Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon EST.
“Fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you,” Trump said in his inaugural address. “Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another... we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you, the people.”
Trump was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts under overcast skies, minutes after Associate Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Vice President Mike Pence. Thomas is the first African-American in history to administer the Oath.
In the address, President Trump echoed populist themes that were central to his campaign, saying America’s interests alone will be the top priority.
“From this day forward it is going to be only America first, America first,” President Trump said. “Every decision... will be made to benefit American workers and American families. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength... We have made other country's rich, while the wealth and strength of our country has dissipated over the horizon. ..That is the past. We are looking now only to the future..."
Trump also emphasized the importance of unity.
"Whether we are black, brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots,” Trump said. “We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same American flag… When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice."
In stark contrast with these calls for unity were the approximately 70 empty seats left by House Democrats who took part in a boycott of the inauguration. The boycott grew significantly after the then president-elect tweeted Saturday that John Lewis, Democratic congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon, should “finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities.”
The country still faces significant domestic struggles, including violence, poverty and education issues, all of which need to be addressed, Trump said.
“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves,” Trump said. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities...and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives... This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
Trump concluded his speech with a familiar campaign refrain.
“Together, we will make America strong again,” Trump said. “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.”
The J20 UT WalkOut protest began at the Tower around 11:45 a.m. This protest is expected to march downtown where it will merge at 5:30 p.m. with One Resistance Protest, a greater Austin demonstration. This protest will begin at Auditorium Shores and march down Congress Ave. to the Capitol Building.