Trump Pledges to Put America First in Brutally Uncompromising First Speech as POTUS

David Martosko et al., Daily Mail, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump delivered a populist rallying call to Americans who felt left behind enough to send a non-politician to do the most powerful job on earth, after he was sworn in Friday as America’s 45th president.

‘I will fight for you with every breath in my body,’ he pledged. ‘And I will never, ever let you down.’

Trump promised ‘America first’ would become the central organizing principle around which his government is organized.

‘We will follow two simple rules. Buy American and hire American,’ Trump declared.

At 1,453 words, his inaugural address was the shortest since Jimmy Carter’s in 1977. His slogans were just as tight.

‘America first,’ a mantra that he put into common use as he campaigned for the White House, found some flesh on its bone Friday.

‘Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration on foreign affairs, will be made to protect American workers and American families,’ he said.

Trump’s oath of office – which he called ‘an oath of allegiance to all Americans’ – was marred by a protester blowing a whistle and another handful shouting muffled slogans in the distance.

But the moment passed. Trump spoke his vows. And America had a new leader.

What Trump left out of his teleprompter-aided remarks was just as obvious as what he kept in.

There was no act of reconciliation with journalists, who have become his ink-armed foils and a new enemy as vexing to Trump as the Democratic Party.

Absent, too, was a spoken olive-branch to women who felt alienated after evidence of his ‘locker room talk’ and past coarseness around the fairer sex became part of his political epic.

Asked if Trump hit the right tones of contrition, Senator John McCain of Arizona told DailyMail.com: ‘I just think it was a continuation of his campaign.’

Asked if that was as it should be, McCain shrugged: ‘It’s his choice; he’s the president-elect.’

Other senators and top Trump advisers were more enthusiastic.

‘I loved it,’ said Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor.

‘I think it was an amazing speech,’ Flynn told DailyMail.com. ‘I think the American people know that they have a president that stands for them – and I mean for all Americans.’

‘And I think the world actually heard a great message today.’

Asked if Trump hit all the right notes, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama – soon to be U.S. attorney general, said: ‘Yeah. It was a good day.’

Trump hinted at economic decline in America’s rust belt and breadbasket during his predecessor’s eight years in office.

‘The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and redistributed all over the world,’ he claimed. ‘But that is the past. We are looking only to the future.’

And in a hat-tip to one of his most famous catch-phrases, one that made hundreds of appearances on the campaign trail, the unlikeliest president promised that ‘America will start winning again, winning like never before.’

‘We will bring back our dreams,’ Trump said, and ‘determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.’

‘We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done.’

The billionaire’s improbable resonance with the middle class and the poor found new voice on Friday, as he framed his election and inauguration as a power-shift from Washington to the rest of America.

‘We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,’ he said to cheers.

‘For too long a small group in our nation’s capital have reaped the rewards of government while the people bore the costs.’

‘The jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself. But not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories,’ he said.

‘That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

‘It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day, this is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.’

Speaking of the ‘American carnage’ of inner city blight, crime and failing schools, he vowed that it ‘stops right here, and stops right now.’

‘We are one nation, and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.’

Trump pumped a fist in triumph after he finished speaking.

Asked how it felt moments after the ceremony concluded, Eric Trump grinned and flashed a thumbs-up.

Former Trump rival Ohio Governor John Kasich was in no mood to reflect on the change of leadership.

‘I’m not doing any interviews right now,’ he told DailyMail.com inside the Capitol.

Trump didn’t let the threat of Washington, D.C. rain showers spoil his inauguration, the long-time-coming culmination of an improbable political revolution that shows no sign of letting up.

The brash billionaire capped off a three-day parade of dinners, speeches, prayers and a concert with pomp and circumstance in front of the U.S. capitol as hundreds of thousands of Americans who he has said were ‘forgotten’ during the Obama years cheered him on.

The 45th president’s hated ‘dishonest media’ watched as storm clouds threatened, along with four former presidents, most of the U.S. Congress and a sea of ‘Make America Great Again’ devotees.

The sea of faces on the National Mall was dotted with red caps, Trump’s signature campaign items bearing that slogan, itself an artifact from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

When Trump was introduced, he turned and faced the crowd, smiled, and offered a wave.

Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who headed the inaugural committee in the Congress, told the nation: ‘What we do here is both commonplace and miraculous.’

Blunt called it ‘not a celebration of victory,’ but ‘a celebration of democracy.’

Other senators visible on the balcony overlooking reporters included West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who met with Trump at Trump Tower, and Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr will oversee a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian election-year hacking.

Across the balcony to the south, House Appropriations chair Harold Rogers of Kentucky, who will oversee funding of Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, picked a prominent standing position.

Standing next to Rogers was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who had been a candidate for secretary of state.

A U.S. Marine Corps band played Sousa marches. Chants of ‘U.S.A.!’ broke out. Cheers erupted when the vice-president elect, Mike Pence, was announced, among the standing-room crowd stretching more than a mile to the west.

And as giant TV screens flashed mobs of Americans their first glimpse of the new president behind the scenes, a rock concert-like whoop went up. Before he was introduced, screams of ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ reverberated on a scale even though he has never seen or heard.

Among Trump’s living predecessors, only George H.W. Bush failed to make the trip, owing to his hospitalization in Texas. He sent his regrets to Trump, writing that his doctor warned sitting outside in the cold would put him ‘six feet under.’

Standing on the dais were his son, George W. Bush; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton; and Barack Obama.

Trump’s crowd applauded the outgoing chief executive of the U.S., audibly surprising some members of the media whose seats were far to the front.

They were less kind to Sen. Charles Schumer, the newly minted Democratic minority leader. As his speech stretched beyond their patience, they broke into shouts of ‘We want Trump!’

Obama and the former first lady released a video message Friday morning, saying they would take a break from public life and ‘sit still for a little bit’ as they become private citizens again.

The message was an appeal for supporters to weigh in on the future of the Obama Presidential Center on the south side of Chicago.

Clinton’s wife, the Democrat whom Trump defeated soundly in the Electoral College more than ten weeks ago, also participated Friday in America’s peaceful transition of power.

Some Democrats, including many in Congress, have questioned that decision, saying it tended to normalize the incoming president when their party should be ostracizing him.

But she gamely attended in a white pantsuit, alongside Bill and their daughter Chelsea, smiling for cameras during an appearance she never thought she would make without hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ played in her honor.

Clinton won points from a former adversary for bucking up for the occasion.

‘I think it takes a lot to show up in that situation after the kind of campaign that was run against her,’ said Tad Devine, a top advisor to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Devine spoke to The Hill newspaper.

Trump castigated Mrs. Clinton repeatedly as ‘Crooked Hillary,’ interrupting her during debates and projecting a generally belligerent attitude as he unseated the would-be first female president.

Even in victory, he has thrown a few shoulders.

Thursday night during a candlelight dinner at Washington’s Union Station, Trump jabbed at the Clinton campaign for planning a fireworks display in New York City when they thought they had the presidency locked up.

Ultimately, Team Clinton canceled its fireworks permit as Election Day closed in.

‘They spent $7 million on fireworks. And they canceled it – and that’s because history has proven that if you’re going to lose, you don’t want fireworks, right?’ Trump joked.

Trump’s sprawling family, the most visible sign of his softer side as he stumped for the White House, were out in force Friday.

Wife Melania, daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, and sons Don Jr., Eric and Barron beamed, along with three spouses and assorted Trump grandchildren.

Ivanka Trump’s power-husband, real estate investor Jared Kushner, will soon move into a White House office to become a ‘senior adviser’ to the president.

The wealthy and well-connected Orthodox Jew (Ivanka converted before their wedding) is expected to have a broad foreign-policy portfolio that includes a Middle-East peace mission to reconcile Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Trump relied heavily on Kushner’s counsel during the campaign. He said Thursday night at the dinner that ‘all my life I’ve been hearing that’s the toughest deal in the world to make. And I’ve seen it.’

‘But I have a feeling Jared’s going to do a great job,’ Trump said, addressing his son-in-law. ‘If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can.’

Trump’s sister Maryanne, a senior judge of the United States Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, made the trip. Trump noted her presence Thursday night.

Nearly 70 Democrats from the House of Representatives said they would skip Trump’s swearing-in, however. Trump allies decried them as politically motivated crybabies.

The U.S. hasn’t seen as large an inaugural boycott since southern Democrats stayed away from the Capitol when Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861.

At that time, seven southern states had already declared war on the Union.

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone was one Democrat who decided to attend on Friday. But he told DailyMail.com that the new president’s remarks were ‘not at all’ sufficiently unifying.

‘I think that it was very contemptuous of the previous administration,’ Pallone said.

‘I think in many ways he was suggesting that, you know, President Obama and the previous administration were not looking out for the needs of the people. And I would say just the opposite. I would say that the Trump policies are going to hurt the average American, not help.’

Trump seemed to brush off the partisan rancor over what some Democrats called his ‘illegitimate’ victory, tweeting positive messages in the run-up to the most consequential day of his 70-year life.

‘It all begins today!’ he wrote on Twitter, his preferred method of mass communication.

‘I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!’ he added.

Crowds began pouring into the National Mall as the sun rose, and steady lines stretched behind security checkpoints

Kellyanne Conway, the pollster-turned-campaign manager who will be among the new president’s closest counselors in the West Wing, promised Friday morning that Trump would show himself throughout the day as ‘a man of action, a man of resolve.’

Conway, who celebrated her 50th birthday as the inauguration unfolded, arrived in a red, white and blue Gucci outfit with buttons that resembled snarling cats. The dress was a cross between continental soldier and Christmas nutcracker.

She told San Francisco-based NBC reporters that it was ‘Trump revolutionary wear.’

Conway said during a morning CBS interview that as the Obama era ends, America was ‘a divided country’ – but Trump ‘will lay down an important marker to try to unify’ Americans.

Some of that division was on display early in the morning, as so-called ‘J20’ protesters tried to interfere with inaugural ticket-holders entering security-screening north of the Capitol building.

Some held signs reading ‘Let freedom ring.’ Others hoisted ‘Free Palestine’ messages, blurring the protesters’ more pointed anti-Trump theme.

A few wore orange jumpsuits in protest of the continued operation of a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Police held the agitators at bay, standing between them and the steady river of ticket-holders streaming onto the heavily secured Capitol grounds.

A few black clad protesters 20 blocks away, including some in black masks, drew pepper spray from police as they smashed a window of a Starbucks coffee shop.

Far larger protests are planned for Saturday – a ‘women’s march’ that could draw up to 200,000 feminists who rejected Trump from the beginning.

The event’s organizers have framed it as a wholesale repudiation of Trump’s long-past comments about women that surfaced as he ran for the White House, including an 11-year-old tape in which he describes the ease with which famous men can get away with sexual assault.

The march’s leaders attracted unwanted attention this week when they decided to exclude a contingent of women who oppose abortion rights. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is among the event’s sponsors.

As is usually the case when single-issue protesters gather in the nation’s capital, hangers-on representing other interest groups will march on the margins.

Some will shout against the darkness of Trump’s loud condemnation of Mexican illegal immigrants, whose numbers he claimed – in his campaign’s first speech – include drug dealers and rapists.

Gay-rights demonstrators will also attend, although Trump has broken with the evangelical wing of the Republican Party by embracing and defending the LGBT community.

Trump will likely be a far more disruptive agitator in his own way, bringing to the White House his take-no-prisoners business instincts and an internal bias toward action that at times seems hard-wired into his DNA.

Insiders told DailyMail.com to expect a flurry of executive orders on Monday including a few high-impact pen strokes affecting healthcare policy, taxes and diplomatic missions.

In particular, one senior aide said Wednesday that Trump is mulling an order that would give his State Department a clear path to immediately move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the nation’s ‘eternal capital.’

Trump in many ways is expected to be the yin to President Barack Obama’s yang, executing one 180-degree turn after another in ways that will dismiss the federal government’s tendency to move in slow, stepwise motion.

Another senior aide said Thursday that Trump plans to institute some form of a federal hiring freeze for non-essential personnel in departments not linked to national security.

Such a move would, as bureaucrats retire or quit, give the new president a quick route to budget savings that would not be subject to congressional review or interference from government workers’ unions.

In addition, Trump may use an executive order to rescind Obama’s ‘DACA’ and ‘DAPA’ programs, a collective promise that the federal government won’t deport illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, or their parents.

A Trump aide speculated Thursday that the president-elect is not planning a mass-deportation, but sees the programs as an impediment to ejecting ‘criminal aliens’ from the United States if they fall into one of those two groups.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, told DailyMail.com on Friday that he has no idea what kind of executive orders Trump is cooking up for his first days in office.

‘All I’ve heard is that Monday he’s going to sign a lot of what he can sign,’ Grassley said.

‘I haven’t heard anything specific about what that would be. Since I haven’t talked to anybody in the new administration I don’t have any basis for saying what they might do or might not do.’

Sessions offered no opinion about reports that the FBI is part of a multi-agency task force examining whether wire intercepts and financial records might show Russian interference in the 2016 election.

‘I’m not commenting on any of that, and I haven’t seen it either,’ he told DailyMail.com.

America’s political soothsayers never saw Friday’s inauguration coming 18 months ago, when Trump descended a lobby escalator in his Trump Tower skyscraper to announce his candidacy.

Newspaper editorials mocked him as a ‘carnival barker’ and a ‘charlatan.’ His fellow Republican White House hopefuls snickered as they plotted to undermine him, even as his star power seemed to monopolize the national media landscape.

Journalists and the pundit class, however, missed a groundswell of support from disaffected Republicans and independent voters who were ready for Trump’s message of economic populism.

As they pummeled him with bombshell accusations of misogyny and questioned the degree to which Russia-directed computer hacking gave him a decisive edge over Democrat Hillary Clinton, he never batted an eye.

Reporters and their employers became the enemy. Some were banned from campaign events. Others found themselves called out by name as thousands of chanting Trump fans egged him on.

Those same scribes will have to make their peace with covering ‘The Donald’ as he brings what actor Matthew McConaughey conceded to the Associated Press would be ‘a dynamic four years.’

Unlike most of institutional Hollywood, which supported Clinton almost unanimously, McConaughey said Americans should ’embrace’ their new leader and ‘shake hands with the fact that this is happening and it’s going down.’

Filmmaker Robert Redford, too, seemed resigned to reality on Thursday at his Sundance Film Festival.

‘Presidents come and go, the pendulum swings back and forth,’ he mused during the festival’s opening press conference.

Barbara Streisand, however, vented her spleen Trump-ward with a Huffington Post essay titled ‘Clueless, Reckless, Graceless, Mindless and Heartless: Our President Elect.’

‘He has demonstrated he is both dangerous and unfit for office,’ the aging actress and singer wrote.

A Rasmussen daily tracking poll released Friday showed that 56 per cent of Americans who were ‘likely voters,’ including 85 per cent of Republicans, have a positive view of Trump’s job performance as he takes over the Oval Office.

More than half – 55 per cent – of independent voters, those unaffiliated with either major political party, give Trump a thumbs-up. But 70 per cent of Democrats disagree.

Obama entered office with a 67 per cent approval rating in the same poll, as the nation’s first black president.

But he and the outgoing first lady embraced Friday’s transition, warmly greeting Donald and Melania Trump to the White House for the traditional pre-inauguration coffee and tea reception in the Blue Room.

The Trumps presented Michelle Obama with a gift, wrapped in an unmistakable Tiffany box.

Trump Tower adjoins the luxury jeweler’s New York City flagship store in, which this week reported a sales decline since airtight security began disrupting foot traffic on Fifth Avenue.

A presidential inauguration is a day of sometimes awkward adjustments, including one as the Trumps arrived following a prayer service at nearby St. John’s church.

Melania approached Michelle Obama for a handshake. Mrs. Obama went in for a hug. They ended up embracing – a hopeful gesture on display for the world to see, and to ponder.

The staff who oversees the White House residence presented the Obamas with a token of respect: the flag that flew over the presidential mansion Friday morning, and one that flew on the first day of his presidency.

After his inauguration, Trump is scheduled to attend a traditional luncheon with members of Congress, before participating in a parade that ends at the White House – where he will get used to sitting behind the Resolute Desk as he begins to shift from campaigning poetry to governing prose.

The first thing he will see is a letter from Obama, another tradition meant as a warm welcome as the baton is passed.

Obama aides wouldn’t say on Friday morning what the outgoing president wrote.

Trump’s inauguration didn’t set an attendance record—that honor belongs to Obama’s historic 2009 swearing-in.

But he did distinguish himself as the incoming president accompanied by the most prayers and invocations.

Three separate invocations at the beginning, and three benedictions after Trump’s speech, bookended the ceremonies as a rabbi, a Catholic bishop, and several protestant leaders bowed their heads along with the nation.

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