‘America First’, Trump declares in challenge to world, taking office (Roundup)

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Donald Trump began his presidency on Friday with a challenge to the world, declaring “From this forward it is going to be only America first”, and this will be “heard in every foreign capital”.

After he was sworn-in as the 45th president of the United States with his hands on two Bibles, his own and President Abraham Lincoln in a ceremony reeking of religiosity and patriotism, he said, “We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”

“We will shine for everyone to follow,” he added. “America will start winning again. Winning like never before.”

He conceded that all nations had the right to put their own interests first. But he added, “We will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.”

“We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay,” he said in his short, succinct speech.

That will stop with his presidency, he said. He promised “a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people” and that “buy American and hire American” will be the new national order.

He called for national unity in his first speech to the nation as President after a campaign that created a deep abyss of political division. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

All children, regardless of where they are born in the US, “are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator”.

He promised a new deal for inner cities that are dominated by minorities. “We are one nation and their pain is our pain,” he said. “Their dreams are our dreams. And their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.”

He called the Obamas “magnificent” and thanked them for being gracious.

The ceremony was disrupted by protesters, who held up placards that spelled, “Resist”. Law enforcement removed them peacefully, while the crowds chanted “USA, USA”.

Outside, protesters disrupted some of the entry points to the heavily guarded ceremony and set fires.

Trump was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts, while Melania, Trump’s third wife, held the Bible for her husband.

Trump was dressed in a black suit and red tie and Melania in a sky-blue dress. Her dress was deigned by Ralph Lauren and was a reflection of Jackie Kennedy, according to media reports.

There were several readings from the Bible by Christian and Jewish clergy during the ceremony in front of the Capitol, which had huge American flags draped over its collonades.

Marking the peaceful transfer of power, the Trumps visited the Obamas at the White House. The soon-to-be ex-President accompanied his successor to the Capitol Hill.

The defeated Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, was at the ceremony with her husband, Bill, a former President.

After the ceremony the Trumps walked to the White House, while the Obamas flew on a helicopter to an air force base for a final ride on the presidential plane to California.

In one of the most powerful symbols of the egalitarian aspects of American politics, outgoing Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, took a regular train as ordinary passengers to their home in Delaware.

–IANS

al/rn

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