Donald Trump officially became the 45th president of the United States at the presidential inauguration Friday, Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C.
The swearing-in ceremony followed traditional protocol for a peaceful transition of power and included prayers and scripture reading, remarks from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the vice presidential and presidential oaths, the inaugural address by President Trump and the singing of the national anthem by Jackie Evancho.
“Today, we celebrate one of democracy’s core attributes, the peaceful transfer of power,” Schumer said in his remarks. “And every day, we stand up for core democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution — the rule of law, equal protection for all under law, the freedom of speech, press, religion — the things that make America, America.”
According to CNN, Trump’s address sketched a vision of America that came across as a rejection of the previous administration. He promised to restore the nation’s strength and purpose and to rebuild it from within.
“We are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition,” Trump said in his address. “Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning. Because today 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.”
Though inaugural addresses vary in length, The American Presidency Project said Trump’s address was below average at 1,433 words, with William Henry Harrison’s recorded as the longest in 1841 at 8,460 words.
“He kept it pretty short,” junior Tori Garrett said. “I think it was only 16 minutes long and he hit all of his same points he hit during his campaign.”
Alexander Craig, resident of Edmond, OK, attended the inauguration and said when speakers cited Bible passages many attendees used the scripture to justify themselves rather than reflecting on the message.
“I noticed for a lot of people there, politics was clearly like a team sport,” Craig said. “I remember that after one speaker read the eighth beatitude, Matthew 5:10, ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,’ someone near me said, ‘That’s right, liberals.’”
According to Craig, protestors were not allowed into the national mall, so they were all far away from where he was located and signs were also not allowed in the area.
“I felt completely safe,” Craig said. “Security required everyone present their ticket to multiple people to get in, then you had to take off all outerwear and let security check every pocket while you walked through a metal detector. It was like airport security without the scanning machines or taking your shoes off.”
While television coverage of the ceremony did not show the protests, CNN said six police officers were injured and 217 protestors were arrested after peaceful protests and ‘coordinated disruptions’ of the inauguration turned into street clashes in downtown Washington D.C.
“A lot of the protests after the inauguration got pretty wild,” Craig said. “Cops were chasing down protesters with pepper spray, using tear gas in crowds, but I wasn’t near any of it because the security zone was large and I avoided the heavily traveled areas on my way home.”
Trump now has his ‘first hundred days,’ a term coined by former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to set the stage for the next four years. According to NPR, Trump released his plan at the end of October, which outlines three main areas of focus: cleaning up Washington D.C., protecting American workers and restoring rule of law.
“Something I hope President Trump does right off the bat is appoint a Supreme Court Justice to fill Justice Scalia’s spot, because he died last February,” Garrett said. “That spot has been empty for almost a year and that has caused a lot of split decisions on a lot of major cases. Long term, I think the next four years will be bumpy, to say the least, but I hope that his term is not as dismal as people think it will be.”