Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another. But we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people. For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left. And the factories closed. The establishment protected itself 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. That all changes starting right here and right now. Because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. . . .This is Trump's genius; the populist call for the people to reclaim their country. But what is this people power going to mean? He gave a few hints.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction -- that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.
These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own. And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.There is much here I agree with. If we had taken the trillion or so dollars we spent in Iraq and spent it instead in America, we would be in a much better place. If we could shift some military spending to civilian use we would be even better off, but one of Trump's peculiarities is that he makes a rigid distinction between money spent overseas and military spending, when they are largely the same thing. I am not at all sure foreign trade has been a loss for the nation as a whole, but it has certainly hurt some Americans.
We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past and now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first — America first.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.There are, I think, three fundamental questions about the Trump administration. The first one is whether "America First" will translate into foreign restraint or yet more adventurism and foreign war. So far the signals on that one are mixed. The second is whether Trump's economic populism will turn out to be a mere bait and switch cover for old-fashioned Republican economics: cut taxes on the rich, deregulate the banks and hope something trickles down. So far the signals on this are all bad, with lots of talk about tax cuts but no real movement on infrastructure spending. But I'm still trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this one; I do think he wants to build things, and he has already shown he is willing to speak against Republican tax plans. Time will tell. And then:
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules -- buy American and hire American.
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.This raises the third, and perhaps most fundamental question: will Trump respect freedom? If all he does is tweet against news outlets that attack him or refuse to call on their reporters at press conferences, fine. If all he does is rant about politicians who oppose him and call them names, well, we pay them to put up with that sort of abuse. But if he takes real measures against his opponents, all hell will break loose. Let's hope he never goes there.