Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Sweeps into Washington for His Big Day

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Sweeps into Washington for His Big Day

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - With fireworks heralding his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington Thursday on the eve of his presidential inauguration and pledged to unify a nation sorely divided and clamoring for change. The capital braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing. "It's a movement like we've never seen anywhere in the world, the president-elect declared at a celebratory evening concert Thursday night with the majestic Lincoln Memorial for a backdrop. To the unwavering supporters who were with him from the start, he promised: "You're not forgotten any more. You're not forgotten any more.

"I'll see you tomorrow, he called out, and then fireworks exploded into the evening sky.

Trump began taking on more trappings of the presidency during the day, giving a salute to the Air Force officer who welcomed him as he stepped off a military jet with wife Melania at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington. Later, he placed a ceremonial wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.

At a luncheon in a ballroom at his own hotel, he gave a shout- out to Republican congressional leaders, declaring: "I just want to let the world know we're doing very well together. House Speaker Paul Ryan, he said, will finally have someone to sign legislation into law. Then Trump veered into the territory of the unknowable to boast his Cabinet selections had "by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever.

Just blocks away, the White House was quickly emptying out. President Barack Obama had his final weekly lunch with Vice President Joe Biden and got in a few final official acts, cutting the sentences of 330 inmates and placing a call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, in a tweet, called Inauguration Eve "a momentous day before a historic day, as security barricades and blockades went up around Washington in preparation for Friday's swearing-in at the Capitol.

"We are all ready to go to work, Pence said. "In fact, we can't wait to get to work for the American people to make it great again.

Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he'd be putting on his "favorite DHS jacket and taking to the streets to inspect security preparations for the inaugural festivities.

He told MSNBC's "Morning Joe that areas where inaugural crowds will congregate will be "extra fortified this year with dump trucks, heavily armored vehicles to prevent anybody who's not authorized from being in the area from driving something in there. He said there was "no specific credible threat related to the inauguration.

Trump's public schedule for the inaugural celebration began at Arlington, where he and Pence stood at attention as a bugler played taps at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Trump's wife, children and grandchildren silently looked on.

From there, Trump shuttled to a celebratory welcome concert on the steps of Lincoln Memorial that ended with fireworks filling the sky. …

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