New era begins as Trump is sworn in as US President

Donald Trump takes his oath outside the US Capitol and is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
Mr Trump taking the oath of office in Washington yesterday with his wife Melania and children at his side. According to his spokesman Sean Spicer, the 45th US President will get down to business on Day 1, signing executive actions to withdraw the US
Mr Trump taking the oath of office in Washington yesterday with his wife Melania and children at his side. According to his spokesman Sean Spicer, the 45th US President will get down to business on Day 1, signing executive actions to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, among others.PHOTO: REUTERS

New York billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who swept to victory on a vow to make America great again, has been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

At noon yesterday (1am today Singapore time), the 70-year-old Mr Trump took the oath of office at a ceremony presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts, making him the world's most powerful man and the oldest occupant of the Oval Office. Watching the proceedings were past presidents and his defeated Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

The historic handover of power came at the end of a bitterly fought election that divided the country.

Mr Trump's sweeping promises to undo eight years of policies under the Barack Obama administration - from ditching Obamacare, alliances and pacts with allies, to taking a more muscular attitude towards China - have provoked much consternation at home and abroad.

The tumult in the wake of his victory could be seen in the protesters gathered at the National Mall.

Some protest groups positioned themselves at entry points to prevent Trump supporters from getting into a secure area to watch the swearing-in ceremony and speech.

It was also evident in the anxious signals from abroad. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday declared the US-Japan alliance as the linchpin of Japanese foreign policy, and said that he wants to hold talks with Mr Trump as soon as possible after the inauguration.

Separately, Germany yesterday urged the US to stick to international agreements. "I don't think a big trade war will break out tomorrow, but we will naturally insist that agreements are upheld," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Mr Trump had vowed on the campaign trail many times to review trade pacts to protect US industry and "Make America Great Again".

His spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that Mr Trump will get down to business on Day 1, signing executive actions to withdraw the US from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, among others.

The new President, who has been active in pushing his agenda via tweets, took to Twitter early yesterday before the inauguration events.

"It all begins today!" he tweeted at about 7.30am. "I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. The movement continues - the work begins!"

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline 'New era begins as Trump is sworn in as US President'. Print Edition | Subscribe