Donald J. Trump, with all the trappings and ceremony of the presidency now solidly in his grasp, struck a refreshing opening tone for his new responsibilities by pledging to put the American people front and center in every decision he makes.
“The oath of office that I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans,” Trump said shortly after being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president.
We’ve made it no secret that we wish this day had not come. During the presidential campaign and after we have been reliable critics of the man. We have faulted him for courting racist, sexist and nationalistic views. We have questioned his business practices and his anti-trade policies.
But we also have rejected ill-advised efforts to block his victory when rogue Democrats tried to change the Electoral College vote, and defended Trump’s right to the office. Even here, however, we’ve questioned Trump’s apparent disinterest in digging into U.S. intelligence allegations that Russia meddled with the presidential contest in a bid to hand the blustery billionaire populist the upper hand.
But the Trump we watched on inauguration day presented himself well and spoke passionately about shoring up American values and American prosperity. We hope he is able to deliver on his promises to the people, and wish him well.
Trump began his first address in office talking about the transfer of power, not simply from one man to another, and one political party to another, but as the transference of power to the people.
One of the chords that Trump struck so well in his surprising candidacy resonated with a chorus of discontent and disillusionment with the status quo in Washington.
Friday, Trump struck it again, early and often, saying, “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”
“The establishment protected itself,” President Trump said, “but not the citizens of our country. 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.”
Trump promised to buy American and hire American. He promised to wipe radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth. He also talked about patriotism in suitably lofty and human terms, saying: “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.”
Presidential contests are hard-fought, and a lot of hurt feelings result across the spectrum of the populace. The new president, like the one who preceded him, is rightly calling us now to find common ground and focus on rebuilding the country from here.
It’s true enough our nation faces enormous challenges. Trump’s first day is one of promise. We hope that promise continues to light his way.