Trump, sworn in as U.S. president, vows to end ‘American carnage’ in defiant speech

admin   •   January 21, 2017   •   6232

US President Donald Trump takes the oath of office with his wife Melania and son Barron at his side, during his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump takes the oath of office with his wife Melania and son Barron at his side, during his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday and pledged to end “American carnage” of social and economic woes in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry.

Sketching a bleak vision of a country he said was ravaged by rusted-out factories, crime, gangs and drugs, Trump indirectly blamed his predecessors in the White House for policies that helped Washington at the expense of struggling families.

“From this moment on, it’s going to be America First,” the Republican told thousands of people gathered on the grounds of the National Mall as he took over the presidency from Democrat Barack Obama.

Crowds looked much smaller than those for Obama’s two inaugurations. Scattered street protests erupted against Trump elsewhere in Washington.

“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” Trump said. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he said.

Trump, 70, takes over a country divided after a savage election campaign.

The dark vision of America he often paints is belied by statistics showing low levels of unemployment and crime nationally, although Trump won many votes in parts of the nation where manufacturing industry has all but disappeared.

A wealthy New York businessman and former reality TV star who has never held public office, Trump will set the country on a new, uncertain path at home and abroad.

His address revisited the themes of the campaign speeches that carried him to an improbable victory on Nov. 8 over Democrat Hillary Clinton, who attended the ceremony with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Obama headed to a vacation in Palm Springs, California, after the ceremony. Before sitting down to lunch in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, Trump shook hands with both Clintons.

Under pressure to unite the country after the bitterly fought campaign, Trump said that through allegiance to the United States, “we will rediscover our loyalty to each other” and called for a “new national pride” that would help heal divisions.

Abroad, Trump signaled the possibility of a more aggressive approach to Islamic State militants.

“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth,” he said.

After repeating the 35-word oath of office, Trump stretched his arms wide and hugged his wife, Melania, and other members of his family. Ceremonial cannon blasts fired.

The transition from a Democratic president to a Republican took place before a crowd of former presidents, dignitaries and hundreds of thousands of people on the grounds of the National Mall. The crowd stretched westward on a cool day of occasional light rain.

Away from the Capitol, masked activists ran through the streets smashing windows with hammers at a McDonald’s restaurant, a Starbucks coffee shop and a steakhouse several blocks from the White House.

They carried black anarchist flags and signs that said, “Join the resistance, fight back now.” Police used pepper spray and chased them down a major avenue.

In another location not far from the White House, protesters also scuffled with police, at one point throwing aluminum chairs at them at outdoor café.

Former presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were present at the inauguration with their wives. Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, 92, watched the ceremony on television in Houston where he was recovering from pneumonia.

Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, began the day with a prayer service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House.

Trump took office with work to do to bolster his image.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll this week found only 40 percent of Americans viewed him favorably, the lowest rating for an incoming president since Democrat Carter in 1977, and the same percentage approved of how he has handled the transition. (abcn.ws/2jU9w63)

During a testy transition period since his election win, Trump has repeatedly engaged in Twitter attacks against his critics, so much so that one fellow Republican, Senator John McCain, told CNN that Trump seemed to want to “engage with every windmill that he can find.”

TRUMP’S AGENDA

His ascension to the White House, while welcomed by Republicans tired of Obama’s eight years in office, raises a host of questions for the United States.

Trump campaigned on a pledge to take the country on a more isolationist, protectionist path and has vowed to impose a 35 percent tariff on goods on imports from U.S. companies that went abroad.

His desire for warmer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and threats to cut funding for NATO nations has allies from Britain to the Baltics worried that the traditional U.S. security umbrella will be diminished.

In the Middle East, Trump has said he wants to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, at the risk of angering Arabs and stirring international concern. He has yet to sketch out how he plans to carry out a campaign pledge to “knock the hell out of” Islamic State.

More than 60 Democratic lawmakers stayed away from the proceedings to protest Trump, spurred on after he derided U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a hero of the civil rights movement, for calling him an illegitimate president.

Many demonstrators are to participate in a “Women’s March on Washington” on Saturday. Protests are also planned in other cities in the United States and abroad.

QUICK ACTION

Trump’s to-do list has given Republicans hope that, since they also control the U.S. Congress, they can quickly repeal and replace Obama’s signature healthcare law, approve sweeping tax reform and roll back many federal regulations they say are stifling the U.S. economy.

“He’s going to inject a shock to the system here almost immediately,” Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News.

Democrats, in search of firm political footing after the unexpected defeat of Hillary Clinton, are planning to fight him at every turn. They deeply oppose Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric from the campaign trail and plans to build a wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump’s critics have been emboldened to attack his legitimacy because his win came in the Electoral College, which gives smaller states more clout in the outcome. He lost the popular vote to Clinton by about 2.9 million.

Trump’s critics also point to the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia used hacking and other methods during the campaign to try to tilt the election in the Republican’s favor. Trump has acknowledged the finding – denied by Moscow – that Russia was behind the hacking but said it did not affect the outcome of the election.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Richard Cowan, Ian Simpson, David Alexander, Susan Heavey, Roberta Rampton, Phil Stewart, Emily Stephenson and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Frances Kerry and Alistair Bell)

Trump to give TikTok’s Chinese owner 45 days to reach deal to sell — sources

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft Corp, two people familiar with the matter said on Sunday (August 2).

U.S. officials have said TikTok under its Chinese parent poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump said on Friday (July 31) he was planning to ban TikTok in the United States after dismissing the idea of a sale to Microsoft.

But following a discussion between Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the Redwood, Washington-based company said in a statement on Sunday that it would continue negotiations to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, and that it aimed to reach a deal by Sept. 15.

It was not immediately clear what changed Trump’s mind. Banning TikTok would alienate many of its young users ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, and would likely trigger a wave of legal challenges. Several prominent Republican lawmakers put out statements in the last two days urging Trump to back a sale of TikTok to Microsoft.

The negotiations between ByteDance and Microsoft will be overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government panel that has the right to block any agreement, according to the sources, who requested anonymity ahead of a White House announcement. Microsoft cautioned in its statement that there is no certainty a deal will be reached. (Reuters)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

Trump shifts rhetoric, warns virus is getting worse and urges use of masks

UNTV News   •   July 22, 2020

President Donald Trump warned Americans on Tuesday (July 21) that the toll from the novel coronavirus would get worse before it got better, and encouraged Americans to wear a mask if they cannot maintain social distance from people around them.

In his first briefing in months focused on the pandemic, Trump told reporters at the White House that the virus would probably get worse before it gets better, in one of his first recent acknowledgments of how bad the problem has become.

“Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better – something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

In a shift in rhetoric, Trump encouraged Americans to wear masks, and pulled a mask out of his pocket, saying he carries it around.

“I mean I carry the mask,” he said, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a blue face mask. “And I will use it gladly, no problem with it, and I’ve said that. And I say, if you can, use the mask. When you can, use the mask. If you’re close to each other, if you’re in a group, I would put it on when I’m in a group.”

Trump, who downplayed the virus in its early stages and has been focused on reopening the economy in recent months despite an increase in cases, has been reluctant to wear a mask himself in public. He wore one for the first time in public during a recent visit to a military hospital but has otherwise eschewed putting one on in front of the press.

Mask-wearing has become a partisan issue, with some Trump supporters saying being required to do infringes on their liberties.

As coronavirus cases skyrocket across the country, including in politically important states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona, the president is shifting his tone to try to get the number of cases under control as he fights for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden, who leads in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

He urged young Americans to avoid crowded bars where the virus could spread.

“We are imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings. Be safe and be smart,” he said.

Trump again argued that the virus would disappear at some point, but most of his comments on Tuesday were largely a sober recognition of how bad the problem has become.

Trump sought to leave some optimism about scientific developments in vaccines and treatments even as he acknowledged the grim statistics at present.

When asked if the U.S. would cooperate with China on a vaccine, Trump, who several times called the virus “the China virus” during the news conference, said Washington would.

“Yeah, we’re willing to work with anybody that’s going to get us a good result. We’re very close to the vaccine. I think we’re going to have some very good results,” he said.

Nearly 142,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. (Reuters)

(Production: Arlene Eiras)

Trump replaces campaign manager amid slide in opinion polls

UNTV News   •   July 17, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump demoted his longtime campaign manager on Wednesday (July 15), a move aimed at shoring up his re-election bid as he trails Democratic candidate Joe Biden in opinion polls less than four months before the November 3 vote.

Trump said campaign manager Brad Parscale would be replaced by Bill Stepien, who has been the deputy campaign manager. Parscale will shift to a role focused on digital and data strategy, the president said.

A leadership shakeup had long been rumored. Parscale was blamed internally for a botched Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally last month that drew a much smaller crowd than he predicted. A subsequent coronavirus outbreak forced Parscale and other campaign officials who attended to self-quarantine for two weeks.

A source close to the campaign said Trump has been anxious about the polls “and struck at the most visible target he could,” adding that Parscale has been “a straight-shooter about the president’s challenges.”

Stepien, a longtime Republican strategist, is well known to both Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has been playing a more active role in the campaign. Stepien was political director at the White House before moving to the campaign.

In his statement, Trump credited both Parscale and Stepien for their involvement in his 2016 victory in the U.S. presidential election and predicted that he would glide to a second term in office. (Reuters)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

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