With a sacred promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, Donald J. Trump has become the 45th president of the United States. In heralding a new era for the nation, President Trump evoked a dark view of America’s realities and an end to what he called the “American carnage.”
Trump: The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of an historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation, and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
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. 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. 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.
NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron is in Washington covering the advent of the 45th president. He spoke with Anchor Mary Alice Williams.
Williams: Michael, you’ve covered inaugurals since 1989. Your thoughts today?
Aron: Mary Alice, I was most struck by the line we just heard: “A new vision will govern our land. America first.” America First was the name of a committee formed in 1940 that was trying to keep America out of World War II. Its spokesman was Charles Lindbergh. It was isolationist. I don’t know if this has the suggestion in it that Trump plans to roll back from commitments abroad, but I think that was certainly the central idea of this speech.
Williams: Michael, he vilified Washington. Did you get a sense that he was taking swipes at Obama?
Aron: Yes, he vilified Washington and said power will flow back to the people. When they talk about people, they don’t say which people, just the people. He was tough on Obama indirectly, took what is sometimes called in political speech swipes. One was he said to the listeners, “You will never be ignored again,” implying, I guess, that they’ve been ignored under Obama. He said that America will start winning again. We certainly heard that during the campaign plenty. Later in the speech he said, “The time for talk is over. It’s now the hour for action.” I guess that’s implying that Obama was all talk and no action. So anti-Washington heavily, slight swipe at Obama after saying that the Obama transition had been fabulous. He thanked Barack and Michelle Obama for a fabulous transition.
Williams: Michael, there was no mention of immigration, which had been so important to his campaign.
Aron: Well, he slid over the word immigration and he did say protect our borders in one quick phrase, but you’re right that it was so much a centerpiece of his year and a half long campaign for the office and it took a very secondary position in this speech. I don’t know whether that suggests that they’re slowing down on immigration or rethinking immigration, but you’re right, it was hardly any kind of major theme as it had been.
Williams: I want to ask you about the New Jersey contingent. But first, what’s your reading of the reaction on the ground there among the crowd?
Aron: We happened to be stationed across from a protest area where I would say 1,000 to 2,000 people have been making a lot of noise and carrying an awful lot of anti-Trump signs. But where we are, I saw a lot of enthusiasm for Trump. The Trump supporters are here. They were beneath us. They were excited. They were applauding. So, mixed reaction on the ground just like that mixed election we had.
Williams: OK. What of the New Jersey contingent and Gov. Christie? Did you see him?
Aron: Never saw Gov. Christie. Saw a few New Jerseyans. Our best opportunity to see and talk to New Jerseyans was at the pre-inaugural ball last night:
Well heeled, well dressed, well coiffed. That was the look at last night’s gala hosted by the D.C.-based New Jersey State Society. Gov. and Mrs. Christie, the co-chairs of the event, weren’t there, but the notables who were included Bill Stepien, the former Christie aide and now Trump’s White House political director. And there was Congressman Tom MacArthur who says he’s enthusiastic about Donald Trump.
“I know there’s a lot of controversy around this transition. I get that. But we have an opportunity, in my view, to turn a new page. And this is a president who’s not ideological, who I think is practical, and I’m optimistic,” he said.
We spotted Ken Kurson, the former Republican operative now editor of the Observer, the media property owned by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.
“I think that he’s going to be invaluable to the president. Jared’s number one skill is his almost preternatural ability to remain calm in a crisis. And he’s been through some crises. He’s got that odd thing where the worse things get, the calmer he gets, the more determined he is to think things through and I think that will especially be relevant in this administration,” Kurson said.
Joe Piscopo was there and told us he is seriously looking at running for New Jersey governor this year.
“I’m studying more for this than I did for any test I ever took in high school,” he said.
How’d he do in high school?
“Don’t ask,” he laughed.
We wondered if he’d be using the same celebrity outsider route that got Trump elected.
“I understand the analogy, but Donald, that’s lightening in a bottle. That could never happen again. And Jersey’s nothing for nothing,” Piscopo said. “Nobody in New Jersey’s impressed with anybody or anything. You got to work it, you got to earn it.”
And what does Kurson say to all his liberal friends who worry about Trump?
“I say give him a chance. They don’t know him. I’m lucky to have had the benefit of knowing Donald Trump a little bit. And he’s a more thoughtful, much smarter, much more strategic guy than he’s portrayed in the media. I think they’re having giant marches before he even becomes president. I’d like to see people give him a chance,” he said.
Aron: So that was last night. Now we’ve had the inaugural address and somewhat nationalistic inaugural address. The parade is still going on behind me. It’s well over an hour and a half now. And attention now turns to the women’s marches in cities around the country and especially this one tomorrow. In Washington, I’m Michael Aron. Mary Alice, back to you.
Williams: Thank you, Michael.