After a controversial, intense and divisive election season, President Donald Trump officially took office on Jan. 20, 2017. On that Friday morning, I made my way down to the National Mall to witness the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States. Due to high security concerns, much of the area surrounding the National Mall was blocked off. Having to walk over a mile from the bus stop to the Mall, I had slight fears of possible tensions manifesting as President Trump took office. The environment was calm for the most part during the ceremony. Despite hearing some Trump supporters make lewd comments in regards to Barack and Michelle Obama as they entered the Capitol Building, I was impressed with the cooperation between those who attended in support of Trump and those who came to simply witness history. However, I was a little shocked to see the relatively low turnout compared to the estimated expected attendance.
After opening statements from Senator Roy Blunt, the swearing in of Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump resulted in cheers from the crowd. What struck me the most was Trump’s demeanor throughout the ordeal. Having followed many of his speeches and rallies, I expected his speech to be more dramatic, however he appeared nervous, yet calm and composed. The speech had a very populist theme, with efforts to highlight Trump’s “outsider” role in politics.
“We are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American people,” Trump said.
The speech focused on the idea of putting “Americans first,” suggesting a shift towards focusing more on domestic issues. Trump’s promises touched on many concerns expressed throughout this election season, from a heavy focus on economic prosperity to uniting the “civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” How those issues will be addressed was not discussed in his speech.
There appeared to be an effort by the president to reunite a divided America after the divisive rhetoric of this election season.
“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice…..When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.” Trump said.
Whether this effort will carry on throughout the president's term is unclear and reactions from the crowd were mixed, with some clapping, others chanting and some appearing to be unconvinced.
Despite this unification effort, protests and rallies immediately followed Trump’s inauguration ceremony. These demonstrations not only caused damages to the local area, but delayed departing buses. Ironically, the rest of the Capitol was eerily calm.
It’s unclear what’s to be expected from the next four years, especially regarding what promises President Trump will follow through on, but this inauguration will be one to remember. Its impact is still unclear, but is sure to make history.
Sarah Al-Arshani is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.