WASHINGTON — The divisiveness of the country that was deepened by Donald Trump‘s election spilled over onto the streets of the nation’s capital Friday as he was sworn in as the nation’s 45th President.
As Trump delivered his inaugural speech steeped in populist rhetoric, protesters unleashed their pent-up fury. Police fired tear gas at demonstrators who smashed windows, turned over trash cans and started at least one fire, culminating in the arrest of at least 95 people, according to reports.
Most of the protests on the Mall were peaceful in the run-up to Trump’s inaugural speech, however.
The fashion industry should be set for a protectionist regime with a strong emphasis on Made in America under Trump, who sounded the populist themes from his campaign at his swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill.
While importers and global companies likely didn’t like the message, having already raised concerns about some of Trump’s antitrade rhetoric, proponents of Made in America were likely pleased with what he said.
Trump reiterated in broad terms his goals for reviving U.S. manufacturing, bringing jobs back to this country and stopping the move to offshore. He also portrayed a bleak picture of the country.
“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge, and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential,” Trump said. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
To that end, Trump laid out his basic prescription for the economy.
“We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American,” Trump said.
Auggie Tantillo, president and chief executive officer of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said after Trump had taken office, “The U.S. textile industry is eager to partner with him to stimulate American jobs, production and exports. From fibers to finished fabrics, American companies make the highest-quality and most innovative textiles in the world. Given a level playing field, U.S. textile industry is primed for expansion.”
He noted the textile sector’s resurgence in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and said there was a rebound “despite intense competition from Asian suppliers that often benefit from state subsidies and cents-on-the-hour wage rates.”
“Since the end of the recession in mid-2009, U.S. textile production has grown by 21 percent,” Tantillo said.
In his speech, Trump said the U.S. has “enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry.”
“One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind,” he said.
But he vowed: “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.”
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” Trump said. “We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”
Under a cloudy sky and intermittent light rain, tens of thousands of Trump supporters decked in red, white and blue garb took part in the symbolic occasion.
“We agree about change. We really wanted change. I think Trump can do it. He’s a businessman. This country needs to be moved in the right direction,” said Juliet Menendez, a government employee who lives in Miami.
Carlos Parga, a Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1993 and sought asylum as a political prisoner, said he supported Trump due to his stance on immigration.
“I want a strong policy on border regulation, e-verify control [a federal system that allows employers to check the immigration status of employees],” Parga said. “I’m not against letting people come to this country legally. That’s the way it should be.”
On trade, Parga said he believes Trump’s philosophy that the U.S. “needs better trade deals, regarding the economy and jobs.”
“Like Trump said, we are losing jobs and opportunities,” Parga said. “People and companies are leaving this country to other locations and people here are losing their jobs. It’s just not fair.”
While Trump supporters were upbeat and celebrating the day, others were longing for the days of Obama, just a couple of hours before his eight years in office ended.
Holding a sign that read: “What the U.S. needs is a bromance,” Mia Dortenzio, a 19-year-old George Washington University student, said she and her mother, Mary, were there to express their gratitude to Obama.
“We are from Connecticut and everything he did for the Sandy Hook Shooting and for us was really, really amazing,” Dortenzio said. “We were torn because we didn’t want to protest the inauguration. The fact that the government can do a peaceful transition of power is a really amazing thing, but at the same time we don’t really agree with where the power is transitioning to.”