Donald John Trump has been sworn in as 45th president of the United States of America.
Just before 11 a.m. on Friday, Trump and his wife Melania accompanied President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in a motorcade from the White House to the U.S. Capitol. They passed down an empty Pennsylvania Avenue, in a city where anti-Trump protestors had clashed with police at security checkpoints outside the closed-off security zone.
Earlier Friday morning, the Trumps attended a service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, continuing an inauguration-day tradition. One of the preachers was Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist minister who is pastor of a Dallas megachurch, and who has made inflammatory condemnations of both Mormonism and Islam in the past.
Jeffress, who grew close to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, said on Twitter that his sermon would be entitled “When God Chooses a Leader.” Trump left the service about 9:30 a.m. He mouthed “Thank you” to supporters as he climbed into an SUV.
After taking the oath of office, President Trump will attend a luncheon at the Capitol, and his inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will begin about 3 p.m. That parade is supposed to last about 90 minutes — which would make it one of the shortest inaugural parades in recent history. Tens of thousands of protesters are expected during the day: Protest groups have vowed to gather at each of the 20 security checkpoints where attendees will enter the Mall.
Signs of the transfer of power were evident throughout the morning.
Before 9:30 a.m., TV footage showed Obama leaving the Oval Office for the last time, before he and the first lady held a pre-inauguration tea with the Trumps. Obama smiled as he walked down an exterior hallway, in view of cameras. “Any last words for the American people?” a member of the press called out. “Thank you,” Obama said.
Soon after, the Trumps arrived at the White House, greeting the Obamas and presenting them with a gift — a box wrapped in the distinctive light blue of high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. The Obamas seemed briefly perplexed about what to do with it, with the president looking in vain for someone to hold the box while the new First Couple and the old took a photo together.
On the White House steps, that history went unmentioned. Obama asked Trump, “How was church?” and they turned to go inside.
The Capitol began filling up early Friday with guests for the ceremony, including Trump’s children and top aides.
As the Obamas and Trumps met at the White House, Trump’s 2016 opponent — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — arrived at the Capitol with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton wore a white pantsuit. She had worn similar pantsuits at key moments during her campaign as a nod to early suffragettes, who often wore white.
Trump and his extended family arrived in Washington Thursday, signaling a new era in the country’s governance as they stepped off a military plane at Joint Base Andrews. They participated in a full day of events that included a stop at Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue property, the Trump International Hotel, and later a wreath-laying with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
Past presidents began to descend on Washington to witness Trump’s swearing-in, including Jimmy Carter, who was spotted Thursday aboard a commercial Delta flight from Atlanta.
George H.W. Bush will not be making the trip. He and his wife, Barbara, were hospitalized in Houston this week. The former president was in stable condition Thursday and hoping to be discharged from the intensive-care unit in coming days, while the former first lady was recovering from bronchitis, spokesman Jim McGrath said.
Trump spent part of Thursday making final preparations for the ceremony. He visited Blair House, the government property where he stayed the night before moving into the White House, and met there Thursday afternoon with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to discuss arrangements for Friday’s ceremony. Roberts will administer the oath of office. Trump is expected to use two Bibles: a family one and one that Lincoln used at his first inauguration in 1861.
Trump’s aides said he has taken personal ownership of his speech, writing and rewriting drafts himself with the help of a few advisers, and practiced delivering it before teleprompters this week at Trump Tower in New York.
“It’s going to be a very personal and sincere statement,” Spicer said. “I think it’s going to be less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document — a vision of where he sees the country, the proper role of government, the role of citizens.”
On Saturday morning, the new president will attend a traditional national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral before spending the rest of the weekend settling into his new home and meeting with his advisers.
Pence marveled to reporters: “Sometimes people stop me on the street they say, ‘How you holding up? I can’t imagine how busy you are.’ And I just tell them, ‘Well, you just have to understand, the energy and the enthusiasm of Donald Trump is contagious.’
Newscredit: The Washington Post