Trump is now president, but he still sees himself as leading an insurgency
January 21, 2017 07:42 AM NPT
Donald Trump took over as U.S. president on Friday in the same way he conducted his upstart campaign, with a mixture of blustery salesmanship and naked contempt for the established political order.
In doing so, he sent a clear signal to the country and the world: He plans to govern as he campaigned, refusing to align himself even with his own Republican Party and taking his message directly to the American people.
He did nothing to dispel concerns that he would bring the cult of personality he built over the election campaign into the White House, and he offered little in the way of olive branches to the tens of millions of Americans who did not vote for him in the most divisive election in modern U.S. history.
A former reality TV star, Trump offered an apocalyptic vision of reality: an America besieged by crime, immigration, terrorism and unfair trade deals.
"The American carnage stops right here and stops right now," he pledged, as he presented himself as a champion of the ordinary American.
The gloomy picture Trump sketched of the nation flies in the face of evidence that the economy is in healthy shape, crime is down and the nation is relatively safe and secure.
After warning the public on the extent of the problems, Trump suggested, as he did during his campaign, that he and his "movement" are the only solution. He did not mention the Republicans in Congress with whom he will partner to govern and certainly not the Democrats who have fiercely opposed him.
Trump campaigned as an outsider, railing against the sins of both his Republican Party and the Democratic Party. And, it became clear as he delivered his speech on the steps of the Capitol, that he intends to remain that outsider, the rebel leader who takes power with one foot still on the battlefield.
Continuing the populist themes from his campaign, he condemned the politicians who he said have for years prospered at the expense of the public.