The era of Donald Trump begins in America

The 45th President of the United States says the “movement” he triggered would continue and vows to unify the country.

Updated - January 21, 2017 04:45 am IST

Published - January 21, 2017 04:37 am IST - Washington

Thousands of supporters of Donald Trump braved extreme cold and rainy conditions on Friday morning to witness him taking over as the 45th President of the U.S.

Despite the inclement weather, the ceremony was scheduled to take place in open air at the West Front of Capitol, overlooking the National Mall where the crowd assembles.

“It all begins today! ..The movement continues- the work begins,” Mr. Trump, who galvanised people in his march to the most powerful office in the world, said hours before taking charge.

“History in the making,” Pastor Robert Jeffress, a supporter of Mr. Trump who led the customary prayer on the Inauguration Day morning at the St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House told the gathering that included family members of the incoming President, incoming Vice-President Mike Pence and his family members.

“We begin this historic and humbling day as we do every day, with a moment of reflection and prayer,” Mr. Pence tweeted. Baron Trump, the 10-year-old son of Mr. Trump and Melania, was missing during the prayer, triggering curiosity among twitter users.

“[God] told Nehemiah to build a giant wall around Jerusalem to protect the citizens so I’m going to use Nehemiah’s story as an example of why God blesses leaders,” Mr. Jeffress told Fox News on Thursday evening. Mr. Trump has promised to a build a wall along the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico, and to erect trade barriers against many of its long-time partners.

After the prayer meeting, at 9.30, Mr. Trump and wife Melania drove to the White House, which would be their home from Friday evening. The incoming First Family, along with Mr. Pence and his family, attended a tea reception hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, in the South Portico of the White House.

Mr. Trump and the outgoing President met at the White House for a final briefing, which, according to National Public Radio, also involved familiarising the incoming President with the command and control of the U.S nuclear arsenal. Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama travelled together from the White House to the Capitol Hill at 10. 30 am. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 11.30, and oath would be administered at 11.47 am, according to the minute-to-minute schedule. Mr. Trump was scheduled to deliver his 20-minute inaugural address at 11.51.

“If it really pours, that’s OK because people will realise it’s my real hair and that’s OK. It might be a mess, but they’re going to see that it’s my real hair,” Mr. Trump told a gathering of industrialists and major donors on Thursday evening.

Opportunity for India

Indian-origin industrialist P.P. Hinduja, who attended the event, told The Hindu that Mr. Trump would be a great opportunity for India. “In terms of investments and strategic cooperation, this coming years will be great for India-U.S. relations,” he said.

The supporters and protestors of Mr. Trump in the U.S. capital represented the deep divisions that characterised the November presidential election. Matt Moleda, a 26-year old bartender from Fairfax in Virginia, left home at 4 am to volunteer for a protest march against Mr. Trump. A supporter of Bernie Sanders originally, he voted for Hillary Clinton in the November election.

“Mr. Trump is not my President. He is not qualified to be the President of the country. And I want the world to know that he does not represent American,” the 25-year-old said. But for Jason Jacobs, also 25-year-old, queuing up at 6 am to enter the venue was the culmination of long pursued goal. “I live in DC and I am one of the handful of Trump supporters you would find here. My support for Trump even created some angst for my wife, who voted for Hillary,” he said.

Speaking at the event on Thursday, Mr. Trump said he would unify the country. “There’s never been a movement like this and it’s something very, very special. And we’re going to unify our country… we’re going to make America great for all of our people, everybody. Everybody throughout our country. That includes the inner cities, that includes everybody,” he said.

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