Trump Promises Change at Inauguration as Protests Mount
By Dakota Antelman (Hudson High School Student)
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Las Vegas in February of last year. Trump was inaugurated nearly a year later, on Friday while police and demonstrators clashed nearby. | Photo by Gage Skidmore (Used under Creative Commons License)
Shortly after taking the oath of office, president Donald Trump told the public in his inaugural address that “A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions.”
Simultaneously, a group of anti-Trump demonstrators set fires, broke windows and threw rocks at police nearby. Washington DC Police arrested over 200 people and used stun-grenades and pepper spray to disperse crowds on multiple occasions on Friday as Trump, never more than a few miles away, celebrated.
The speech as well as the outbursts of violence also all occurred less than 24 hours before well over a million protesters were expected to take to the streets in marches against Trump across the country.
“It’s not enough to continue shouting into the echo chamber of social media,” one protester, Clara Mystif, told the Washington Post. “We’re here to actually put our bodies on the line in support of our friends who are going to be targeted by this regime.”
Back at the Capitol Building, Trump focused much of his speech around the economic issues that prompted many voters to support him in November.
“For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said. “Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.”
He continued with his oft-repeated anti-establishment rhetoric promising on multiple occasions to give power back to the people.
Addressing his supporters in particular, Trump added, “You came by the tens of millions to become part of an historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens.”
Trump would later reprise his bleak portrait of America that earned him particular scrutiny after his address at the Republican National Convention this summer. He described “mothers and children trapped in the poverty of our inner cities,” the “young and beautiful students deprived of any knowledge,” and the “drugs that have stolen too many lives...”
“This American carnage stops right now,” he declared.
Trump concluded the speech by promising to strengthen American borders, boost infrastructure, and “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism.”
“There should be no fear,” he said. “We are protected, and we will always be protected.”
His detractors, who spent much of Friday afternoon assembled near the inaugural parade route, disagreed.
A Black Lives Matter group chained themselves to a gate that would have allowed spectators into the ceremonies. Another group formed a human barricade over which police officers had to help spectators who wanted to see the parade. In the evening, protesters staged a sit in and continued to march as the Trumps and their supporters moved to a series of Inaugural Balls across the city.
Indeed, the violent protests were just a small portion of the demonstrations that have and will continue throughout the capital this weekend.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Capitol building for a march there. Saturday also played host to simultaneous marches in dozens of cities across the country and the world.
As the Trump administration enters its first days and weeks, citizens and lawmakers alike are coming to terms with the political division the campaign brought out and Friday’s events highlighted.
“We live in a challenging and tumultuous time,” started senate minority leader Chuck Schumer during his speaking slot at the inaugural ceremony shortly before Trump took his oath, “a quickly evolving, ever more interconnected world, a rapidly changing economy that benefits too few, while leaving too many behind, a fractured media [and] a politics frequently consumed by rancor.”
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