President Donald Trump Emphasizes Infrastructure in Inaugural Address

January 20, 2017

Today, January 20th, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States.

(Photo Credit: CSPAN)

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, presided.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), ranking member of the Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, gave remarks before former Governor of Indiana Mike Pence was sworn in.

Schumer nodded to the deep political divisions in the country, including a fractured media, politics of rancor, and challenges posed by enemies foreign and domestic. Nevertheless, he praised love of country – and the democratic process – as a historical source of American strength and resilience.

“Today we celebrate one of democracy’s core attributes: the peaceful transition of power,” Schumer said. He cited diversity as the greatest strengths of America – diversity of race, religion, gender, sexual identity, and wealth.

Schumer quoted Major Sullivan Ballou, a Union soldier in the Civil War who wrote a letter to his wife Sarah a week before dying at the First Battle of Bull Run:

“Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.”

“Our best days are yet to come,” concluded Schumer.

After Pence was sworn in, Blunt introduced Chief Justice John Roberts, who administered the oath of office to Donald Trump.

President Trump’s inaugural address was encapsulated in a central theme that echoed his campaign’s populist rhetoric: America First.

“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a national effort to rebuild our country.” President Trump proclaimed.

After thanking former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama for their assistance in the transition, Trump proceeded to scorned the Washington elite. “We are transferring power from Washington, DC and giving it back to you, the people… Washington has flourished, but the people did not prosper as well.”

President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to protectionist policies under his administration, stating “we will build new roads and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation… [and we will rebuild] this country with American hands and American labor.”

The president declared that two simple rules would be followed in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure: Buy American and Hire American. “It is the right of all nations to put their own interests first… we will shine for everyone to follow,” he declared.

As ETW’s Jeff Davis wrote earlier this week, the Buy American, Hire American policy approach has a storied and complex past. The concept stretches back to the 1933 Buy American Act. For the full story on how this may impact infrastructure projects and financing under the Trump Administration, click here.

While the specifics of how a Trump Administration would implement Buy American, Hire American remains unclear, one thing is certain: nationalism and protectionism will be the guiding spirits of the executive branch in the next four years.

Trump closed his address with optimism, proclaiming that America stands at the birth of a new millennium of space travel, national strength, and an embrace of emerging technologies.

What’s Next?

The Trump Administration has already began changing the content on the White House website and renaming the issue categories. At press time they are:

  • America First Energy Plan
  • America First Foreign Policy
  • Bringing Back Jobs And Growth
  • Making Our Military Strong Again
  • Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community
  • Trade Deals Working For All Americans

Notably, Trump’s America First Energy Plan estimates that $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves – it states that America should “use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure.”


As former President Barack Obama boarded a flight to California and Joe Biden jumped on the Acela Express back to Delaware, Trump signed the formal nominations for his cabinet appointees and the proclamation for a National Day of Patriotism.

The Senate will convene at 4:00pm to vote to confirm General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and General John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the new White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, say that Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao is among a largely uncontroversial group of nominees that should also be confirmed this afternoon.

However, Schumer appears to be holding firm in his opposition to confirming additional nominees today – and there isn’t much time for negotiation between the inaugural balls and pomp and circumstance of the day.


Dive Deeper with ETW

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

USDOT and Secretary-designate Elaine Chao

The 115th Congress

Regulatory Reforms and Repeals Under President Trump:

The Trump Administration

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