Washington, D.C.- In his first address as President of the United States, Donald Trump pledged that his inauguration will mark a moment in American history when “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”
The 45th president, whose campaign for the job was marked by bitter partisan division and deep skepticism from his critics, told the thousands assembled in Washington D.C. that his administration will hand power back to the American public.
“Today’s ceremony has very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one president to another or from party to another,” he said. “We are transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.”
Promising to protect America’s borders and its economy from “the ravages of other countries,” Trump’s message focused on American identity at a time of increasing globalization, pledging to bring back lost jobs and to “rebuild our country with American hands and American labor.”
“From this day forward a new vision will govern our land,” he said. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only ‘America First.'”
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families”
The new president painted a picture of an American middle class that has been plagued by poverty, drug abuse and unemployment, promising a new dawn of prosperity.
“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he said.
A president whose coalition included only a sliver of America’s racial minorities, Trump made a call for unity under one American flag and national identity.
“Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots,” he said.
And he added: “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
And Trump did not shy away from catchphrases that he deployed during his campaign, saying that “America will start winning again” and promising to “Make America Great Again.”
Trump will enter office with the lowest approval rating for an incoming president in the history of the NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, with only 44 percent approving of his handling of the presidential transition compared to 52 percent disapproving. Still, more Americans express hope that the state of the country will improve in the next five years than those who say the nation will go into decline.
And the man Trump will replace, outgoing President Barack Obama, is exiting the White House on a high note, matching the high marks he received in the first months after taking office in 2009.
More than 60 Democratic House members declined to attend the inauguration, calling Trump’s election illegitimate or citing his most controversial campaign rhetoric about Muslims, Latinos, African-Americans and women.
Trump’s inaugural address was also attended by his defeated Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, along with her husband, former president Bill Clinton.