Donald Trump: The world weeps

2017-01-22 06:10
Protesters hold up banners during a march against the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president outside the US embassy in London. Picture: Reuters

Protesters hold up banners during a march against the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president outside the US embassy in London. Picture: Reuters

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WATCH: Trump, Pence families dance to My Way at Liberty Ball

2017-01-21 14:36

After being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump chose Frank Sinatra's My Way as his first dance with wife Melania during the Liberty Ball.WATCH

Dante Mazza (19) cast his first presidential vote in November for Donald Trump because of his economic vision and acumen.

Trump’s pledge to bring back jobs to communities in Midwestern states such as Michigan and Ohio that were hard-hit by deindustrialisation impressed the Columbia University student.

“To me, it was always the economics,” said Mazza.

On Friday, Mazza attended his first inauguration ceremony. His father, Daniel, flew in from California to join him.

Trump supporters like the Mazzas travelled from across the country to celebrate the departure of two-term incumbent Barack Obama and to register their faith that Trump would deliver on his central campaign pledge, repeated at the close of his inaugural address, to “make America great again”.

The new president delivered his remarks during an inauguration ceremony that capped for now one of the most unlikely political journeys in US history.

Yet, the event felt encased in a restrained, even subdued shell, in part because of the heavy security presence in the capital.

State troopers, Secret Service, district police, and Transportation Security Administration officials were among the many agencies who collaborated to secure the streets, many of which were blocked off by fences and cars.

Post office boxes had red padlocks with golden locks to prevent bombs being placed in them.

The overcast day threatened, but did not deliver, heavy deposits of rain.

The mood among many in the crowd, which was decidedly smaller than the one that attended Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, was upbeat, but not exuberant.

Trump campaigned heavily on his experience as a billionaire international businessman, asserting that this qualified him to improve the fortunes of small business owners and those who felt behind or not included in the economic recovery that took place during the Obama administration.

That message resonated with Richard Early, a resident of Haverhill, Massachusetts, and the owner of a utility construction business.

“We need business people in there,” said Early, who fought with local officials who determined he had too many Trump signs on his lawn.

“He’s not a politician,” Early added. “We don’t need those people in there no more.”

Trump’s comments about women and the Access Hollywood videotape with Billy Bush, in which he appeared to legitimise sexual assault, did not trouble Early.

“I don’t agree with everything he says, but neither does anybody,” Early said. “There are going to be flaws.”

Chris Donovan and Joseph Mandrusiak, field directors for the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, both said the number of women volunteers increased in their offices after the videotape’s release.

“We had a surge of women volunteering the day after the tape,” said Mandrusiak, who helped Pennsylvania vote for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1988.

Kimberly Deabueno drove for four days from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to witness Trump’s inauguration by Chief Justice John Roberts.

While she agreed that Trump’s business experience equipped him to lead the nation because he “knows how to negotiate,” she also said that she felt comfortable with him as a conservative Christian and agreed strongly with his immigration policy.

Trump spoke often during the campaign about his plans to build a wall across the US/Mexico border. During his inaugural address he emphasised the need to secure America’s borders.

“I chanted, ‘Build that wall,’” she said.

Trump’s late night tweets, which have run counter to prior US foreign policy, have been a source of consternation for some.

But Donovan said Trump could reverse what he described as a decline in the US’s standing in the world, pointing to the growth of the Islamic State in Middle Eastern and African countries as an example.

And Deabueno said she joined Twitter so she could read Trump’s tweets because she liked hearing directly from him.

Josh Fidler (25), a Trump campaign worker from Pennsylvania, also enjoyed Trump’s tweets, calling them “the modern fireside chat”.

The term refers to about 30 radio conversations Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the US’s 32nd president, held with Americans between 1933 and 1944.

Deabueno was one of relatively few people of colour in the crowd, which departed peacefully after the ceremony ended.

The scene was far less calm on some of the city’s streets.

A colourful collection of protesters aligned with an array of causes-marchers carried signs calling for the end of US imperialism, declaring that Trump sucks and stating their allegiance to Code Pink, an international coalition of women advocating for peace, chanting anti-Trump slogans as they marched.

Other protesters broke windows of businesses and a black limousine, overturned steel garbage cans and newspaper stands, and engaged in a standoff with city police.

Armed with circular or rectangular shields, the police lit off flash bangs and gradually forced the protesters backward.

District police reported making more than 200 arrests as of the early evening.

Dominique Williams, a protester from Rosslyn, Virginia, held a sign during the ceremony with a picture of a childlike Trump being held by an adult Vladimir Putin.

She expressed a mixture of concern and fear at a possible erosion of democracy during Trump’s presidency.

“I’m concerned, but mostly I’m afraid,” said Williams, whose parents lived in Belgium during World War 2. “There are signs that history tell us and I am afraid.”

Read more on:    donald trump  |  barack obama  |  protest action
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