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The Presidency Of Donald J. Trump: Act One, Scene One

21/01/2017 08:56
Bastiaan Slabbers via Getty Images

Lights up.

As I'm writing this, Donald J. Trump has been the 45th President of the United States for around an hour. The world is reeling from a presidency it never expected. A triumphal Donald Trump placed his hand on a bible to be the 45th person to take the oath of office, surrounded by a visibly sad, but smiling, Hilary Clinton, four former US presidents, Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle and his extended family, making history.

Trump arrives to a challenge. The chair of the Senate inauguration committee quoted the inaugural addresses of two former presidents in his address prior to the inauguration. He quoted first 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson, saying "We are all Republicans; we are all Federalists" (the two parties of the time) and 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, who said during the Civil War of both sides that they "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God." This is representative of a country that needs uniting. Two divisive candidates contested a divisive election. Many Americans feel fearful of Mr Trump's premiership; as do people all over the world.

He used his short inaugural address (just 20 minutes), to give a speech not indifferent to those he gave on the campaign trail. He talked of "America First" extensively, criticising past administrations for defending foreign borders before defending America's own. He went on to talk about returning power to the people - no longer leaving it to the Washington "establishment," as he claims it has been for many years. His speech was also peppered with calls for unity and mentions of God, cheered on by a smaller crowd than Obama managed 8 years ago.

This first address appealed to a traditional, conservative, nationalist population of America which have made Donald Trump their champion. With his first policy announcement coming 90 minutes after the inauguration that his administration will develop a missile defence system against Iran and North Korea may perhaps be the first look at what the Trump/Pence White House will look like. In addition, by signing an order for a National Day of Patriotism, Trump, shows that the so-called nativist wing of the Republican Party will be able to name Trump as a President from their faction of the GOP.

Obama's departure was visibly pensive. Michelle Obama, the now former first Lady, looking similarly pensive but more morose than her husband shared a moment of commiseration with the former Democratic nominee and former First Lady Hilary Clinton. They leave as a highly popular First Couple, with many asking whether they will make a return to frontline politics one day, with them moving now to just a few streets away from the White House, remaining in Washington until their youngest daughter has finished high school, later this year.

For the next four years, and possibly eight, Mr Trump will lead an America and a world divided. He will join a global politics on a knife edge with a tide of populism (given new wind by his inauguration), of Brexit (which Nigel Farage claimed helped DJT to victory) and of religious tension (with the Islamic State still at large). His protectionism will provide a stark change from his predecessors with America perhaps being split Red and Blue more than ever in recent history.

While the Mexican government and the EU perhaps look to the next four years with trepidation, and Russia look with hope and nervous confidence, the protestors out on the streets of the District of Columbia this afternoon speak out in fear of his leadership. As president Obama takes a holiday in Palm Springs and Trump tucks into his first lunch as President (of lobster, shrimp, and Aberdeen Angus beef) the world waits with bated breath to see if the Trump of the presidency will be a different one to that of the campaign, however, with "America First" and "Buy American, hire American" being the memorable moments of his speech today, he looks to be following his "Make American Great Again" mantra so far.

The @POTUS twitter has been handed to President Trump, the stage is set, but the question remains: is the world ready for act one?

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