Video by Jessica Babb | Broadcast Managing Editor and story by Kalyn Story | Staff Writer and Didi Martinez | Digital Managing Editor
WASHINGTON — Well before dawn, Washington became a hotbed for thousands of Americans on Thursday who came to witness the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
The streets of the nation’s capital filled up with Trump supporters and protesters as early as 6 a.m. and kept growing as President Donald Trump’s inauguration drew closer.
Dallas junior Madeleine Morren, who traveled to Washington to witness the ceremony, said the event was overwhelming.
“I came here just for the experience,” Morren said. “I’ve never been to an inauguration before and it’s awesome.”
The newly-appointed president was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts as the crowds on the National Mall began to cheer. What followed was Trump’s inauguration speech in which the politician promised to “make America great again” by reiterating multiple campaign promises he intends to follow through on as president.
“I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down,” Trump said. “America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.”
Although Morren said she is unsure of how she thinks the next four years will be, she remains optimistic.
“Whether you’re pro-Trump or anti-Trump, everyone has strong feelings about it,” Morren said. “I’m optimistic, but I feel like it could go either way with him, I’ll be honest.”
For some supporters, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan aligned with their nationalistic aspirations. Such was the case for Paul Sebula from Manassas, Va., who voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, who said Trump is the first candidate he has been proud to vote for since.
“Until this day — since Reagan — America has been on a downward spiral,” Sebula said. “Donald Trump being elected is God showing America an act of mercy and giving us a second chance.”
Sebula said he has full confidence in the Trump’s integrity and has friends who personally know him.
“America has fallen the wrong way, politicians have become self-interested and self-isolated,” Sebula said. “I know Donald Trump is a true man of the people and he understands what we need in our country.”
If Sabula had any doubts, he said they would all be gone after seeing Trump’s cabinet nominations. Sabula said he admires Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the administration’s cabinet nominees.
Amid the sea of supporters were protestors who also made their way to the inauguration. With Trump being a controversial figure throughout the election cycle, various individuals took to the streets chanting and holding up signs.
“It’s not so much about the person who won, but the ideology that won,” said A’idah Defilippo, holding up a sign reading “Muslim. Woman. Unapologetic.”
“Some of the things he says point to a very backwards way of viewing, specifically about women,” Defilippo said.
While some protest groups remained stationary, others blocked public entrances into the inauguration. In one incident, protestors caused a major shut down at the 4th Street security checkpoint after they gathered to form a human fence to block off attendees.
“In all honesty, I have no hope for progress,” Defilippo said. “At this point, it feels like we’re fighting just to keep the rights that we have. It’s just to maintain and keep ground.”