Trump's inauguration speech
With the incoming of a new president of the United States, it is important for us to analyse President Trump's inauguration speech in order for us to gain an insight into what he plans to achieve during his presidency.
Most presidential inaugural speeches are short, and aim to achieve 3 things:
1) Unify the country after a divisive campaign
2) Share the principles that will guide their presidency
3) Affirm the limitations of power, stating that no one is above the law
Here are some thoughts and questions I have on Trump’s inaugural speech (blue).
Transcript | President Trump’s inauguration speech
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 to restore its promise for all of our people.
The fact that Trump uses ‘we’ suggests that he does want to unite the country, appealing to Republicans and Democrats.
Trump has mentioned that the United states needs to be rebuild throughout his campaign, but what does that actually mean? According to statistics, the country is better off than before Obama came into office. In 2009, the country was suffering from an economic crisis; however at present, the economy has improved greatly and is in reasonable shape. So what does Trump mean by rebuilding?
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for 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.
Obama left Washington DC shortly after the inauguration and a short final farewell address to board on Air Force One for the final time to Palm Springs for a family holiday, although there is no doubt that he and his family will be back very soon! According to the Rasmussen Reports, Obama is leaving the White House with a high approval rating of 62%. In this video published by the Obamas, they spoke about their plans after his presidency, which, first and foremost, included going on holiday, as well as their new project/presidential center in the southside of Chicago, and running programs all over the US. They want to create a project that reflected the needs and wants of the people, so want to hear from everyone around the country.
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 American People.
This line strongly echoes the anti-establishment sentiment, which was central to his campaign. Trump should work towards increasing communication between American citizens and the government during his presidency.
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.The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
It is interesting to point out that Trump's cabinet is the most wealthy to date, including billionaire Betsy DeVos (Education nominee) , former Exxonmobil CEO Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State nominee) and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin (Treasury nominee). The estimated total wealth of Trump’s cabinet could be up to $35bn, which is more than the annual GDP of Bolivia. This cabinet even beats Bush’s millionaire cabinet back in 2001 with a combined wealth of $17.4bn.
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.
If we look back on Obama’s speech in 2009, he electrified hope and thanked the people for their support. Trump’s speech channeled rage as he focused on the problems Americans faced, yet failed to suggest how he aimed to solve such issues.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
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 reflects what Trump said the morning after election night, taking a more conciliatory tone when he talked about ‘binding the wounds’ of the nation. Furthermore, this also reflects a familiar tone and phrase used by both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan - the ‘silent majority’.
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 centre of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.
These are the just and reasonable demands of 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 knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealised potential. According to a study conducted by the centre of budget and policy priorities, at least 31 states provided less state funding per student in the 2014 school year than in 2008, before the recession took hold. 15 states have also cut their spending on education by at least 10%. It will be interesting to see what plans the Trump administration has to improve the education system.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
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; Subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
Despite budget cuts and a reduction in the size of the US military since the peak of the Iraq War, according to a report on globalization from Credit Suisse, the US’s military is still the most powerful in the world. So what does Trump mean by a ‘depletion of our military’?
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
Only less than 1% of the federal government's $4 trillion annual budget goes towards foreign aid. Perhaps President Trump is referring to the effects of globalisation.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
Throughout the campaign Trump has suggested that people are losing jobs because factories are leaving the United States. However, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested in his farewell remarks on Thursday that this is mainly due to advances in technology. He said “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.”
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.
It is promising that President Trump wishes to look towards and focus on the future of the USA, leaving behind the tension from the election campaign.
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 moment on, it’s going to be America First.
This line has echoed throughout Trump's campaign, suggesting that it will be a guiding principle to his presidency. This phrase had often been associated with the controversial America First Committee, which strove to prevent U.S. entry into World War II, and policies such as isolationism.
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. 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.
This suggests that Trump wants to adopt a protectionist policy. However, according to the Global Trade Alert, the US has already adopted 800 protectionist measures since 2008. What policies will he implement to further his goals?
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 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 completely from the face of the Earth.
Trump’s commitment to keeping Americans safe is admirable, however he fails to point out how he aims to achieve this. Furthermore, it is impossible to 'eradicate' an ideology or belief 'completely from the face of the Earth', whilst the use of the phrase 'radical Islamic terrorism' is controversial.
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.
This reference is very much in line with Trump’s promise to restore pride in America.
The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
Trump quotes Psalm 133: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!", adding a nationalist perspective to it, reflecting his strong stance on nationalism and patriotism.
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
I think that this is one of the best lines in his speech, as he highlighted the importance of discussion, understanding and respect.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. 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 are protected by God.
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 let anyone tell you 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.
One of Trump’s admirable traits is the fact that he is resilient. This line also adds to a sense of hope for the future of America, something Obama feels very strongly about.
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 our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is 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, and 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.
Overall, this speech does fulfil the purpose of uniting the American people and instils a sense of hope in the future of America. However, Trump's reference to the election campaign and anti-establishment sentiment was prominent in this speech and it is important to note that Trump will require Congress's backing and support during his time in office so as to achieve his aims.
Trinity Donohugh is currently attending high school in the UK and is one of the co-founders of Discuss for Change. She is passionate about politics, international affairs and Computer science. She is the founder & CEO of the student led non-profit Girlsforcs (www.girlsforcs.org) and the co-founder of the social enterprise Khonaa (www.khonaa.com). She is also an alumni of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program 2016.