WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States at noon Friday as a stage full of dignitaries gathered on the West Front of the Capitol and thousands of people crowded on the National Mall to watch the ceremony.
Trump’s inaugural address described a dark vision of the country and its woes, but the new president said a united America is “totally unstoppable.” Trump said he’ll rebuild America’s roads, bridges, airports and railways by following “two simple rules: buy American and hire American.'”
Trump said the inaugural oath “is an oath of allegiance to all Americans” and said the country will share “one glorious destiny.”
The skies were cloudy and it drizzled briefly during Trump’s address. The large crowds gathered on the mall cheered Trump’s appearance on the dais and he flashed a thumbs-up sign before the swearing-in.
The crowds did not appear to reach the massive numbers that gathered for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural and D.C.’s Metro system said it recorded many fewer trips than during Obama’s two inaugurations.
Protesters were seen in force throughout D.C. Friday, clashing with inauguration attendees and committing some acts of vandalism. Police confirmed arrests of a large group of protesters in downtown D.C. Friday afternoon after shop windows were smashed. Police used pepper spray to quell the crowd. Photos on social media also showed a limousine with its windows smashed.
Friday afternoon, a large group of protesters gathered near Franklin Square on K Street again clashed with police. Protesters smashed a few car windows, and set trash cans and a limousine on fire. As of early afternoon, D.C. police confirmed more than 90 protesters had been arrested.
Outside a security checkpoint near the National Mall, a parade of protesters and Trump supporters shouted at each other, but many attendees didn’t seem interested in sparking abrasive exchanges.
“I’ve never gotten in anyone’s face at all today; no one’s gotten in my face or attacked me at all. So, it’s very respectful,” one man said.
Despite the smaller crowds compared to 2013 and 2009, there were significant chokepoints at the security access points where some visitors reported waiting more than an hour in line before the inaugural ceremonies.
“I just wish the logistics were a little better. It already took four and a half hours to get in,” said John Peterson, who was trying to get onto the mall Friday morning for the inauguration ceremony.
On other side, at 7th & Maryland Ave, much different crowd waiting to access Natl Mall: MAGA hats, US flags, anti Black Lives Matter protest pic.twitter.com/Z4rljc1LNR
There were moderate crowds seen at downtown Metro stations Friday morning.
In a tweet at 11:30 a.m., D.C.’s Metro system said it had recorded about 193,000 trips as of 11 a.m. That’s about on par with the number of Metro riders for President George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. In 2013 during President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, the system had recorded about 317,000 trips and during Obama’s record-setting 2009 inauguration, the system had recorded 513,000 Metro trips by 11 a.m.
Revelers also crowded along Pennsylvania Avenue for the inaugural parade, which kicked off Friday afternoon.
Following with tradition, Trump and first lady Melania Trump briefly exited their vehicle along the parade route to wave to watchers and supporters.
“It’s awesome. Security’s a little tight, but that’s OK,” said one man, waiting along the parade route. “We’re getting through it. So, just terrific.”
The man said it took him and his brother about 90 minutes to get through security. But “we wanted to come and support our new president and see the festivities. We’ve never been here before to see this.”
Mixed in with the crowd were some protesters holding signs reading “no hate.”
“I think it’s pretty straightforward,” the protester holding the sign said. “I think the rise of Trump was greatly fueled by hatred, racism, misogyny.”
Elsewhere along the parade route, a Trump supporter who lined up early along the parade route to get a front-row spot along the metal crowd-control barrier, said: “He’s going to make America great, and we really believe that, you know. We need a change.”
Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.