‘America First’

The crowd was smaller than those at Barack Obama’s inaugurations, but they were President Donald Trump’s people, and he gave them what they wanted — a call for populism and protectionism.

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only ‘America first. America first,’ ” Trump said. He railed about foreign nations “stealing our jobs” and a bureaucracy that enhanced Washington but not “the people.”

“The American carnage stops right here and it stops right now,” Trump said. He cast a strident new nationalism as a cure for the nation’s fractious politics.

“A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions,” he said. “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.”

There was no direct outreach tothose who opposed him. “He did not open his arms. He pumped his fist,” concluded presidential historian Jon Meacham.

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But Trump supporters left happy. “I almost cried,” said John Rose, 55, of Setauket. See the story by Newsday’s reporting team.

A sharp turn inward

Trump’s “America First” theme signaled a tectonic shift for the United States from decades of an internationalist outlook, writes Newsday’s Tom Brune.

Trump insisted that with a self-centered approach, America can become great again and rebound from the ravages of years of globalization, factory shutdowns, the cost of defending European and other allies and unchecked immigration.

Past presidents often offered an expression of humility at taking on the nation’s highest office. Trump did not.

The take-away: Worst of times

By Trump’s account, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison, nobody in Washington ever did anything for the people until he showed up. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said.

Never mind that he and his band-of-billionaires Cabinet are among those who have done quite well. Then again, it’s a perk for any new president to blame the previous regime for all that stinks. Barack Obama and George W. Bush did so.

For more on the speech ...

As inauguration speeches go, it was short — less than 17 minutes. Click here for the transcript, and here for video.

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Getting started

Trump signed executive orders Friday night directing federal agencies to “ease the burden” of Obamacare while efforts to repeal and replace it are underway. The White House also was drafting an order for a freeze on regulations.

Schumer on Trump’s stage

So how did Chuck Schumer — the New York senator whom Trump recently called the Senate Democrats’ “head clown” — get a prominent speaking spot at the inauguration?

It came with his role as ranking member of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies — a duty from his just-ended job as the Senate Rules Committee’s top Democrat.

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Schumer’s call for inclusiveness was taken by some in the crowd as a shot at Trump, so they booed. Schumer’s words:

“Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity; whether we are immigrant or native-born; whether we live with disabilities or do not; in wealth or in poverty; we are all exceptional in our commonly held yet fierce devotion to our country.”

Hello Hillary

It was noticed that Trump took no notice of Hillary Clinton’s presence at his inauguration speech. He might have been doing her a favor. Her mere presence drew boos and chants of “lock her up” from some of his partisans in the crowd.

Later, in the more polite surroundings of a Capitol luncheon, Trump walked by her table to shake her hand. At his urging, the attendees gave her a 30-second standing ovation.

“I was very honored — very, very honored — when I heard that President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton was coming today,” Trump said. “I have a lot of respect for those two people,” he added.

FLOTUS and QVC

The new Trump White House website has a bio on first lady Melania Trump. That’s normal. What’s not is that it also plugs by name her jewelry line sold on QVC.

Also included is a lengthy list of brands that hired her as a model and several of the magazines in which she appeared, including the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, The Washington Post reported.

What else is happening:

  • Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated against Trump, and some clashes with police, smashed store windows and set a limo on fire, reports Newsday’s Paul LaRocco and Michael Gormley.
  • Newsday’s Emily Ngo, Laura Figueroa and David M. Schwartz collected vignettes from the throngs of fans who came to see Trump and the foes who joined protests against him.
  • The Senate Friday confirmed two retired Marine generals Trump’s Cabinet — James Mattis as Defense secretary and John Kelly as Homeland Security secretary.
  • Liberal-leaning watchdogs Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility greeted Trump’s swearing-in by filing a formal complaint over his ownership of the new Trump International Hotel — built on federally owned land — saying his government position now puts him in violation of the lease.
  • The first family will be cast in big roles, with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump as official and unofficial top advisers and sons Eric and Donald Jr. left in charge of the business empire. See Figueroa’s story for Newsday.
  • Trump has chosen Ajit Pai, a foe of Obama-era “net neutrality rules,” to be the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, according to reports by Bloomberg News and Politico.
  • Trump tweeted after his inauguration on both the @POTUS account he took over from Obama and his personal @realdonaldtrump account. No mean stuff, at least in the first eight hours.