Trump Versus Obama: How Do Their Inaugurations Compare?
The Debrief: We never thought we would say this but Donald Trump is now, officially, the President of the United States
Donald Trump is now officially the President of the United States of America. Inaugurations are just window dressing really, they follow the same format every time and there isn’t much scope to go off script. However, as you would expect, Donald Trump did it his own way.
So, as people around the world prepare to protest and march against Trump tomorrow, how does his inauguration compare to Obama’s?
How Many People Went?
Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 was a record-breaker (of course it bloody was). More than 1.8 million people attended, filling the National Mall in Washington.
Today aerial pictures show that Trump failed to draw enough of a crowd to fill the Mall. It’s estimated that around 800,000 people turned up.
Another crucial difference is that there were no violent protests when Obama took office.
Who Sang The Songs?
At Obama’s first inauguration Aretha Franklin sang ‘My Country, Tis Of Thee’, she wore a bloody excellent hat and her performance was enough to make anyone with a soul feel emotional. At his second inauguration, Beyonce sang the national anthem.
Today Trump had Jackie Evancho, she was on America’s Got Talent…
In 2009 Obama spoke out against prejudice. He faced the economic crisis head on in his speech and acknowledged that there were challenges ahead: ‘in reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.’ Incidentally, he went on to slash unemployment rates during his time in office.
Above all, Obama emphasised the importance of hope and positivity: ‘On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.’
Today the theme and refrain of Trump’s inauguration was one of nationalistic isolationism: ‘America First’. It was pretty negative to be honest. As he addressed the world he hailed the dawn of a ‘new millennium’, criticised the ‘political elites’ as they sat around him on the rain-spattered platform and said ‘today we are not merely transferring power from one party to another…we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you, the people.’
Trump’s speech was, in many ways, a rhetorical undoing of Barack Obama’s politics and legacy. It was also a compact summary of his entire campaign; he promised to restore safety, eradicate terrorism from the face of the earth and never to let people down and vowed to make America great again. Whether he can keep those promises remains to be seen, particularly because he seems to think that the reason America's economy has changed is because jobs have been 'stolen' from America by 'other' countries and not because of the huge global digital revolution we've seen in the last two decades.
Who Wore What Clothes
Today Donald Trump wore his trademark phosphorescent orange tan and red tie. Melania wore a sky blue all-American Ralph Lauren suit worthy of Jackie Kennedy but reminiscent of The Jettsons. The Obamas wore integrity.
In fairness everyone looked very good, so we’ll call this one a draw
Obama wins, hands down. Today was both the end of an era and the dawn of a new age. America has entered a brave new political world. The Guardian reports that the White House climate change page has already disappeared and that’s just the tip of this rapidly melting iceberg.
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