HAMODIA SPECIAL COVERAGE: Inauguration 2017 – Live Updates From Washington

The inauguration ceremony on the Capitol Mall. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)


On Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office as he becomes the 45th President of the United States.

Hamodia will be issuing live updates from Washington for the historic event, bringing you the sights and sounds of our nation’s preeminent quadrennial spectacle.

— — — —

12:25 p.m.

The Star-Spangled Banner is played, and the inauguration ceremony is over.

As always, thanks for following Hamodia’s live coverage!

12:23 p.m.

Three more clergy members say prayers now: Rabbi Hier, Rev. Graham and Rev. Jackson.

12:18 p.m.

Trump ends his speech with, “Make America Great Again!” which the crowd chants along with him. Then, “G-d Bless America!” and the Trump inaugural address is over. The speech was approximately 16 minutes.

12:17 p.m.

Trump: “We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands.”

“We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American!”

“It is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”

“We will reinforce old alliances snd build new new ones, and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism.” (Big cheers)

“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

Trump quotes, in English, the pasuk in Tehillim, Hinei Mah Tov Unah Na’im Sheves Achim Gam Yachad.

“When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk but not action. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the time for action.”

“Whether we are black, brown or white, we all bleed the same blood of patriots … and we all salute the same great American flag.”

12:12 p.m.

Trump speaks about what he believes are the problems we have faced, and promises: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”

“Americans are going to start winning again … like never before.”

12:10 p.m.

Trump: “We have defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own.”

“… but that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.”

President Donald Trump raises his fist after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

12:08 p.m.

Trump is speaking about giving power back to the people who have been left behind. Speaking about people who are suffering, dormant factories, “the crime, the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives …”

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

“We are one nation, and their pain is our pain, their dreams are our dream, and their success will be our success!”

12:06 p.m.

Trump: “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the People!”

“For too long … the establishment protected itself, but not the citizens.”

“That all changes starting right here, right now. This … moment belongs to you!”

12:03 p.m.

Trump: “We are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.”

12:02 p.m.

Trump is about to begin his inaugural address, and at precisely this moment, the rain begins coming down!

I will try to transcribe some lines as best as I can.

Trump says we will “rebuild our country and restore its promise.”

12:01 p.m.

The U.S. Marine Band is once again playing “Hail to the Chief” – the first time for President Trump.

Boom! Boom! Fireworks are exploding around the capital.

At 11:59 a.m., all rise as Chief Justice Roberts is announced to administer the oath of office.

“I, Donald John Trump do solemnly swear … so help me G-d.”

Precisely at noon, Donald J. Trump is now the 45th president of the US of A!


11:56 a.m.

A choir is singing “America the Beautiful.”

11:54 a.m.

Justice Thomas will now administer the oath of office to Mike Pence.

“I, Michael Richard Pence do solemnly swear … so help me G-d.”

“Congratulations,” says Justice Thomas to … yes, Vice President Pence!

11:50 a.m.

Crowd is trying various chants to shout down Schumer. Now some begin chanting, “Drain the swamp!”

11:48 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is speaking now. He talks about income inequality. The crowd starts booing loudly, and screams “Trump, Trump!” and “USA, USA!” Schumer speaks about immorality, and the crowd boos.

11:43 a.m.

Three clergy members said prayers: Cardinal Dolan, Reverend Rodriguez, and Pastor White-Cain.

11:37 a.m.

Sen. Roy Blount, (R-Mo.) Chairman of the Joint Committee on Inaugurations, addressing the audience now.

Attendees line the National Mall. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

11:31 a.m.

And now, the moment we have all been waiting for:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President-elect of the United States, Donald John Trump!” Very loud cheers.

Trump has a slight smile. Mouths, “Thank you.”

11:30 a.m.

House and Senate Leadership entering now. Boos when Pelosi’s name is announced.

11:29 a.m.

Entering now is “Vice President-elect Michael Richard Pence.”

President-elect Donald Trump arrives for the inauguration ceremonies. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

11:28 a.m.

The president-elect and vice president-elect will be entering shortly. There is silence as crowd awaits the big moment. Then the crowd spontaneously breaks into chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump!”

President Barack Obama greets President-elect Donald Trump before Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

11:26 a.m.

Jumbotron shows Obama laughing and cracking jokes with the former presidents, whose ranks he will join in a few minutes.

11:24 a.m.

Crowd boos loudly as Nancy Pelosi is shown on the jumbotron.

President Obama and Vice President Biden – this is the last time we’ll say that title unpreceded by “former” – enter to polite applause. U.S. Marine Band plays “Hail to the Chief.”

11:22 a.m.

Melania Trump and Karen Pence enter, along with the spouses of Senate leaders.

President Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump’s motorcade travels to the capital from the White House. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

11:17 a.m.

Bernie Sanders is shown on the jumbotron. The crowd boos loudly.

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden enter.

11:11 a.m.

Once again, there is silence for a few moments between introduction. Some loudmouth in the crowd shouts, “Believe me!” and the crowd laughs.

11:07 a.m.

In between introductions, there is silence now for a few moments, and crowd spontaneously breaks into chants of “USA, USA!”

The Trump children entering now, led by Ivanka and Donald Jr. The crowd roared even before they were announced, as soon as they were shown on the jumbotron.

11:04 a.m.

The children of Mike Pence are introduced.

11:03 a.m.

The jumbotron shows Trump exiting the car and entering the Capitol building. Crowd cheers.

Supreme Court Justices (L-R) Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas arrive at the inauguration. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

11:02 a.m.

The jumbotron is showing the massive presidential motorcade making its way to the Capitol. Obama, Biden, Trump and Pence will be in the Capitol building shortly.

11:01 a.m.

The former presidents and first ladies are now entering: First is the 39th President and First Lady, Jimmy and Roslyn Carter. Polite applause.

(Note: The 41st, George H. W. and Barbara Bush, are not attending, due to poor health.)

42nd: Bill and Hillary Clinton. Mostly applause, with some boos. The jumbotron shows Hillary smiling.

43rd: George W. and Laura Bush. Crowd roars.

10:55 a.m.

The crowd rises as the Armed Forces Color Guard is presenting our national colors.

We are 65 minutes away from Donald Trump taking the oath of office!

Spectators wait for the inauguration ceremonies on the West front of the U.S. Capitol. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

10:54 a.m.

Robert, 54, from Dublin, Ohio:

“This is the first inauguration I have ever attended, and the first time I have donated to a political campaign. I am encouraged by Trump’s vision, such as regulation reform, fiscal responsibility, illegal-immigration control. But I am not sure yet how I feel about his trade policy.

“I am a real-estate developer, and government regulations at every level – federal, state, city and county – are out of control. And the attitude of the enforcers is as bad as the regulations themselves.”

10:52 a.m.

David, 50, from the Upper East Side of Manhattan:

“I have been at five previous inaugurations: George H.W. Bush, both of Bill Clinton’s, and both of Barack Obama’s.”

“I am a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton. But I am attending the inauguration as a proud, patriotic American citizen. A lot of my liberal friends were surprised and annoyed that I came to Washington for the inauguration. They said, ‘Why would you support Trump?’ But I am not supporting Trump; I am an American and I am supporting my country.”

10:50 a.m.

Trump’s Cabinet-designees are entering now, to big cheers.

10:48 a.m.

Chiefs of Diplomatic missions have entered.

The rain has by now completely stopped.

10:45 a.m.

Supreme Court justices are entering now.

Senators Bernie Sanders (L) and John McCain arrive for the inauguration ceremonies. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

10:35 a.m.

State governors, and leadership of the Inaugural Committee, are entering now, as the U.S. Marine Band continues playing patriotic music.

10:29 a.m.

The weather isn’t bad. I am pretty warm except my hands, which are a little blue – but I will keep posting as long my fingers can move!

(Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

10:28 a.m.

U.S. House Members – other than the Speakers and Leaders – are entering now, led by the Majority and Minority Whips.

10:25 a.m.

The dignitaries and their spouses continue to stream in, and are announced on the loudspeaker. Former Vice Presidents Quayle and Cheney just entered.

President Barack Obama places a letter on his desk before he departs the Oval Office for the final time as president. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

10:20 a.m.

We are 100 minutes away from the noon swearing-in ceremony! The oath of office will be administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. At 11:30, Mike Pence will take the vice-presidential oath of office, administered by Senior Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

10:17 a.m.

The fantastic U.S. Marine Band is continuing with the patriotic music. What a great day to be an American!

I had heard a lot about the many protests planned for today, but there are no protesters in our section. I suppose there are protesters back in the general crowds.

10:15 a.m.

The dignitaries and their spouses have begun entering: Former Majority Leaders and House Speakers Trent Lott, John Boehner, and Newt Gingrich.

The U.S. Marine Band is playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic

The rain is holding up. Occasional drops but that is all. My fingers are a little numb, but I will continue typing, as we do what it takes to ensure that Hamodia readers are the most informed readers in the world!

Former Vice President Dick Cheney arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 20. (Win McNamee/Reuters/Pool)

9:59 a.m.

Sitting one row behind me is Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, who patiently poses for pictures with everyone who asks, and accepts this New Yorker’s congratulations on his team’s recent World Series victory.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Several seats to my right is Jeff Landry, Attorney General of Louisiana, and a former U.S. House member from that state. Landry is at his first inauguration, and says that he is “looking forward to President Trump making America great.” I speak with Landry for several minutes, as the U.S. Marine Band plays.

Landry: “I think that what the Trump administration is going to do is look at the regulatory burden that has absolutely been plaguing this country. I think that regulatory burden is contributing to the stifled economy. And I think that once you bring those regulations in line and balance the need and the industries out there that are trying to create jobs, I think good things are going to happen and we’ll be great again.”

Borchardt: Are you encouraged or concerned by Trump’s nationalist rhetoric?

Landry: I am not concerned at all. I think he speaks to the heart of every American out there that is ready to get to work and wants to see this country be a shining light in the world again – something that I think a lot of Americans think has not happened.

Borchardt: So you support Trump’s restrictions on trade and immigration?

Landry: I think that, number one, I’ve always said, and I’m a big supporter of it ­– we’ve got a problem that our immigration system is broken. The fact that we’ve knowingly been allowing people to come into this country illegally, has always been a problem. I think it’s contributed to a breakdown in the rule of law and a lot of the crime problem that we’ve seen in this country.

Borchardt: And as far as trade?

Landry: I think that the one thing that soon-to-be President Trump is going to bring is a better deal-maker: someone who knows how to negotiate, who understands what leverage is about, and make sure that at the end of the day, the decisions they make are good for the American workers.

Borchardt: What most disappointed you about the Obama Administration that you look forward to Trump overturning first?

Landry: I just think that Obama was a divider. I think he tried to put Americans in different boxes, which caused a lot of divide. We’ve never really been a divided country; we’ve always been a united country, and I think that what Trump is going to do is restore that.

Borchardt: It’s interesting you say that, because Trump actually is considered the most polarizing president [-elect] of all time.

Landry: Well that’s because that’s what the media says. That’s what the media claims.

Borchardt: You don’t agree with that?

Landry: I don’t know; look at his margin of victory.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

9:49 a.m.

The massive crowds are stretching from the Capitol Mall down to, I assume, near the Washington Monument, though I can’t see that far.

Brian, 24, from Chicago:
“This is my first inauguration. I am a Trump supporter, because he is very different than the last 44 presidents. I think that is what this country needs: someone who is not politically correct, not afraid to be different, and willing to say what needs to be said.”

Medical personnel outside a medical-services tent on the Hill at the inauguration ceremony. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

9:46 a.m.

Musical entertainment continues with the U.S. Marine Band.

I dig into one of the hero sandwiches I brought from New York. Thomas from Chattanooga hungrily eyes and comments on it, as one would a strange jewel that one has never seen before yet knows it is special. I casually pass him an extra sandwich from my bag; after a moment of stunned, though halfhearted protest, the Southerner digs in.

Margaret turns to me and, in a priceless Southern drawl asks, “Is that a pastrami or a corned beef?” Now it’s this New Yorker’s turn to be stunned. Margaret, it turns out, is a chef, and therefore somewhat familiar with even the most exotic of foods. Thomas munches on, rubs his belly, and grunts something about having to visit New York the first chance he gets.

President Barack Obama waves as he leaves the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, before the start of presidential inaugural festivities for the incoming 45th President of the United States Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

9:44 a.m.

I am speaking with people here from across the United States.

Thomas, 26, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, is an independent who does not believe Trump (or Hillary) is fit to be president. “But I came because it is patriotic and it is historic.”

Margaret, 67, from Chattanooga, who seems to be Thomas’s mother or aunt, says she was invited to the inauguration by, and received a pass from, her family in Washington. “I am excited to be at my first inauguration. I’ve never been here before and I probably will never be here again.”

9:30 a.m.

Right on schedule, the festivities begin with musical entertainment by a children’s choir.

9:28 a.m.

Until the ceremonies begin, they are playing various political-related videos on the jumbotron: politicians speaking about their experiences in past inauguration days; past swearing-in ceremonies; the history of the Capitol dome, etc.

9:25 a.m.

As soon as I arrived, I temporarily panicked because cell-phone reception was terrible. Eventually, it began working. It drops out occasionally, but I believe we should be okay.

President-elect Donald Trump waves as he departs from services at St. John’s Church during the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, January 20. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

9:17 a.m.

The rains have been on and off for the past half-hour. Just a light drizzle thus far.

8:50 a.m.

The entire Hill area is sophisticatedly color coded. As Section 16 is a green ticket, I follow fellow green-sectioners toward our viewing area. The Hill is like maze, with each color having its own winding, twisting pathway toward the Capitol Mall.

Color-coded signs directing inauguration-ceremony ticket holders to the appropriate section. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Before being allowed in, I through the most intense security screening of my life. There are no X-ray machines, so guards manually examine every item in my bag. Every piece of food and drink is taken out of the bag, felt up and down, held upside down and right-side up as security checks it for possible explosives. I walk through a metal detector – of course it rings, due to the zipper on my coat or one of the things in my pocket, and then I have to go through a hand-held metal detector, and each item in my pockets is examined.

Security guards inspecting every item in every bag. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Finally, I reach my seat – yes, sections for media and others lucky enough to get into the closer areas actually have chairs! The general viewing areas are standing-only.

I take a seat about 250 yards from the lectern where Trump will take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address, a little over three hours from now. Though on an angle, I’ll have a direct line of vision to Trump, just between two branches of an overhanging tree.

8:45 a.m.

As we are walking toward our seats, we hear the sounds of someone singing the national anthem over the loudspeaker. A woman from California stops and puts her hand on her heart, and exclaims, “I can’t believe I wasn’t here for the beginning of the anthem!” I tell her, “It’s only soundcheck.” Sure enough, the anthem stops midway – it was just soundcheck. Both embarrassed and relieved, she removes her hand from her heart and continues walking.

Law-enforcement personnel at a Metro station, part of the massive security presence in Washington for Inauguration Day. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

8:15 a.m.

I am among a mass of humanity emerging from the Capitol South Metro Station, headed toward my section, Section 16 of the viewing area for the inauguration ceremony.

The sun rises over the Capitol on the National Mall before President-elect Donald Trump is to be sworn in in Washington, January 20. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Friday, 6:28 a.m.

Good morning and a Happy Inauguration Day to Hamodia readers from our nation’s capital!

It’s chilly now, but should warm up soon. Hope the rain holds up.

Early morning on Connecticut Ave. NW. The building at left is the famous Washington Hilton hotel. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Thursday 10:33 p.m.

The forecast is calling for a warm but rainy day Friday. Let’s hope the rain holds up at least until after the swearing-in ceremony. For now, it’s time to catch a few zzz’s before the big day.

Thursday, 10:30 p.m.

Michael, 56, the chief engineer at my hotel, said that he supported Clinton, but accepts Trump as the new president and does not agree with the protesters.
“The people have made their choice, and I accept the people’s choice,” says Michael. “I am an American. I will support the people’s choice as long as he abides by the laws.”

I ask Michael, an African-American, what he thinks about the recent spat between Trump and John Lewis: Was Lewis justified in calling Trump’s election illegitimate due to Russian interference? Was Trump justified in criticizing Lewis, a civil-rights hero?

Michael replies that he believes all is fair in politics; anyone has a right to say whatever they want.

“But the bigger man always needs to make himself bigger,” says Mike.
“If I were Trump, I would not have responded. Trump had no reason to respond. He is going to be president; what difference should Lewis’s comments make to him?”

Thursday, 10:28 p.m.

Tracy, 61, from Ohio, is in Washington for the weekend with three friends.
She and her friends are Hillary Clinton voters and supporters.
“So, are you in town for the protests?” I ask
“No,” she says. “We booked the hotel way back, because we thought Clinton would win. Then, the hotel refused to refund our money, so we came down here.”
“Are you going to the protests?”
“No, because I don’t like volatile situations.”

(Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Thursday 10:26 p.m.

Going through the streets of the capital, I try speaking with people to get their feelings on the election and inauguration.

My cab driver, Sam, a middle-aged man, says that he likes Trump because “he said he will be good for business. He is a businessman.”

I ask Sam, an Ethiopian immigrant, if he is not concerned about Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“No,” says Sam. “Trump is not going to eliminate foreigners by himself. Congress would have to approve that.”

One of the many clever t-shirts being offered for sale in the federal enclave this weekend. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Thursday 10:10 p.m.

Media and others planning to attend the inauguration, are advised to get to security lines by 8:00 a.m. If you get there after 9:00 a.m., you may be shut out completely.

Trump is scheduled to take the oath of office at noon, preceded by invocations by several clergy members, including Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Weisenthal Center, who spoke with me earlier this evening about the significance of his giving an invocation and the meaning behind the tefillos he will say.

After the oath of office, Trump will deliver his inaugural address. The day’s events will then continue with a luncheon at the Capitol followed by a parade to the White House. M’pnei k’vod Shabbos, we will stop issuing updates after the inaugural address, as we prepare to welcome true royalty, Shabbos HaMalka. But until the inaugural address is over, Hamodia will bring you inside all the action.

Thursday 9:52 p.m.

As expected, security is incredibly tight across Washington and beyond. On my Amtrak from New York to Washington this morning, bomb-sniffing canines were brought onto my train at Baltimore – it seems that trains are not even entering Washington without being screened.

Bomb-sniffing dogs at the Baltimore Amtrak station. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

A huge perimeter has been set up around the Capitol. No cars in or out. If you are in the district, and want to get near the Hill, the Metro is the way to go.

The inaugural is the capital district’s version of a stimulus (at least for business owners!) Prices are sky-high. Anyone staying in a hotel is paying hundreds of dollars per night – if they can find a room at all. And if you can find a precious seat on a train or bus into Washington this weekend or out of Washington after the weekend, be prepared to pay at least double the usual price.

Inauguration Day paraphernalia at a gift shop in Union Station on Thursday. (Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia)

Thursday, 9:41 p.m.

Inauguration fever is in the air in Washington, D.C., as our nation prepares to welcome its 45th president tomorrow. Actually, some will be welcoming him, while quite a few others will be shunning or demonstrating against him.

Here in Washington, a large number of anti-Trump protests are expected to be held concurrent with the inauguration. And a large “Women’s March on Washington” will be held Saturday, with sister events in cities across America. For better or worse, tomorrow will be one of the most polarizing presidential inaugurations in U.S. history.

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