On January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump became the 45th American to be sworn in as President of the United States. As with many events surrounding Donald Trump, the inauguration was not without controversy. Trump made headlines when he shockingly announced his new “America First” outlook during his inaugural speech. He stated, “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.” This statement aligned with his “Make America Great Again” slogan and made it clear that Trump was willing to follow through with some of his more radical campaign promises.
Although Trump’s team stated that it was the “biggest inauguration of all time”, the only aspect of the inauguration that the media portrayed as big was the cost. It was the most expensive inauguration to date, yet the crowds looked smaller than Trump had hoped. Even with the smaller than usual crowds, our very own Margaux Gaeser (‘19) said that “it was extremely crowded from what I could see. I was surrounded by all sides and although I was close to the Capitol, I could not see a thing due to the amount of people in front of me.”
No matter who is in office, the inauguration is still an enormous event. The controversy and backlash surrounding Trump’s election caused a security concern for the Secret Service, and about 28,000 personnel were on call to keep the president safe and the situation under control. This large amount of security amounted for a large portion of the cost.
On the day of the inauguration, protests broke out in the streets of Washington. Six police officers were injured, and over 200 protesters were arrested. Even though these protests were significantly smaller than the protests of the days to follow, Friday was the only day that violence broke out. The larger Women’s March on Washington the following day came with no arrests and remained peaceful.
It is traditional for the new president to host a series of inaugural balls, and Trump held three the night of the inauguration to celebrate the new presidency. These events are often filled with A-list celebrities, but one of the few major celebrities to attend Trump’s celebrations was Caitlyn Jenner. Trump responded to this dilemma by stating that, “I don’t want the celebrities. I want the people.” The balls also encountered trouble when protesters that were part of that days earlier marches began to harass the party goers as they were entering the celebrations.