Posted on January 21, 2017

I Was There

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, January 21, 2017

“I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear …”

I was no more than 50 feet away from the 45th president of the United States when he said these words. I was with James Edwards of the Political Cesspool, whose media connections got us invitations to a section on the Capitol steps just below the balcony on which Donald Trump took the oath. If I had had a baseball, I could have lobbed it right over the bullet-proof glass.

Capital view wide for insert

Our view of the inauguration, with the presidential podium at the right.

Our experience in the VIP section was different from that of the many thousands spread out on the Mall behind us. At least one-third of our group seemed to be from the press, and it was hard to tell what connections the others had used to get good seats, but one thing was clear: there weren’t many Trump supporters.

From behind us, from the crowds on the Mall, we could hear the thunder of applause and shouts of “Trump, Trump, Trump,” but there was very little of that in our section. James and I lent our voices to the small Trump contingent, but our section applauded most enthusiastically when former president and Mrs. Clinton appeared! The gap between the elites and the people is as wide as ever.

Mr. Trump’s address was, of course, the highlight of the ceremony, and I was surprised by its militancy. He began by saying that the United States government had essentially been hijacked by an elite that runs the country in its own interests. He promised to fix that: “January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” It’s not clear what that means, but the crowd — the one behind us — loved it.

The thousands on the Mall also loved hearing that “from this moment on, it’s going to be America First.”  Mr. Trump said he would protect America from “other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.” “Protection,” he said — did he mean protectionism? — “will led to great prosperity and strength.

I was glad to hear Mr. Trump say that “we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.” The theory that if we march into a country and shoot enough people the rest will turn into Jeffersonian democrats has led to disaster. Mr. Trump did, however, vow to “eradicate” radical Islamic terrorism and there is no telling where that could lead.

I was disappointed that Mr. Trump mentioned immigration only obliquely: “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.” He didn’t say one word about a wall, or deporting illegals, or about keeping Muslims out.

The president also served up egalitarian schmaltz and seemed to believe it: “whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.” And later:

Whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator. 

Mr. Trump’s address was more religious than I expected. He quoted scripture, assured us that we are protected by God, and concluded with “God bless you, and God bless America.”

As the ceremony came to a close, James gave a loud shout of “Give ‘em hell, Donald.” A reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer who had been sitting right behind us then started what seemed to be a typical man-in-the-street interview with me. I told him why I supported Donald Trump, and his ears pricked up. He asked my name and seemed to recognize it. Sure enough, today, there is a story about me with the title: “Father of ‘alt right’ at swearing in: ‘Give ‘em hell, Donald!’ ” As usual, the press got it wrong.

After the ceremony, as everyone tried to leave the capital grounds at the same time, we got stuck in a brief bottleneck, but otherwise, James and I were impressed by how orderly everything was. There had been threats of massive disruption, and even plans to block transportation into the city, but there was nothing of the kind. We came in on the subway, which was running smoothly. Our invitations directed us to get off at a particular stop, from which we just followed the crowds onto the Capital grounds.

National Guard

DC National Guardsmen guarding the inauguration.

There was very tight security. News reports say there were 28,000 armed guards, and they came from everywhere. In the subway station, there were transit police from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system who told me they flew in from San Francisco. I spoke to National Guard military police from Indiana, and spotted men with “secret service” on their jackets. A Border Patrol officer in full regalia told me his agency is expecting a lot more support from the new administration.  Before we got to our seats, James and I went through metal detectors not just once but twice. Elsewhere there was rioting and 200 arrests, but everything we saw was calm and orderly.

After the ceremony, James and I spent some time just looking at the crowd. It was overwhelmingly white and well dressed, with a good mix of young and old. Four times, people approached and told me they were AmRen fans. At one point, we saw about half a dozen Antifa, faces covered, waving a black flag. They, however, did not recognize me.

I’m glad I went to the inauguration. Whatever Donald Trump does or does not do, his presidency is hugely significant. The history of our country is an almost unbroken march to the Left. But whether this election marks a real turning point or is just a bump on the road to an ever-more chaotic, multi-culti America, Donald Trump has set himself impossible goals. He cannot eradicate Islam terrorism. He cannot suddenly make the economy pour money into the middle class. He can’t make factories bloom in Detroit by taxing imports from China. He can’t make America great again with a Third-World population. Even by his own terms, he cannot succeed.

But even if he fails on his own terms, he could be a success for us. He is not a racially conscious white man, but he is at least a nationalist, and that is good first step. He recognizes that the United States is a distinct country with a distinct people with distinct interests. He seems to realize that at least some people don’t belong here. There are men close to him — Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller — who may have a clearer understanding of race, and their influence could grow.

Donald Trump is a good start, but the finish is still up to us.