right now,” Trump said, “because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.”
This was a populist speech, but it was not a particularly partisan one. What’s important to ask, he said, is “not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. … the people (are) the rulers of this nation again.” Consider that a warning to congressional Republicans, sure of themselves after their own electoral success, not to cross him.
The results of this misrule, he said, were numerous: “poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories … an education system flush with cash but which leaves our … students deprived of knowledge.” And he gave these results a name which will surely go into the history books: “American carnage.”
To counter the “carnage,” he called for rebuilding “with American hands and American labor.” His administration’s creed would be to “buy American and hire American.”
But if this language was intended to make clear to other nations that, as Trump reiterated, it would be “America first, America first,” Trump also extended a hand to racial and ethnic minorities who largely voted against him: “We will rediscover our loyalty to each other. And when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
And, later: “It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red of patriots.”
As for how the speech ended, no prizes for guessing:
“Together, we will make America great again.”
Folks, this is the WYSIWYG President. Don’t act surprised from here on out.