President Trump vows to 'unite the civilized world' against terrorism

Trump vowed to "unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth."

By
January 20, 2017 20:22

President Donald Trump's inaugural address

President Donald Trump's inaugural address

WASHINGTON -- Beneath rainy skies on the steps of the Capitol, US President Donald Trump offered Americans in his inaugural speech a despairing image of the state of their nation, vowing a pivot inward for the "protection" of the country, a return of Washington's power back to the masses and a reclamation of lost American glory.

In his first speech as 45th president of the United States, Trump returned to the populist rhetoric that facilitated his unlikely rise to power. He takes office as the first president never to have served in elected office or in the military.

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While focusing on the grief that has faced the "forgotten American," Trump promised to be a president for all of his people, and said that patriotism required his fellow countrymen to rise above the racial and ethnic divides that were pronounced throughout his presidential campaign.

"When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice," Trump said. "It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag."

Depicting violence in the streets of America's cities, Trump promised to end "the crime and gangs and 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," he said.

Trump's administration will seek friendship with nations around the world, he said, promising to "reinforce old alliances and form new ones." But, he added: "We do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first."

"We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow," Trump said.

Departing sharply from the former Obama administration, Trump vowed to "unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth." An official White House transcript of the speech capitalized the phrase, suggesting the incoming administration intends to refer to radical extremists as a formal movement.

"Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength," Trump said. "From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land."

"From this moment on," he said, "it’s going to be 'America First.'"

Trump's new White House website lists defeating Islamic State and other violent extremist groups as his top foreign policy priority. "The Trump administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyber-warfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting," the site reads.

Additionally, the administration commits to diplomacy: "The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies."

Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted Trump and the new first lady at the White House for tea and coffee before the ceremony. After the inauguration, the Obamas flew away from the Capitol on a Marine helicopter to Joint Base Andrews, where they then departed for a vacation in California on the plane that serves the president as Air Force One.

Trump's first task was to receive codes to the nation's nuclear arsenal. He attended a luncheon with members of all three branches of government in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, and then made his way to the White House, his new home, along a parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, offered a benediction for Trump at the inauguration. "Eternal God, bless President Donald J. Trump and America, our great nation," he said. He joined figures from other faiths who also offered blessings.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, currently the highest ranking Jewish figure in government, also spoke at the event. He emphasized that America's core values– respect for individual liberty– cannot be taken for granted.

"We face threats foreign and domestic," Schumer said. "Even our country can erode."

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella Jewish group, issued a congratulatory statement and thanked him for acknowledging "the need to heal the divisions in our country, to improve the lives of all Americans, to reinforce alliances and to strengthen our security."

Jewish supporters for Trump scattered the modest crowd to watch his swearing in. ​"We've been waiting for this moment for quite some time now," said Mitchell Nazarov, 23, donning an IDF sweater. "I hope he'll be good, but I know he'll be better than what we had over the last eight years– especially with what Obama did just a couple weeks ago."

Another Jewish attendee, Nicole Finkel, 18, from Baltimore, questioned the purpose of protests around the country against Trump's inauguration.

"I feel like they're protesting something that can't change," Finkel said. "I just don't like how some of these protests are being handled."

​Jewish supporters for Trump scattered the modest crowd to watch his swearing in. ​"We've been waiting for this moment for quite some time now," said Mitchell Nazarov, 23, donning an IDF sweater. "I hope he'll be good, but I know he'll be better than what we had over the last eight years– especially with what Obama did just a couple weeks ago."

Another Jewish attendee, Nicole Finkel, 18, from Baltimore, questioned the purpose of protests around the country against Trump's inauguration.

"I feel like they're protesting something that can't change," Finkel said. "I just don't like how some of these protests are being handled."



(Protesters opposed to Donald Trump rally at Trump International Hotel on his inaugural parade route in Washington, DC. Credit: Michael Wilner)

Tear gas cannons rocked downtown Washington, just blocks from the parade route, as violent protesters opposed to Trump took to the capital's main thoroughfares. Over 95 people were arrested after bank and storefront windows were shattered.

On Saturday, a march for women's rights and civil liberties will take place along the very same mall which hosted Trump's inauguration attendees. Organizers expect between 200,000-300,000 people to join the movement in Washington, and they will be joined by sister marches around the country.

Trump's inauguration drew roughly 250,000 attendees, according to an early estimate from the logistics of the 2013 presidential ceremony. The previous two inaugurations brought 1.8 million people on to the Mall in 2009, and an approximate 1 million in 2013. Trump's speech lasted about 20 minutes.

"January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again," Trump said. "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now."


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