It didn’t take long for President Trump to rip into the self-serving ruling class and hit the populist themes of his campaign. Wasting no time on the usual fluff and platitudes that make most inaugural addresses forgettable, Trump made it plain that this program is to undo the globalism, socialism, secularism and Islamophilia of the last eight years.
As the pols behind him shifted uneasily in their seats and looked glum, he promised to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism,” protect American borders (instead of the “borders of other countries”), make “America first” the criterion of all policy, stop the hubristic meddling in the affairs of other countries and financing other nation’s armies while neglecting our own, move Americans from “welfare to work,” and address crumbling inner cities. He even worked in a few references to the “almighty creator,” whose protection he implied is more efficacious than those of secularist pols.
Trump was all business and didn’t shy away from any of his campaign’s criticism of the “establishment.” The days of Washington feathering its nest at the expense of “forgotten” Americans is over, he said: “The people have become the rulers of this country again.” He said that the day marks not the transfer of power from one party to another but the transfer of power from Washington “to the people.” In a veiled barb at establishment Republicans, he said it is less important which party controls the government than that the people control the government.
A no-nonsense nationalism defined the speech. Every note of it contrasted with the open-borders internationalism and special-interests ideology to which both parties, in varying degrees, have paid homage for the last sixteen years: “The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry… We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.”
The speech was a concise repudiation of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama presidencies, marking the end of an era of “empty talk” and the beginning of the “hour of action.”
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