Sunday 23 July 2017

Trump puts 'America first' as he vows the US will 'start winning like never before'

New US President Donald Trump arrives at Capitol Hill in Washington for yesterday’s inauguration Picture: Getty
New US President Donald Trump arrives at Capitol Hill in Washington for yesterday’s inauguration Picture: Getty

Ruth Sherlock and Nick Allen

Donald Trump made a fierce vow yesterday to put "America first" and rescue the country from the "carnage" he said had been wreaked upon it.

The 45th president of the United States used his inaugural address to make a blistering attack on the state of the nation, which he said had for too long allowed itself to be exploited.

In a speech that will be seen to herald a new era of American nationalism, President Trump vowed to defeat Isil, but said Nato allies would have to contribute more to their own defence.

After decades of Washington politicians enriching themselves at the taxpayer's expense, he pledged to return power to the "forgotten" people. Calling on the country to unite behind him, he promised America would "start winning again like never before".

But in a warning to both allies and enemies, he said that to achieve this, his priority would be to put America first in every decision he takes.

After swearing the presidential oath, Mr Trump began his speech by praising the "magnificent" Barack Obama, but in the 20 minutes that followed, he lambasted what America had become under his predecessor.

Outgoing president Barack Obama waves as he departs from Capitol Hill Picture: AP
Outgoing president Barack Obama waves as he departs from Capitol Hill Picture: AP

He painted an apocalyptic, dark picture of an America whose inner cities are being riven with crime, drugs and gangs. Of places where "mothers and children are trapped in poverty".

The country's education system was "flush with cash" but leaving America's young people "deprived of all knowledge".

Read More: Revellers celebrate in Moscow as Donald Trump is sworn in as US president

"Their pain is our pain," he said. "They're dreams are our dreams, and our success will be their success. This American carnage stops right here."

Ivanka Trump carries her daughter in the Senate on Capitol Hill after her father signed cabinet nominations into law Picture: AP
Ivanka Trump carries her daughter in the Senate on Capitol Hill after her father signed cabinet nominations into law Picture: AP

Speaking to the embattled blue collar and middle classes that supported him, the president described "rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation".

In an address that echoed some of the furious rhetoric of his address at the Republican convention, Mr Trump blamed the economic decay on the country's liberal trade policies.

Strength

He said the wealth of the middle class had been "ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world". However, a new protectionist economic policy would, "lead to prosperity and strength".

Since World War II, Western leaders have promoted globalisation and economic interdependence as a fundamental pillar of securing peace among nations. But speaking from the steps of the capitol building to a cheering crowd that stretched back to the Lincoln memorial, Mr Trump made it clear that his administration would challenge the status quo.

"For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military," he said.

Former President George W. Bush keeps covered under the rain. Photo: Reuters
Former President George W. Bush keeps covered under the rain. Photo: Reuters

"We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own."

In a comment that may be read as a continuance of his warmth towards Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump promised America would form new relationships, to "unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth".

Hillary Clinton, who was defeated in a bitter presidential campaign that divided America, also attended the inauguration.

She appeared steely-eyed as she awaited Mr Trump's arrival, but tweeted: "I'm here today to honour our democracy and its enduring values. I will never stop believing in our country and its future."

Mr Obama sent his own valedictory message to the American people, urging them to believe "not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours".

He tweeted: "It's been the honour of my life to serve you. You made me a better leader and a better man."

Protesters throw missiles at police during street clashes in Washington Picture:
Protesters throw missiles at police during street clashes in Washington Picture:

The new president wasted no time launching the most radical agenda of any US leader in living memory, vowing to build a nuclear missile defence system to counter attacks from North Korea and Iran, eviscerate his predecessor's actions on climate change and build a border wall to stop illegal immigration.

Read More: Donald Trump promises to put 'America First' in inauguration speech

Within minutes of his inauguration Donald Trump's team posted a statement on the White House website announcing the "state-of-the-art" nuclear defence plan although no further details of cost, or whether it differed from technology already in development, were given.

There was also an announcement from the White House on Mr Trump's commitment to overhaul Mr Obama's Climate Action Plan, and Environmental Protection Agency regulations aimed at enforcing clean water.

Mr Trump previously indicated he would consider Monday "day one" of his administration.

But he appeared to have instead decided to hit the ground running, saying he was keen to "get the show going".

Only an hour after finishing his inaugural address he signed his first three official orders.

They were a proclamation for a "National Day of Patriotism," a formal document that will allow General James Mattis to serve as defence secretary, and a paper bearing formal nominations to the Senate.

Mr Trump's team moved into the White House the moment he was sworn in, with one of them suggesting he could "erase the Obama presidency in several hours".

Meanwhile, riot police clashed with anti-Trump protesters before and after the ceremony in violent scenes that resulted in numerous arrests. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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