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21 Jan 2017

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first- We will follow two rules — buy American and hire American: Trump

Donald Trump delivers a clenched-fist salute to America moments after being sworn in as the 45th President in Washington on Friday. (Reuters picture) 
K.P. Nayar, TT, Jan. 20: The most extraordinary President in the history of the United States was sworn in today as the world braced for unprecedented turmoil in the months ahead in the economic and external affairs of the only superpower in the 21st century.
In one of the briefest of inaugural speeches, Donald Trump promised to fight for "forgotten" Americans.
Populist in tone and reminiscent of his campaign rhetoric, Trump said that "for many decades, we have enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidised the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We have defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own."
Trump is the only American to have fought two political parties in a single election cycle and won the presidency by subduing one and defeating the other.
His Republican Party did not want him as its candidate for the White House and the Grand Old Party's apparatchiks tried at every stage to derail Trump from becoming their nominee for the election two months ago. Until the 70-year-old businessman who has held no prior political office became invincible in the party primaries. Trump made the apparatchiks eat out of his hand and defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.
On his first day in office, the Trump presidency looked very much like his lone wolf poll campaign. Trump is probably the only US President-elect not to have even one member of his incoming cabinet ready to take office along with him.
Democrats in the Senate have withheld confirmation of every one of Trump's cabinet picks. At the time of writing, however, Charles Schumer, the leader of Democrats in the Senate, is said to have agreed to confirm two prospective cabinet members.
In part, Gen. James Mattis, the nominee for defence secretary, and Gen. John Kelly, who will head the Department of Homeland Security, will likely be confirmed this evening because they have publicly disagreed with Trump's views on Russia and on the wall that the new President wants to build along the US border with Mexico.
In effect, at the moment Trump's is practically a one-man administration without a secretary of state or a director of the Central Intelligence Agency and men or women in charge of most other critical posts, including the treasury and health services.
Because of rule changes - known as the "nuclear option" - that Senate Democrats themselves made in President Barack Obama's second term, they cannot indefinitely withhold confirmation of the cabinet picks.
Senator Schumer, in a series of television interviews, called "Trump's cabinet 'a swamp full of billionaires' beset with 'conflicts and ethical issues as far as the eye can see'." He only promised to clear nominees who had faithfully answered to the Senate's queries and come clean.
The new President's swearing-in and preceding events went according to plan and Trump, along with incoming First Lady Melania, stuck to the traditions of a presidential inauguration: worship at Washington's St. John's Episcopal Church, tea with the outgoing President, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, a limousine ride to Capitol Hill and so on.
But the conviviality ended when Trump began his inaugural speech, which amounted to a wholesale indictment of the country which Obama is leaving behind. The outgoing President and First Lady sat grimly as Trump painted a very dark picture of America.
Analysts also felt it was in bad taste that Trump the victor did not show any grace to the vanquished by paying a tribute to Hillary Clinton's long service to the nation. Hillary and Bill Clinton had taken the trouble to attend Trump's swearing-in.
Trump said that the reality of today's America is of "mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealised potential."
He thundered that "this American carnage stops right here and stops right now.... Today's ceremony has very special meaning because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington and giving it back to you, the people."
The gap between the establishment and Trump's mass following was very visible when the 45th President said: "The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land."
Ordinary Americans who braved the morning rain and freezing cold to travel long distances to the National Mall in front of the Capitol - where Presidents are inaugurated - lustily cheered. But members of the Washington establishment who had comfortable seats on the steps of the Capitol sat sullenly and barely applauded.
Unlike previous Presidents, Trump's references to foreign policy were brief. "We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth."

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