A gray sky hung over the Capitol ahead of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of Trump's supporters, many wearing the trademark red "Make America Great Again" baseball cap or some form of red-white-and-blue attire with the name "TRUMP" in big letters.
We arrived at this point for a number of reasons, two of which are their undying love for Trump and his message of "America first!" and their utter contempt for the Washington establishment.
Both were on full display in the moments before Trump took the stage to be sworn in to office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The appearance of an adversary on the video boards flanking the stage resulted in boos, jeers, and pro-Trump chants.
This was especially true for the Clintons. Boos were followed by polite applause when Bill and Hillary, Trump's opponent in the election, were announced as part of a procession of former presidents and first ladies. When the camera caught her a second time, boos were louder and longer, and there were scant chants of another Trump rally favorite: "Lock her up!"
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the runner-up in the Democratic nomination, received a similarly warm welcome. Not long after Mike Pence was sworn in by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, officially making him vice president of the U.S., a man not far from the stage found a quite moment to yell, "See ya, Joe!"
Nothing raised the crowd's hackles quite like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The New York senator delivered remarks in which he asserted that all Americans are equal in their devotion to their country, "[w]hatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity. Whether we are immigrant or native-born." The use of "immigrant" in particular drew a sharp rebuke from the Trump loyalists.
Even as Schumer tried to read a passage from a letter written by Union Civil War soldier Sullivan Ballou in which the major expressed his willingness to die to preserve the government, the crowd booed louder, with some belting out the anti-establishment Trump chant "Drain the swamp!"
Their love for The Donald was never in doubt. They cheered at the sight of his five children and wife, Melania. And during several idle moments in the ceremony, they chanted "Trump! Trump! Trump!" or "We want Trump!"
After placing his right hand on Bibles owned by Abraham Lincoln and his mother and taking the oath of office, Trump walked toward the podium and threw the adoring crowd a T-bone sized hunk of red meat, telling them the power of this democracy would again be in the hands of the people.
"For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost," he said.
He went on to say: "That all changes—starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: It belongs to you."
Though Trump's verbal bluster and sneering Twitter presence are well established at this point, he appeared far more restrained than usual, reading his speech in a calmer manner. His sentences didn't erupt into tangents or nonsense; he stayed on message.
But, as with so many things that come out of his mouth, there wasn't much in the way of specifics. His campaign talking points about bringing jobs back, penalizing companies that move overseas, controlling crime, and investing in infrastructure were all touched on. The details of how they will all come about were not. Trump's fans ate it up regardless.
What is certain, though, is that a message is being sent across the world about the future governance of the United States: "From this moment on, it’s going to be America first."
There were a few bones thrown to the ideas of equality, placing "mothers and children trapped in poverty in inner" cities alongside "rusted-out factories" in his diagnosis of America's ills.
"We are one nation—and their pain is our pain," he said. "Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny."
And these groups would be united by the drive of future prosperity, putting an end to the bitter divides of today.
"A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions," he said.
His message to everyone in the country, from sea to shining sea, is this: "You will never be ignored again.
"Together, we will make America strong again.
"We will make America wealthy again.
"We will make America proud again.
"We will make America safe again.
"And, yes, together, we will make America great again."
Roughly an hour after the speech, Trump's administration announced it would overturn a fee cut for Federal Housing Administration borrowers. The cut would have saved low-income families and first-time home buyers an estimated $500 per year.