Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump • 3h
Today is a great day. The people have spoken. Donald J Trump will be sworn in again to be confirmed as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, president of all time. This will continue the president’s legacy to usher in a period of unparalleled growth and prosperity. Great news.
TP Matthews was gloating. Even he couldn’t believe the great seats he had secured for the Gillespie family. They had a direct line of sight to the inauguration podium and would have a great view of Trump when he delivered his second inaugural address. On one hand, TP believed he deserved the seats. He was, after all, a respected advisor to Kushner on both domestic and foreign policy and therefore deserved the trappings that went with it. On the other hand, he came out of a small university in the South, Furman University, and he was only a C student. He was just thirty-two years old. But most important, he was a big supporter of Trump, and he worked hard to get Trump elected a second time. Loyalty counted far more than brains. But it also didn’t hurt that his uncle, Hamilton Matthews, was Inspector General for the Department of Justice. Getting great seats for his girlfriend’s family would elevate TP’s standing with Chloe and her entire family. It pays to be loyal.
John Gillespie and his family were duly impressed. These were VIP seats, and John guessed by extension that this made him and his family VIPs. He even detected a bit of awe in his liberal-leaning wife, Kate, although she would never admit it, at least to him. Even the kids got caught up in the excitement of the moment and temporarily forgot their antipathy to Trump. As John and TP started talking, TP casually mentioned that he had helped to craft the President’s address and had talked to Jared Kushner that morning. John thought TP was probably exaggerating, but he was impressed at TP’s ties to Washington’s power elite. At the same time, he felt TP thought a little bit too much of himself. Truly great people don’t need to tell you they are truly great.
There was a good crowd at the inauguration. Probably about the same size as the first one, although to hear Trump, TP, and every other administration official tell it, it was the largest crowd ever for an inauguration and maybe for any event in the United States ever. Truth didn’t seem to matter to Republicans. After all, they had won the election and now defined truth and controlled the destiny of the country.
And now the truth and destiny were about to be revealed. Trump, Melania, Jared and Ivanka, Don Junior and Eric, and assorted other close Trump Associates emerged on the podium. This was along with John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, political dignitaries who were mainly Republicans, and three or four Democrats who had to be there for the sake of national unity and democracy. In addition, there was Trump’s close friend, Republican Senator Sam Lodge of Texas, who also was President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Also on the podium was Representative Abraham Lincoln Jones from the proud state of Georgia. He was a rising star in the Republican Party. There were high-ranking business executives, a few military leaders, like General Thomas Knight, to show who was Commander-in-Chief, and a few people no one recognized. At the last inauguration, previous presidents Obama, Carter, Clinton, and George W. Bush all attended, but none were to be seen at this year’s swearing-in. But that didn’t matter, since there was only one person everybody’s eyes were focused on, and that was the Man himself. This was clearly one of Donald Trump’s finest moments, at least in his mind, and he was about to make it top of mind for everyone else.
The ceremony opened with a brief prayer given by the prominent evangelist Gabriel Hightower. Other religious leaders cringed at him, because like his namesake, he often blew his own horn, and he was a big supporter of Trump. In fact, the common thread among everybody on the podium was fierce loyalty and fealty to the Man. A country singer, Bobby Joe Hill, sang the national anthem with just the right amount of national pride and country corn. As he had done four years earlier, John Roberts swore in the President, again using the Lincoln Bible. This was both fitting, since Trump often compared himself to Lincoln, and also ironic, since some Democrats and the media saw irony in comparing one of the greatest presidents with Trump. The Marine Band played “Hail to the Chief” with a traditional twenty-one-gun salute honoring the man of the century.
As Trump strode up to the podium, he looked around and took in the crowd. This would be his greatest achievement, and he was not shy to tell the crowd about his greatness. This was his validation. He had triumphed over the Democrats in their attempt to impeach him. It clearly was just a hoax. He had beaten the coronavirus handily, although some on the Democratic side of the aisle and the liberal press would hardly declare the amount of death and destruction caused by COVID-19 as a victory. Trump also claimed that he had single-handedly beaten back the protesters and rioters. Ignoring the need for police reform and social justice and the fact that most of the heavy lifting was done by state governors and mayors, the President chose to focus on stopping the riots. He said it was his intervention that had put down the disturbances. Trump often stated that he had more accomplishments in his first term than any other president in history, and this was only the beginning. Now it was time to Make America Stronger, his new slogan for his second term. In comparison with his first inaugural address, which was only sixteen minutes long and the shortest inauguration speech since Jimmy Carter’s, Trump wanted this moment to last and go down in the annals of history as the greatest inaugural address of all times. Trump began his speech.
“We have achieved the greatest victory in the history of the United States. Despite an unprecedented pandemic, four years of intractable opposition from the socialist Democrats, an economy destroyed, rioting by anarchists, and an unthinkable impeachment hoax, we have triumphed. The American people have spoken. Donald J Trump is your leader for the next four years. This will enable transition to greatness. This will enable the US to complete the vision and the mission that I started four years ago. We have accomplished more in our first four years than anyone ever thought possible. Some didn’t believe I could do it. Others were skeptical. Finally, others were determined to impede us every step of the way. But we achieved what nobody thought was possible. We overcame the most impossible odds. We overcame a fake news press. We overcame people bent on destroying our cities. We overcame Sleepy Joe and Nasty Nancy. Now America First will truly become America First.”
Trump took a moment to bask in all his glory. The crowd roared its approval. TP thought this was how the Roman emperors must’ve felt as they returned from conquering foreign lands. This was the President he loved. This was the President he worked so hard to get reelected. This was as close to heaven as he ever felt. John took it all in, too. While he wasn’t thrilled with the trashing of the Democrats, and the tone was a little strident and very narcissistic, he felt “to the victor go the spoils.” Kate, on the other hand, was not happy. This only confirmed that her reluctance to go to Washington to watch an egotistical man exult in his coronation was justified, and she should’ve spoken up more forcefully to her husband against going. The kids, who begrudgingly came with the family, felt the veneer of the event wear off quickly and kept repeating to each other, “What an asshole.” They didn’t say it too loudly, since TP and John were seated next to them.
Trump continued, “I will do what no other President has ever done. I will make our economy the greatest ever. I will ensure that rebellious anarchists never again threaten or destroy our country. I am the law-and-order President. I will hand China its biggest defeat ever. China will no longer be in contention with the US to be the world’s leading economic power. Its time has passed under Donald Trump. I will do what no other President has been able to accomplish up till now. I will give America back to the Americans. The eleven million illegal immigrants are given notice under Donald Trump that their days in America are numbered. Americans need not worry any longer that their guns will be taken by the Democratic Socialists. I, Donald Trump, the champion, say that the Second Amendment will never be changed. Your right to bear arms is inviolable. Human life is sacred and abortion must and will come to an end. It is only a matter of time before I, Donald Trump, appoint new Supreme Court justices to overturn this moral injustice.”
Each mention of Trump’s name brought applause and adoration from the highly partisan Republican crowd. The Democrats, very few of whom were there, with most watching on TV, felt cringes of pain with each statement. It was bad enough that they had to endure four years of the bombastic orange megalomaniac. Now, he could further destroy the country over the next four years. Jeff Gillespie, who was John’s brother and a California liberal, was mad, while his Hispanic wife, Gloria, was crying. The “liberal fake news” media didn’t know where to begin with fact-checking or criticizing Trump, for each false statement became more and more outlandish as Trump proceeded with his address. Their hope for a short inaugural address, like the first one, was quickly dashed as Trump continued past the thirty-minute mark. Each minute was more strident and self-congratulatory, or if you looked at it from the Republican perspective, more filled with greatness and truth.
“I will make America stronger than ever before. My domestic agenda will be enshrined in the capitalist Hall of Fame. The American economy will grow as never before. This will be known as the Golden Age of American Greatness. If you are a friend of America, Donald Trump will be your best friend. If you are an enemy of America, Donald Trump will be your worst enemy. If you want to be a friend of America, like Russia, we will welcome you with open arms. We will build America. We will make America stronger. Our borders are our borders. Do not expect to cross them without consequences. Do not expect to take American jobs from Americans. Do not confuse American legal niceties with weakness. This will be the safest country in the world. I, Donald Trump, was elected to grow our economy, our allies, and most of all, America.”
Lost in the harangue/speech, depending on your perspective, was mention of the coronavirus, which had killed well over two hundred thousand Americans in 2020. No time was given to empathize with those who had lost family members or their jobs. No time was given to thanking others. Trump had saved the country from losing over one million dead, which all the models had predicted. Two hundred thousand dead was a success to Trump. Also not mentioned was any reference to the police killings and the subsequent protests. Trump chose to ignore the whole plight of being Black in America and the need to improve the safety and well-being of African Americans. This was not a totally bad move, since his base cared little about social justice and only wanted law and order. During the protests, most politicians made strong statements calling for social justice, especially for Blacks and Hispanics, but the politicos soon forgot their promises and chose to concentrate on the other enormous economic, financial, and health issues. Trump, in his inaugural, focused primarily on himself and his achievements.
TP beamed because he had helped write the inaugural address with Jared Kushner. He was delighted. Concern for people who had died or been infected with COVID-19 mattered little to Trump. The killing of Black people and the need for greater social justice were also not top of mind for him. Empathy had never been Trump’s strong suit, and it showed. Kate and the kids became even more disillusioned as the speech went on. John chalked it up to Trump being Trump, and things would not be as terrible as the liberal press made them out to be, nor would things turn out to be as bad as the socialists predicted. Thankfully, after one hour and three minutes, Trump’s speech ended. Again, depending on a person’s viewpoint, it was either the greatest speech ever, rivaling the Gettysburg Address and Roosevelt’s speech to Congress declaring war on Japan, or it was an exercise in self-adoration and conceit that was unlikely to be rivaled by any rational individual in the near future. John was somewhere in the middle. Everything will be okay, he thought to himself.
And everything would have been okay had it not been for the protest rallies in Washington, DC, on Inauguration Day. The protesters were purposely kept far from the inauguration, which was held on the steps of the Capitol. The District of Columbia had begrudgingly issued a protest permit, but they made sure it was far enough away from the inauguration crowd so that it couldn’t be seen or heard. The DC police, the Capitol police, the Park police, the Secret Service, and the National Guard made sure that the protest crowd would be tightly confined. Unlike the violent protests following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, this time the National Guard and the police were out in force. In fact, this was the largest security force since the rioting in 2020. Nothing was to take the spotlight off Trump. Still, the protest rally numbered over a hundred thousand people, who shouted phrases like “Dump Trump, the Law-and-Disorder President.” Also unlike the previous protests/riots, this crowd was a lot more mixed. It was older, whiter, and more middle class. Blacks and youth were not in the majority.
The protest started peacefully enough, as all protests with legitimate grievances generally do. A few people gave speeches, but most were just milling around and shouting anti-Trump slogans. When it turned violent, no one could agree on who started the violence, but the police and National Guard moved quickly on the protesters using tear gas, flash grenades, and rubber bullets. Their object was to disperse the crowd down side streets as quickly as possible. The police came from one end of the street and the National Guard from the other. It was reliably reported that no bottles or rocks were thrown by the crowd, but that didn’t matter. The police started clubbing the demonstrators and arresting anyone who looked like a leader. People were running in all directions. And within a short period, less than thirty minutes, the rally was over. There was no damage to property or cars; however, there were five hundred arrests for civil disobedience and rioting. This was not an auspicious start for Trump’s second term.
This incident largely would have gone unnoticed had it not been for President Trump. The media were more focused on the inauguration spectacle, so they hardly covered the protests. And even though the protests did not disrupt the inauguration ceremony in any way, Trump was livid. After declaring himself a law-and-order President, this was an affront to his strongman image and to the American people. He could not let this slight slide, even on his Inauguration Day.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump • 2h
Thugs have attempted to hijack one of the greatest days in American history, Trump’s second inauguration. They attacked policemen. They defaced buildings. They endangered our whole society. Scum. Derelicts. Anarchists. They must be stopped. We will stop them. We will dominate the streets.
Though most of what he tweeted wasn’t true, Trump had to have the last word. It was mean. It was discordant. It was offensive. It was full of lies. It was classic Trump.
Even more ominous, Trump tweeted:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump • 2h
These riots will not be allowed to be repeated. Thugs and anarchists take note. There will be blood in the streets next time. Yours.