‘Will bring our jobs back’: Trump vows to unify US on inauguration eve
Trump traveled from New York aboard a government jet to a
military base near the capital with his wife Melania.
Washington: Billionaire Republican Donald Trump on Thursday
pledged to bring unity to America as he swept into Washington on the eve of the
most consequential moment of his life -- his inauguration as 45th president of
the United States.
On Friday, Trump will cap an extraordinary and improbable
run for the White House when he takes the reins from President Barack Obama at
mid-day, launching the nation into uncharted waters.
The 70-year-old leader-in-waiting traveled from New York
aboard a government jet to a military
base near the capital with his wife Melania.
He then spent the afternoon in Washington attending
pre-inaugural festivities that have become traditions for presidents-elect.
"We're going to unify our country," Trump told a
cheering crowd of thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial after a concert
that ended in a burst of fireworks.
"We're going to do things that haven't been done for
our country for many, many decades," he added. "It's going to change.
I promise you."
Earlier in the day, Trump lunched with Republican
congressional leaders and his cabinet nominees. He then was whisked to
Arlington National Cemetery, where he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence laid
a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He then crossed back over the Potomac River to speak at the
marble memorial, where at one point he looked up and saluted the seated statue
of Abraham Lincoln.
"There's never been a movement like this," he
said, describing the wave of support among working-class Americans who pushed
Trump to victory over Hillary Clinton in one of the most divisive elections in
"Well, you're not forgotten anymore," he said.
"We're going to get it turned around. We're going to bring our jobs
Later he tweeted: "Thank you for joining us at the
Lincoln Memorial tonight -- a very special evening! Together, we are going to
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
Trump's swearing-in on the steps of the Capitol -- scheduled
to be administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at 11:47 am
(1647 GMT) -- will be carried live Friday on screens around the globe. Rain is
Three former presidents will be in attendance along with
numerous dignitaries, including his Democratic presidential rival -- a former
first lady and secretary of state.
Protesters have vowed to be out in force Friday, and
thousands marched in New York on Thursday night, joined by A-list actors Robert
de Niro and Alec Baldwin, Oscar-winning director Michael Moore and singer Cher.
But Trump supporters were gathering in Washington to trumpet
the success of their man.
"It honestly feels like we won the American Revolution
again," gushed Jake, a Trump supporter from California who did not give
his last name.
"I really feel like we've taken back our culture, we've
taken back our country, because we've really been under attack from a lot of
the establishment on both sides of the aisle."
Trump's working-class supporters have sent him to Washington
to turn the page on the Obama era and upend the political status quo.
Trump has vowed to act, and swiftly.
He is expected to sign four or five decrees Friday, and then
a raft of others beginning Monday to dismantle every policy he can without
waiting for congressional approval.
Among his pledges for day one: sign orders to speed
deportations of convicted criminals, begin building a wall on the US-Mexico
border, and cancel billions of dollars in US funding to United Nations climate
"He is committed to not just day one, but day two, day
three, of enacting an agenda of real change," incoming White House press
secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
Trump's first major legislative lift will be dismantling the
health care reforms known as Obamacare.
Congressional Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan,
have sought for years to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and now Trump, despite
potential pitfalls, has a golden opportunity