It was the speech so familiar to President Donald Trump that he could have delivered it on the campaign trail.
As he took the podium Friday morning, Trump’s inaugural address was short, but intense; a speech that darkly depicted his view of the country’s shortcomings and sought in some ways to unify a country that is incredibly divided over him.
Standing among the members of the Washington establishment, Trump railed against D.C. and promised to restore the power to the people. With imagery of “carnage” and “blood,” Trump showed no shift from the campaign rhetoric that got him to the White House.
It was the key slogan of his campaign, but Friday as he stood with dozens of elected officials in the center of Washington, D.C., Trump promised Americans sitting at home – those who elected him– that he was not going to allow “a small group in our nation’s capitol” to reap “the rewards of government while the people have born the cost.”
Trump’s promise came after he’d selected a host of billionaires and politically-connected insiders to lead federal agencies from the Department of Health and Human Services and to be Secretary of State.
“Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,” Trump said.
Instead of expressing the kind of optimism that one might expect on inauguration day, Trump focused some of his speech on the country’s shortcomings as he reflected on “mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, and “an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
“The crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump said.
Since Trump’s election, concerns over hate crimes and rising fear among minority populations in the U.S. are stark. Trump warned his supporters not to act with “prejudice,” something that he had declined to do on the trail at points.
“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice,” Trump said.
“The bible tells us, how good and pleasant it is when god’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”
Trump noted that “there should be no fear.”
“We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement,” he said. “And most importantly, we will be protected by God. “
It was what got him elected, but on Friday, Trump demanded that it was “America first” from this moment on.
“t’s going to be only America first. America first,” he said. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. “
Trump showed little interest in reversing course on promises he made about cracking down on illegal border crossings and renegotiating trade deals.
“Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down,” Trump said. “America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. “
Trump also promised to eradicate “radical islamic terrorism.”
Trump offered a stark warning to politicians in Washington.
“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it,” Trump said. “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.”
Trump took on a slew of new promises to “unlock the mysteries of space” and “free the Earth from the miseries of disease.”