‘America First’

Donald J. Trump sworn in as 45th president

President Donald J. Trump was sworn into the country’s highest office on Friday, Jan. 20, with the new commander-in-chief promising that from “this day forward, it’s going to be America first.”

“We are not transferring power from one administration to another. We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” Trump said after he was sworn in on Capitol Hill. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capitol has reaped the rewards of government. That all changes starting right here and right now. What truly matters is not what party controls the government, but whether the government is controlled by the people. [This] will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of the nation again.”

The president, who received 304 electoral votes versus Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton’s 227, said he will bring back jobs, secure borders and restore America’s wealth, getting people off welfare and back to work. He also noted he will work to “eradicate radical Islam from the face of the Earth.” But at the bedrock, will be “total allegiance to the United States.”

“We will rediscover our loyalty to each other,” he said. “When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

The 45th president, along with his Vice President Mike Pence, takes the helm after one of the most contentious elections in the country’s history and now faces the task of uniting a severely divided nation. Trump’s claims to repeal the Affordable Care Act, deport 2 to 3 million illegal immigrants and pro-life stance have been particular causes of concern for his critics.

On Long Island, several local organizations held a rally at the LGBT Network Center in Bay Shore the night before the inauguration to show their commitment to securing equal rights for all people, a value they feel is threatened by the Trump presidency.

“At a time when communities are feeling vulnerable and fearful, our collective spirit and might as activists for justice prevails. We are here to say that despite efforts to divide us, we are more united than ever before and prepared to stand up for the rights and dignity of all Long Island residents,” said Anita Halasz, executive director of Long Island Jobs with Justice.
Loraine Kokotos, president of the Nassau County Federation of Republican Women, felt that Trump would bring positive changes to the country.

“The Republican women in our organization are thrilled to have Donald Trump as our president. We believe that a Trump administration will bring positive change to the country,” she said. “Personally, I believe that President Trump will build a strong economy, create jobs and increase national security by supporting our police, military and increased border security. I am also looking forward to finding out how he will repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Several lawmakers skipped the inauguration in protest, however, Congressman Tom Suozzi attended the ceremony at the capitol, saying that while he did not vote for Trump, certain institutions and traditions must be preserved.

“The peaceful transition of power is what sets the United States apart from many other countries and it is bigger than any individual,” Suozzi said in a statement on his Facebook page. “I will work across party lines to try and get things done, but I will also be first in line to monitor whether Trump teamed up with the Russians. I will fight the undoing of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) with no substitute. I will stand against the targeting of specific races, ethnicities or religions and I will combat climate change deniers. However, for me, skipping the inauguration is not the way to do it.”

Rep. Kathleen Rice attended the inauguration as well, echoing Suozzi’s sentiments.

“I felt an important responsibility to bear witness to the peaceful transition of power,” she said. “It’s fundamental to our democracy, and I believe that being there today was part of the job I was elected to do.”

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Betsy Abraham
Betsy Abraham is senior managing editor at Anton Media Group and editor of The Westbury Times and Massapequa Observer. She also writes for Long Island Weekly.

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