Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, ten weeks after he defeated Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party at the November 8 polls. The property tycoon won an unexpected victory against Clinton in one of the most controversial campaigns in US history.
Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court administered the oath to Trump on the steps of the US Capitol Building, shortly after Mike Pence, the Vice President, was sworn in by the Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the first African American to ever administer the oath of office to a Vice President or President.
The event was presided over by Roy Blunt, a Republican senator from Missouri and chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Activities. For his swearing in, Trump used two Bibles — the one used by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 and the one his mother gave him in 1955.
For his swearing in, Vice President Pence used the one used by Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Until 1933, new US presidents were inaugurated on March 4, four months after election day, but this was shortened to around two months with the ratification of the 20th Amendment.
Apart from Trump’s family — including his wife Melania — the inauguration ceremony was attended by former presidents and first ladies, including Jimmy Carter; George and Laura Bush; Bill and Hillary Clinton; and Barack and Michelle Obama.
Members of the US Congress were also in attendance, although more than 60 House Democrats boycotted the event.
The only absentees were 92-year-old George Bush Senior, who was in hospital being treated for respiratory problems, and his wife Barbara.
The Democratic members of Congress had announced they would skip Trump’s inauguration, citing the President’s perceived insult of Congressman John Lewis as the final straw.
Trump lashed out at the civil rights icon last Saturday morning after Lewis said in a Friday interview he didn’t view Trump as “a legitimate president.”
Lewis, a Georgia Democrat from an Atlanta-area district who protested alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., also said he would not attend the inauguration.
Trump had responded that Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district — “which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”
His comments had drawn outrage and messages of support for Lewis from both Democrats and Republicans.
Meanwhile, about 900,000 anti-Trump protesters are expected to rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday (today) for the Women’s March on Washington.
Protesters and Washington police had scuffled on Thursday night outside a meeting of pro-Trump conservatives, the first of several demonstrations aimed at disrupting the new administration’s inaugural weekend.
The protesters gathered on 14th Street outside the National Press Club to demonstrate against “DeploraBall,” an event organised by some of Trump’s most fervent supporters.
The name riffs off the campaign description of some Trump backers by his defeated opponent, Hillary Clinton, as a “basket of deplorables.”
As attendees — some of whom were clad in suits and red hats, others dressed in gowns — entered the event, demonstrators chanted “Shame” and “Nazis go home” behind a phalanx of police. Some held signs that read “No Alt Reich” and “No Nazi USA.”
Other protesters chanted against the “alt-right,” “fascists” and “Nazi scum,” though it could not be immediately determined who was attending the event.
Today’s anti-Trump march is staged by women (and men) who were dismayed that America chose Trump — an alleged sexual predator whose policies could be a huge setback for women’s health and rights — over Clinton.
In solidarity with the disgruntled Americans, thousands of demonstrators in the United Kingdom also mobilised against Trump’s inauguration, with a banner reading, “Build bridges not walls,” draped across London’s Tower Bridge.
Meanwhile, Trump delivered a searing inaugural address, attacking Washington and promising a new hope for Americans who want to dream big.
Promising “America first,” excerpts from the US President’s speech said, “America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.
“We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour.”
However, as Trump resumes office, confirmation hearings for most of his cabinet picks were being delayed as the nominees had not reached agreements to resolve ethical conflicts stemming from their financial holdings.