Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Trump era begins: President Trump's Inauguration Day

The peaceful transfer of power of the Government of the United States took place on Friday, the pomp and ceremony of the departure of the old and the arrival of the new dominating televisions for much of the day.

And while one might have become weary of hearing of the never ending proclamations of what was the unique peaceful transfer of the American's, (there are a few of us in the world that have a similarly peaceful hand off, so it's not as though they've invented the wheel below the 49th parallel) the dedication to which they take to the concept is one of a day long spectacular.

Donald J. Trump assumed the powers of the Presidency at the mark of noon on Friday and following the oath of office administered by Supreme Court Justice Roberts, the newly installed President delivered his much anticipated address from the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.

Complete text available here

The full bombast that echoed across the Mall and beyond was certainly crafted to address those that put Mr. Trump on those steps Friday afternoon.

However, if viewers across America and an audience watching in from around the world were seeking a soothing message of togetherness and a vision of the United States beginning to come together, this was not your day.

For those that were seeking an indication that America would continue forward with a full engagement of business with the world outside of its borders as it has been in the past, Friday's screed under the Capitol Dome quickly put that notion to rest.

Mr. Trump's speech was but sixteen minutes in length, one of the shortest ever delivered in modern times and while it may have been brief on the clock, it was long on rhetoric and with a somewhat dystopian view of the land he was set to govern over.

The main focus of Mr. Trump's words was the theme of change to come; as seemingly only the new President can deliver.

There was no mention of the work of Congress, nor a nod to the elements of the Constitution that American's cherish and live by.

Those elected to office and assembled for the transition for the day, suddenly became the supporting cast in the newest of reality shows, this one set on the national stage of Washington.

The newly empowered President offered up a vision of rescuing a nation that has endured a rather despondent existence, reprising a theme he had reviewed night after night on the campaign trail.

Using the term American Carnage, the New President evoked as a soundtrack for the day, the drum beat of a landscape littered with rusting factories and menacing gangs.

All that was missing was a visual montage along the lines of the end of the Godfather, a closing scene where all old the scores were settled as a new boss took charge.

All of this was delivered while the former President sat but a few feet away, with Mr. Obama no doubt wondering to himself if he had wandered onto the set of one of those Southwest Air commercials. Perhaps looking around to see if he was at the point where you really wanna get away.

Mr. Trump finally exited his review of the dire straits of the past and then outlined a blue print to the future of sorts. One that will see America become more insular, taking care of its own first and foremost.

A nativist approach to governance that will have foreign leaders scrambling to try and figure out how and more importantly if, they will fit into the new narrative from the world's most influential nation.

From the glimpse at the path ahead, there appears to be very little for the Global community to hold on to from his words.

Other than an acknowledgement by way a short shout out at the start of  Mr. Trump's at times bleak litany, the approach was more along the lines of  I know you're watching world, but really I have nothing for you kind of salutation.

There were the usual themes of the world needing to defend itself better, a renewal of the past warnings that America won't have it's industry stolen and indeed when it comes to trade issues a reckoning would appear to be coming.

The Presidents comments making for a flare that should be taken as notice on world affair, particularly when it comes to the current order of the expanded globalization that has marked the world economic picture for decades.

The days of Davos it would seem are done, somewhat out of step now with the new reality that will be coming from D. C.

The speech also did not seem to move any distance to reach out to bridge current fears among the majority of those that voted in November for Hillary Clinton.

They are a collective still in shock from the 2016 campaign which owing to the unique twists to the electoral college system, once again delivered a leader who had the least number of popular votes and yet still claimed the Presidency.

The fact that Mrs. Clinton was sitting in the background, while Mr. Trump was delivering this inaugural address was the consequence of a campaign that clearly missed out on the mood of a wide swath of the nation she wished to govern.

As the President delivered his remarks, Democrats who had been tone deaf throughout the campaign to those in America that were struggling, might have drifted off through those sixteen minutes to review how it all came to this.

The outcome that brought Mr. Trump to the stage is a testimony to political arrogance and an apparent inability to determine where the most danger to the Democrats ambitions had been located, not to mention a general failure at getting out enough of the vote to render the verdict of the electoral college but a side story.

For those that had pursued and voted for the different vision for their country that Ms. Clinton had campaigned for, Mr. Trump seemed to offer up nothing more than the challenge of adopting patriotism to soothe those scars.

However, for those voters who placed their faith in his campaign, Friday's inaugural address was the speech they wanted to hear and no doubt the one that they had expected to be delivered.

It was a continuation of the themes of the campaign and a greatest hits collection of the midnight tweets on twitter that formed much of his new policy for America.

The method and mechanisms that the United States uses to form its government and deliver to the people their Commander in Chief, puzzling as they may seem, is something that is purely an American matter.

In short it's their game, their rules, we are mere spectators up in the cheap seats taking in the show. Fully aware of the consequences of events for which we have no ability to shape.

President Trump's inaugural address carried the same tone that has become a familiar refrain since he entered the primaries, those that were surprised by the continuation simply haven't been paying attention. Those that celebrated his rise to power on Friday sat on every word, many of them probably could have delivered the speech if asked, they knew the script by heart.

For those of us living outside of the American border, the cannon shots that followed the Noon hour transfer signalled the start of a completely different era for relations with the United States.

How the nations of the world and their leaders read the President moving forward, will make for the greatest test ahead, one thing seems certain from those sixteen minutes in Washington, it's going to be quite the ride.

We've compiled some interpretations from a range of readings on how the transition of power was viewed and where we all go from here.

For notes on how the Canadian spin was put forward on the day see our Ottawa Observations files for Friday, January 20th.

Below a more expansive look at the themes and commentary from a most fascinating day for the United States and all of her global neighbours.

From the American opinion pages

New York Daily News -- Donald Trump's America: The President's bleak inaugural address
New York Observer -- 'American Carnage'- Donald Trump becomes President of a Divided Nation in a Divided D.C.
New York Post --  Trump uses Inaugural to say "I really mean it"
New York Times -- What we Saw at Trump's Presidential Inauguration 
New York Times -- What President Trump Doesn't Get About America
New York Times -- Trump's Inauguration Was No Woodstock
New York Times -- Why Trumpism May Not Endure

Washington Post -- In his inaugural address, Trump leaves America's better angels behind
Washington Post -- Trump takes office, vows an end to 'American carnage'
Washington Post -- Trump's inaugural speech was a sharp break with his past - and his party
Washington Post -- Donald Trump completes hostile takeover of Washington, puts both parties on notice
Washington Post -- In the home of NATO and the European Union, dismay as Trump takes power

Washington Times -- President Trump vows to put 'America First' and promises to 'get the job done'
Washington Times -- Trump breaks with political traditions on triumphant ride to White House
Washington Times -- A hearty last laugh for the Donald

Boston Globe -- Trump's missed opportunity
Boston Globe -- Trump's speech offered nothing to a fractured nation
Boston Globe -- Trump's dark vision of America
Boston Globe -- Trump's epic inaugural failure
Boston Globe -- Donald Trump played the outsider and the insider on his first day in office
Boston Herald -- President's 'dark' speech a ray of light for millions
Boston Herald -- Mass. delegation troubled by bleak picture of country
Boston Herald -- Donald Trump ushers in an age of people first, pols second
Boston Herald -- A simple vision, a complex world

Chicago Sun Times -- Our new nationalist president

Detroit Free Press -- Strong man, or a president? Trump may not what he is
Detroit Free Press -- Trump speaks to Rust Belt, Detroit in combative inaugural speech

Detroit News-- Not a bad start to Trump era

Philadelphia Inquirer -- Trump 'America first' speech won't reassure allies
Philadelphia Daily News -- The honeymoon ends and the crap game begins

Atlanta Constitution Journal -- A strong-man speech, delivered by a strong-man president
Atlanta Constitution Journal -- Trump makes clear - again - his biggest presidential themes
Atlanta Constitution Journal -- Jesse Jackson: Donald Trump's inauguration speech was 'full of hope and inclusion'

Miami Herald -- Hoping Trump can lead us to a brighter future despite his dark vision
Miami Sun Sentinel -- A president unlike any we've ever seen

New Orleans Times-Picayune -- President Trump's inaugural speech does little to heal political wounds

Dallas Morning News -- You don't have to love President Trump, but you can't tune out, either
Dallas Morning News -- Trump lays out a vision of America that is dark and insular

Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- Trump's inaugural address echoes anti-Semitic isolationists and a Batman villain

St. Louis Post Dispatch --  Trump takes command with a vow to put America first

Minneapolis Star Tribune -- Trump's unyielding message sets up clash with congressional Republicans
Minneapolis Star Tribune -- For President Trump, a missed opportunity to unify

Denver Post -- Trump's refreshing promise to the people
Denver Post -- Finding hope in President Trump's inaugural address

Arizona Republic -- Trump's inauguration speech proves he still doesn't get it

San Diego Union Tribune -- Trump takes office as 45th president, pledging to empower America's 'forgotten men and women'

Los Angeles Times -- Trump's recycled campaign speech made no effort to bring Americans together
Los Angeles Times -- Trump's inauguration speech makes it clear: He meant every word he said during the campaign
Los Angeles Times -- Raw, angry and aggrieved, President Trump's inaugural speech does little to heal political wounds
Los Angeles Times -- Beware the politician with simple answers. Trump still divides, and there's a lot at stake

San Francisco Chronicle -- Trump's Dark portrayal of America
San Francisco Chronicle -- Trump takes office, promises "America First" approach

The Oregonian -- A most dreadful inaugural address: George Will
The Oregonian -- Fiery speech, protests open new era

Seattle Times -- In inaugural address, Trump delivers a shot heard around the world
Seattle Times -- 'America First': Phrase evokes anti-Semitic, isolationist history
Seattle Post Dispatch -- Trump takes charge, assertive but untested 45th US president

Alaska Dispatch News -- Relax and Give Trump a Chance
Alaska Dispatch News -- Alaskans full of hope for change at Trump inauguration

Honolulu Star Advertiser -- Don't Let Trump damage our nation

Notes from Above the 49th parallel

From the Editorial pages

Globe and Mail -- Keep calm and carry on, world
National Post -- May President Trump make America greater - and prove his doubters wrong
Toronto Star -- Donald Trump signals a radical pullback from the world
Toronto Star -- Globalization should be fixed, not junked in age of Trump
Toronto Sun -- The forgotten men and women matter
Winnipeg Free Press -- New era of Trump the politician

The Observations


Trump delights supporters, alarms trading partners with inaugural speech
America's shining moment - a stump speech, tear gas and unsold Trump T-Shirts
'Confrontational, angry' inaugural address leaves no doubt about which side Trump's on
Trump signs first executive order targeting Obamacare regulations
U.S. President Donald Trump takes charge, vows to end "American carnage"

Global Television

Fact checking Donald Trump's presidential inauguration speech
The unlikely rise to power of Donald Trump and Rob Ford
Mexican President seeks to strengthen U.S. relations despite Trump's barbs
So what did Canada's Foreign Minister think of Trump's inaugural speech?
Donald Trump's inaugural speech drawn straight from campaign script
Trump's inaugural address set apart from Obama, Bush by protectionist theme, dark imagery

Globe and Mail

Donald Trump uses inaugural address to outline "America First" vision
Era of co-operation over in international trade, Trump says
Trump inauguration: a day of celebration and protest
Fear Trump, but have faith in the endurance of U.S. institutions
Don't set your hair on fire. It won't help
The wrecking-ball President's first act: Defiant and Dark
On inauguration day, presidents always took the high road. Not Donald Trump
Trump signs executive order on Obamacare, begins to set up administration
Trump vows to end reliance on foreign oil with 'America First' energy policy

National Post

Trump delivered a plain, serious and monumental promise to give Washington back to the people
Without the trite sanctimony, Trump invokes a sacred duty to raise up America's magnificence
Protectionist Trump speech signals an America looking inward
President Trump offers a vision of greatness. He has yet to offer a vision to achieve it
In a pageant of repetition and tradition, Trump is anything but the norm
You think Trump's speech was bad? Compared to what?
Donald Trump's inaugural speech, deconstructed: 'He's reinforcing his brand image as an outsider'
When Donald Trump was sworn in, the campaign to build support for his impeachment went live
If you expected a different kind of Trump than before, you were wrong

Toronto Star

Trump casts himself as America's savour in fiery inaugural address
Hundreds arrested as inauguration protestors and police clash in Washington
Trump White House website removes climate change references
Michelle Obama said goodby with grace (and a little side-eye)
Short and unsweet, Trump's inauguration speech puts America First
Trump's first executive order aims to repeal Obamacare
Donald Trump, the strongman who incarnates a nation's will
Trump speech perfectly fitting - for 1944
Trump's first executive order aims to repeal Obamacare
In Brussels, home of NATO and European Union, many feel down on Trump's rise

Toronto Sun

Call him what you want, but Trump is now called Mr. President
Trump vows power to the people
Finally, the little guy has someone in the White House

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