Amid all the pomp and circumstance, controversy, and discord surrounding it, history is indeed in the making. Earlier today, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at approximately noon on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol Building, Donald John Trump recited the historical Oath of Office for the highest office in the land to officially become the 45th President of the United States of America.
In a presidential election that saw extreme name-calling, questioning of ability, heated debates on character and political prowess, not to mention widespread media hype and attention, Republican nominee, Donald Trump, defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. It was only the fifth time in U.S. history when the winner in the electoral college lost the popular vote. Trump’s victory was solidified on election night, November 8, 2016. Now, two months later, his president-elect status changes to title of Mr. President around a flurry of inaugural festivities attended by both Trump supporters and protesters alike.
“Dream Big” and “Looking Forward” serve as the themes earmarked for the week-long activities attended by the 72-year-old Trump and his Vice President-elect, Republican Congressman, Michael Pence of Indiana.
The Chairman’s Global Dinner, a black-tie event set for Tuesday evening kicked off the week where Mr. Trump was formally introduced to foreign diplomats. On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence attended a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery followed by a welcoming celebration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It is here that Mr. Trump delivered his “Make America Great Again!” speech. Musical performances by various artists including country western star Toby Keith, soul singer Sam Moore, and rock band 3 Doors Down took place, finishing with a fireworks finale. These events were followed by the Liberty Ball on Thursday evening attended by Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania.
On Friday morning there was a prayer service at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, then a breakfast tea at the White House hosted by President and Mrs. Obama to start an Inauguration Day that predicted to be mild, overcast, and damp. The two couples then motorcaded to the platformed steps of the Capitol Building where the 58th inauguration commenced.
Following invocations and introductions of past presidents and congressional leaders, Vice President-elect Pence was sworn in by Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Then, Donald J. Trump placed his hand on President Abraham Lincoln’s Bible along with a cherished family Bible and recited the oath administered by Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to uphold the Office of the President of the United States of America. A brief first speech by the new President followed. The day also includes musical performances by the U.S. Marine Band, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the singing of the national anthem by 16-year-old Jackie Evancho.
President Trump, Vice President Pence, and their spouses will then attend a Congressional Luncheon along with invited members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, and Diplomats where toasts, speeches, and gifts will be exchanged. A parade from the Capitol to the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue follows with the day ending with the President and First Lady making appearances at three inaugural balls scheduled throughout the evening. Saturday morning prayer services at the National Cathedral in Washington DC begins the day for President Trump. This is followed by his stepping into the Oval Office for the first time to assume the duties of President.
The festivities and events surrounding the Presidential Inauguration come with a hefty price tag. An expected $200 million of both taxpayers’ money and private donations is anticipated to be spent with the largest chunk earmarked for security throughout the week. With the work of more than 28,000 service personnel from various agencies, the closing of miles of streets, air space restrictions along with spectator checks and official inspections, security alone is expected to surpass $100 million. While always at a high-level, security for the 2017 Inauguration is especially strict riding on the heels of the number of planned protests, boycotts, and ever-seeming controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s election.
According to an ABC News and Washington Post poll, Trump is the most unpopular president-elect in forty years. His approval rating of only 40% is the lowest of the last seven incoming presidents. And, it is not only the public sector that is showing their disapproval for Mr. Trump. At least sixty Democratic lawmakers intend to boycott Friday’s inauguration following the lead of Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights activist Joe Louis. Louis and Trump have a heated past with Louis calling Trump an “illegitimate president” and Trump countering by describing Louis as “all talk and no action.” Entertainers such as Elton John, Katy Perry, and Celine Dion, along with various designers and left-wing activists are also on the boycott/protest bandwagon by either refusing to perform, declining requests, or joining in demonstrations showing their opposition for everything Trump. One million protesters are expected not only in Washington DC but in all 50 states and in 32 countries across the globe.
Regardless if there are more jeers than cheers or cheers than jeers, the fact remains that history is indeed in the making. Donald J. Trump is now the 45th President of the United States of America and takes his place among the iconic names of past presidents such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon to name just a few. Trump’s reign begins January 20, 2017 under Article II, Section I of the Constitution with the words of not only an oath but of a promise…
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of United States.”