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The 45th American President, Donald J. Trump, Takes Office

Donald Trump’s inaugural address was a clarion call for national unity and a declaration of war on the Washington establishment. Political observers will also recognize it instantly as vintage Trump: supercharged and politically incorrect, hard-hitting, unsubtle in the extreme, strongly delivered, and hugely ambitious. Anyone who thought Trump would change once he got to Washington — i.e. "go native" — was proven wrong.

Trump outlined his worldview in a strikingly few words. He is a vehement critic of the post-Cold War international system. Where the architects of that system consider it a bastion of stability and global prosperity, Trump believes it diminishes the United States in favor of foreign countries and an international class of wealthy political and financial elites. As far as Trump is concerned, Washington serves its own interests, not the people’s.

No longer.

Trump's America is going to look after itself first. It will focus on jobs, domestic stability, education, and infrastructure. The one exception to this will be the fight against Islamic terrorism.

Trump forcefully rejects identity politics. Racial and ethnic identities are far less important than our status as American citizens. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” There are no hyphenated Americans in this conception of things — only Americans and outsiders.

It’s a cliché that the voting public replaces American presidents with their opposites. What a contrast to Obama’s second inaugural address, where he called for a “world without walls.”

Trump did not give a policy speech. That will come later, when Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on his budget proposal. The inaugural address was Trump boiled down to his essence: populist, nationalist, and ready to fight.

He has to be. Trump gave his combative speech quite literally in the lion's den — surrounded by the very establishment he seeks to slay. In a sea of Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, Bidens, and Ryans, Trump aligned himself with the audience against the celebrities and VIPs packing the dais. Mass rallies, social media, and the sheer brute force of personality are his weapons as he aims to conquer or cast out the Washington ruling class and defiantly ignite a new spirit of American patriotism. He takes strength from his visceral connection with Jacksonian America — a connection strengthened by one of the most combative, polarizing, bold, evocative, and indeed revolutionary inaugural addresses Americans have ever seen.