In the culmination of his extraordinary rise to power over a tumultuous election year, Donald John Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States in Washington, D.C.
From the time he kicked off his presidential campaign in June 2015 at his namesake Trump Tower in New York City, Trump seemed an unlikely candidate for the nation’s highest office.
But with his promises to crack down on illegal immigration, bring back jobs for working class Americans and overturn the political establishment, the real estate developer and reality TV personality triumphed amid a crowded Republican primary field. He then pulled off an upset victory over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the general election in November 2016.
On a rainy Inauguration Day, a crowd of supporters—many of them wearing Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” caps—gathered to watch the inaugural ceremonies, held on the West Front of the Capitol Building.
Though crowd experts estimated that between 300,000 and 600,000 people attended Trump’s inauguration, the White House and Trump himself disputed that assessment, claiming the media deliberately underestimated the crowd total.
After Associate Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed “America the Beautiful,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered the presidential oath of office to Trump.
At 70, Trump became the oldest man to assume the presidency, and the first to have no previous record of government or military experience. In his inaugural address, which at some 16 minutes was the shortest since Jimmy Carter’s in 1977, he stuck close to the dark, ominous message he relied on during the campaign, referring to grim images of inner-city poverty and “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones” across the national landscape. “The American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he said.
Trump also sounded a nationalistic tone in his address, repeatedly using the term “America first” to refer to the economic policies his administration planned to implement.
After the inaugural ceremony, President Trump attended a traditional inaugural luncheon held in National Statuary Hall in the Capitol, then followed the inaugural parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. The new president and first lady ended their evening by attending three official inaugural balls.
On the following day, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the nation’s capital and cities around the country for the Women’s March, a mass protest—believed to be the largest in U.S. history at that time—of the Trump administration. In all, more than 2.5 million people reportedly joined the protest.
Trump went on to serve one term before losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden, and during his time in office was impeached twice for crimes including abuse of power and incitement of insurrection.
SEE MORE: Photos: Presidential Inaugurations Through History