Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. NPR reporters and editors across the newsroom have annotated his inaugural address.
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Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people. Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done. Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.They have been magnificent. Thank you.
It’s remarkable that Trump is following Barack Obama as president, a man whom Trump repeatedly and falsely questioned about his birthplace. It’s what launched him onto the scene during this run for the White House. But despite that, Obama made a point of being gracious and welcoming during the transition. In fact, in the Oval Office when Trump met with Obama after his election, Trump noted that he had never met Obama and was impressed. Since then, they have talked multiple times by phone. It’s an example that Obama learned from his predecessor, George W. Bush. Despite Obama’s having run against Bush’s economic and foreign policy, Bush was gracious. It’s unclear, however, that Obama will completely follow Bush’s example post-presidency. W., who left office with rock-bottom approval ratings, remained silent for much of Obama’s presidency. Obama, on the other hand, is leaving with high approval ratings. He said he will be focused on family for a year, but he has pledged to speak out when what he sees as American “core values” are threatened.
NPR Political Editor & Digital Audience
Today’s ceremony, however, 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, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.
Trump’s inaugural speech strongly echoes the themes that were central to his campaign: a populist, anti-establishment message combined with a promise to transfer power to “the people.” Trump tapped into a feeling among many voters that the political system was broken and the Washington establishment was not serving them; that feeling led many voters — especially in the nation’s Rust Belt — to reject traditional politicians and instead elect a real estate developer and entertainment mogul with no political experience to the nation’s highest office.
NPR Politics Reporter/Covers Trump
For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left. And the factories closed.
It’s worth noting that despite Trump’s anti-establishment message and his frequent promises during the campaign to “drain the swamp,” Trump’s Cabinet picks so far have included several billionaires and Washington and Wall Street insiders, including billionaire Betsy DeVos, former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin, former Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, and countless current and former elected officials.
This whole opening section of Trump’s speech has echoes of the inaugural address of another Republican president who came in as a Washington outsider promising change — Ronald Reagan, who in his 1981 inaugural address said: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”
In that speech, like Trump, Reagan pitted himself and the American people against the elites who ruled in Washington. Many of those establishment elites (members of Congress, past presidents) sat behind Trump as he delivered his remarks.
NPR White House Correspondent
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. That all changes starting right here and right now. Because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.
Attacking the political establishment of both parties was a hallmark of Trump’s campaign. He often described the nation’s leaders as “stupid people” and promised that it will be “so easy” to create new jobs, negotiate more favorable trade deals, reform the nation’s health care system, and strengthen border security.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
This is a phrase that we also heard on the morning after election night, when Trump gave his first speech as the president-elect. In that speech, Trump took a more conciliatory tone than usual, promising to be the president for all Americans and talking about “binding the wounds of division” in the nation.
This seems to harken back to a familiar kind of tone and phrase for Republican presidents — the “silent majority,” coined by Richard Nixon and won over by Reagan.
NPR Political Editor & Digital Audience
Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a 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. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.
These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. 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 unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
School funding in America comes from a combination of three sources. The balance of funding varies from state to state and community to community and can vary widely. But on average, 45 percent comes from local money — mostly property taxes, 45 percent from the state and about 10 percent from the federal government. Here is the census data.
According to this study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 31 states spent less money per student in 2014 than they did in 2008. During that time, the study found, local funding also dropped in 18 states.
As for the “deprivation of knowledge,” in the latest international review from the Program for International Student Assessment, U.S. 15-year-olds saw an 11-point drop in average score for math, while students remained relatively flat in reading and science.
NPR Education Correspondent
This is a stark term that appears to be new for Trump, although it carries forward an idea that is repeated in this speech and that Trump often stressed, particularly in the final months of the campaign. He paints a bleak picture of America as a country plagued by a devastated manufacturing sector, crime and troubled schools. In reality, the nation has seen an overall downward trend in violent crime in recent decades, although some cities have experienced spikes in crime over the past couple of years.
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. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.
The leaders of the Defense Department dispute Trump’s characterization that the U.S. military has been “depleted.” The force is smaller than it was at the peak of the war in Iraq, but its commanders say it is still by far the most powerful on earth.
Phil EwingNPR National Security Editor
The U.S. will spend $4.5 billion, (a 2.5 percent increase over FY2016) on border security in 2017, according to an analysis of the Department of Homeland Security budget by the National Immigration Forum.
The Congressional Research Service reports that funding for border security has risen steadily since 1990, specifically funding for the U.S. Border Patrol. In FY2015, the Border Patrol had 20,273 agents, including 17,522 posted at the Southwest border.
NPR National Desk Correspondent
And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
Trump alludes to estimates that the total cost of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan — including reconstruction and aid, subsequent benefits for veterans, and the cost to service the debt that partly paid for them — could range from $3 trillion to $5 trillion. There is no official U.S. government estimate for the total cost of the wars and their aftermath.
Phil EwingNPR National Security Editor
Less than 1 percent of the $4 trillion federal budget goes to foreign aid. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in 2014 found that the average respondent guessed it was 26 percent of the budget.
Selena Simmons-DuffinProducer, All Things Considered
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.
Secretary of State John Kerry gave similar remarks in his farewell remarks on Thursday: “We live in a more turbulent world in some ways. Why? Not because of the absence of leadership from us, but because the world is going through a transformation unlike anything it’s ever seen before, mostly because of technology. It is a fact that 85 percent of the jobs lost in the United States of America are lost not because of trade but because of technology. And it could even speed up with artificial intelligence and other things that are coming down the road.”
NPR Diplomacy Correspondent
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.
After World War II, the majority of Americans could be called “middle class.” But a recent study by Pew Research showed that by early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined. Most of that change reflected an increase in upper-income households, while about a third of the change came from families moving down in income. As a result, the majority of Americans were either upper-income or lower-income — but not in the “middle class” — a demographic shift that Pew said “could signal a tipping point.”
NPR Senior Business Editor
But that is the past and now we are looking only to the future.
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.
The phrase “America First” — repeated several times for emphasis in today’s Trump inaugural address — has been heard often in Trump’s campaign. In recent generations, that phrase had been considered problematic in American politics because of the controversial association with the America First Committee, which strove to prevent U.S. entry into World War II. Formed after war began in Europe, the AFC included many prominent Americans. Its best-known spokesman was aviator-cum-national hero Charles Lindbergh, who had visited Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and expressed admiration for its air force. In his speeches, Lindbergh said those who were most pro-war in the U.S. were British sympathizers and Jews. After Pearl Harbor, the AFC faded out and most of its leaders got behind the war effort. Some of its leading figures in government emerged later as leaders in supporting the United Nations and other efforts at greater international engagement.
NPR Senior Editor/Correspondent, Washington Desk
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.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
In addition to this pledge about winning being a constant refrain during his campaign for president, it is also a perfect example of Trump’s employment of the power of positive thinking. More accurately, The Power of Positive Thinking, the most famous book written by the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale. Trump attended Peale’s Marble Collegiate Church as a child, and Peale officiated Trump’s first wedding. Peale writes about ridding the mind of negative thinking and focusing on the desired outcome, be that success or happiness. “Change your mental habits to belief instead of disbelief,” Peale wrote. “Learn to expect not to doubt. In doing so you bring everything into the realm of possibility.”
NPR White House Correspondent
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules — buy American and hire American.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2000, the nation had 17.18 million manufacturing jobs. In 2016, the number was down to 12.28 million manufacturing jobs.
NPR Senior Business Editor
Repeatedly on the campaign trail, Trump complained about the sorry state of the nation’s infrastructure, at the time calling it “third world.” He has called for spending a trillion dollars to repair and expand the nation’s roads, highways, airports and seaports. Details on where that trillion dollars will come from and exactly how and where it will be spent have been lacking, but Trump is calling for leveraging private investment in infrastructure projects with generous tax credits.
Experts say very few infrastructure projects can generate the kinds of revenue streams needed to guarantee profits for private investors, and Trump’s nominees to be secretaries of transportation and commerce both acknowledged in their confirmation hearings that private funding can go only so far. Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross, who wrote the private-funding infrastructure plan Trump floated during the campaign, said this week that plan “was meant to provide another tool, not to be the be all and end all.” He added “there will be some necessity for” direct public funding for infrastructure. And Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao acknowledged there needs to be a fix to the federal highway trust fund, which comes from gasoline taxes and doesn’t generate enough revenue to meet demand.
David SchaperNPR Transportation Correspondent
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 civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
Trump’s promise is a 180-degree change from the policy pursued by President Obama, who had abandoned President George W. Bush’s onetime goal to pursue a “war on terror.” Obama and his administration talked about a “generational struggle” that they wanted to put on a sustainable footing; Trump returns to the Bush-era rhetoric about eliminating the terrorist threat altogether.
Phil EwingNPR National Security Editor
Trump and allies such as his choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, suggest that support for terrorism is a religious belief and that a policy of “extreme vetting” will be needed to keep out immigrants who have those beliefs. But President Trump goes a step further, promising to “eradicate” such beliefs, and closes his speech by raising a clenched fist. It’s not easy to eliminate a belief system “from the face of the earth,” as he says he will do.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
Again, this is very much in line with his promises to restore pride in America and bring the nation together, despite his often divisive campaign rhetoric. He has in the past generated controversy for his promise that under his leadership, the nation would be “one nation, under one God, saluting one American flag.” Trump tends to talk about unity within the context of nationalism and patriotism.
NPR Politics Reporter/Covers Trump
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
Trump quotes Psalm 133: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” But he clearly interprets this verse with a nationalist perspective. The tribute to harmony stands in contrast to his emphasis on “America First” and his insistence that “it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”
There should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Fear seemed to be a major undercurrent of this campaign. Voters I met around the country talked about their fear for the future of the country — for their own economic future, and often their children’s. Despite the fact that the economy improved and poverty rates came down under President Obama, many voters expressed uncertainty about their place in the national and global economy. Others voiced fears about terrorism and immigration and a sense that the culture was changing around them in ways that felt frightening and uncomfortable. Trump’s message resonated with these voters when he emphasized security and promised to make America strong and, of course, “great again.” Trump has promised to do this by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and making Mexico pay for it, something Mexican leaders have said they will not do. He is also talking about increasing the size of the U.S. military. Finally, one of his most controversial proposals began as a promise to ban all Muslims from entering the United States — a proposal that has morphed into slightly different versions several times.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget — that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words — you will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. God bless America.