Trump Promises to Transform Government by Putting the American People First

Andrew Harnik/AP

In a decidedly populist inaugural address, President Donald Trump vowed to lead a government that would benefit and protect all Americans rather than the establishment concentrated in the nation’s capital.

Shortly after being sworn in, Trump said he would diminish the power of those in Washington, D.C., in favor of the American people. Trump promised in a 16-minute speech to make the calling card of his administration a government that is “controlled by the people.” After thanking former President Obama for “gracious aid” throughout the transition, Trump said his inauguration had “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 American people,” Trump said.

A “small group” in Washington has reaped all the benefits of government, according to Trump, with the rest of U.S. citizens left to pick up the check. He repeated many of the themes from his campaign, promising in many ways to expand the role of government through stronger borders, renewed investment in infrastructure and a building up of the military. All decisions made by the government under his leadership, Trump said, will consider only “America first.”

While Trump promised the country will start “winning like never before,” the new president’s speech painted a dark picture of the American landscape, speaking of children trapped in poverty, rusted-out factories, a failing education system, crime, gangs and unrealized potential.

In front of nearly all members of Congress, former presidents and his former campaign opponent in Hillary Clinton, Trump said the government and the politicians who run it have looked out for their own interests only.

“Washington flourished,” he said, “but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”

Trump assured the world that would no longer be the case.

“That all changes starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment,” Trump declared. “It belongs to you.”

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