WASHINGTON: Donald Trump took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday and pledged to end "American carnage"
of social and economic woes in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry.
Sketching a bleak vision of a country he said was ravaged by rusted-out factories, crime, gangs and drugs,
Trump indirectly blamed his predecessors in the White House for policies that helped Washington at the expense of struggling families.
"From this moment on, it's going to be America First," the Republican told thousands of people gathered on the grounds of the
National Mall as he took over the presidency from Democrat Barack Obama.
Crowds looked much smaller than those for Obama's two inaugurations. Scattered street protests erupted against Trump elsewhere in Washington.
"Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,"
Trump said. "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now," he said.
Trump, 70, takes over a country divided after a savage election campaign.
The dark vision of America he often paints is belied by statistics showing low levels of unemployment and crime nationally,
although Trump won many votes in parts of the nation where manufacturing industry has all but disappeared.
A wealthy New York businessman and former reality TV star who has never held public office,
Trump will set the country on a new, uncertain path at home and abroad.
His address revisited the themes of the campaign speeches that carried him to an improbable victory on Nov. 8 over Democrat Hillary Clinton,
who attended the ceremony with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Obama headed to a vacation in Palm Springs, California, after the ceremony.
Before sitting down to lunch in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, Trump shook hands with both Clintons.
Under pressure to unite the country after the bitterly fought campaign, Trump said that through allegiance to the United States,
"we will rediscover our loyalty to each other" and called for a "new national pride" that would help heal divisions.
Abroad, Trump signaled the possibility of a more aggressive approach to Islamic State militants.
"We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism,
which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth," he said.