President Donald J. Trump did not walk to the microphone in front of the Capitol today to salve wounds or mend hurt feelings. There were no calls for unity or attempts to bridge the political divide. After being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Trump issued a call to arms and declared war on the ruling class.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost,” Trump said. “Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.”
“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,” Trump noted. “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.”
At just over 15 minutes, Trump’s address was short and to the point and free of the flowery prose that suggests a speechwriter far too eager to be remembered by history.
Trump’s inauguration speech neither looked nor sounded like a typical maiden speech from a new president trying to bring disparate political factions together following a bitter and contentious election season. Instead, it resembled a battlefield address meant to communicate to the troops that their commander will accept nothing short of total victory. The speech was less “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and more William Wallace announcing his intentions so no one could claim they didn’t understand what he was about to do to them. Forget Aaron Sorkin’s President Josiah Bartlet. This was Mel Gibson’s Benjamin Martin hoisting Old Glory and getting ready to slit some redcoat throats.
“A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions,” Trump said. “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.”
“The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”
Trump’s inauguration speech identified the new president’s enemies, set the terms of their defeat, and made his battle plan against them clear. Now we’ll have to see if he’s able to execute it.