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A protestor holds a cigar and a sign after the Inauguration.

By Katie Petersen


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States shortly after noon on Friday, January 20.

Gates opened at 6 a.m. for a ceremony that began at approximately 11:30 a.m. In the interim, ticket-holders filed through TSA security checkpoints and piled in, jockeying to secure a view of the Capitol.

Photo: Katie Petersen

The crowd begins to fill up on the west side of the Capitol

No official estimate of attendance has been released, but pictures and estimations suggest significantly lower attendance than that of President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. 

Rain was forecasted, but attendees faced only a couple of brief drizzles, which didn't succeed in dampening spirits, as the crowd chanted “We want Trump!” and “U.S.A.!” multiple times.

Other chants arose when unpopular speakers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made their way to the podium. “Drain the swamp,” was one such chant. Additional, individual calls to Schumer included “Get out of the way and let us work!”

Religious leaders offered a record number of six prayers at the Inauguration. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas performed Vice President Mike Pence’s swearing-in, and Chief Justice John Roberts performed Trump’s.

Trump began his speech by thanking the Obamas for their “aid in this transition of power.”

But, he highlighted, the transition was not just of power from one party to another. Instead, Trump said, “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. to you [the American people].”

Emphasizing the theme of the “forgotten man and the forgotten woman,” Trump said, “People have been left behind, but that is all changing ... everyone is listening to you now.”

“What really matters,” Trump said, “is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people ... A nation exists to serve its citizens.”

As the new head of that government, Trump mentioned a few ways he aims to serve “all citizens” of the United States: “America First” policies on trade, taxes, immigration, and foreign affairs. He mentioned building up infrastructure and the military, and also promised to follow two rules: “buy American and hire American.”

He emphasized unity, describing the Presidential oath of office as “an oath of allegiance to all Americans.”

He also suggested patriotism as a solution to conflict. “A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions,” he said.

To this end, it seems, Trump included in his final remarks a combination of the two main slogans of one of the most divisive Presidential campaigns in American history: “Together, we will make America strong again.”

Nevertheless, division remained: one attendee told the 'Prince' that a man near her during the ceremony booed Trump and generally “tried to disrupt” the President’s swearing-in, but was quickly tackled by another attendee and shouted at by the surrounding crowd.

Protests continued after the ceremony, outside the secure perimeters. Several groups with signs and chants waited at security checkpoints and along the Inaugural parade route to reach both those observing and those in the parade. Some were rallying generally against Trump, and some for a specific cause, like gender equality.

Five students from Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City were protesting at the parade with a school group, with a sign that read “Repeal and replace Trump, not Obamacare.” They told the 'Prince' that the experience of protesting at the parade was "insane, hard, and really good."

Police officers and military personnel were present throughout the day. One inaugural observer approached an officer to ask if there were any places to watch the parade where there wouldn’t be protestors, explaining that she didn't feel comfortable.

A protestor walking by, with whom the observer seemed to have interacted before this conversation, taunted “I’m gonna smack you.”

Of course, animosity existed on both sides, with many individuals there to cheer for the new president also jeering protesters.

While at the parade, Katherine Trout ‘19 saw smoke near 16th St. and Penn Ave., filling up the street. Other reports mention the presence of tear gas bombs and flash grenades, as well as property damage and at least one fire.

An officer on the parade route, in response to how the officials were managing relations between people present to see and people present to protest the inauguration, said, “We’re here for public safety ... and not half the public.”

CNN reports that police were injured and more than 200 arrests were made at various Trump-related protests in D.C. on Friday.

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