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Trump strikes protectionist, 'America 1st' tone in inaugural speech


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Trump strikes protectionist, 'America 1st' tone in inaugural speech

Donald Trump was sworn in as president pledging to put "America first" and set the United States on a protectionist path privileging the nation in all economic and geopolitical affairs.

In his inaugural address, Trump said current trade policies have enriched other nations while the United States' own infrastructure and economy have stagnated. The 45th president decried the loss of factories and jobs to overseas competition and vowed to return the wealth he said had been "ripped" from the middle class and "redistributed" around the world.

"Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families," he 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."

A massive infrastructure plan to build roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, railways and airports would be undertaken, he said, reiterating a campaign promise that has since become a top priority for his transition team and now administration.

At times, Trump struck a more inclusive tone at odds with what some see as a style of leadership that relies on vilifying political opponents and those who do not share his beliefs.

"The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans," Trump said. "Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots."

But he also characterized the political establishment in Washington as not working to benefit the American people.

"The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories," Trump said. "We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people."

"Jan. 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again," he said.

Trump described the new era the U.S. is entering as "the birth of a new millennium" in which the nation would "unlock the mysteries of space … free the Earth from the miseries of disease and harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow."

The transition team that has preceded Trump's administration has begun laying some of the groundwork for the policies he hopes to implement, which include a deep cut to the corporate tax rate, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and a withdrawal or renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Members of Congress have already introduced legislation to repeal the healthcare law, often called Obamacare, and while none have publicly described in detail a plan to replace the ACA, Trump himself has said all Americans would have insurance under a new healthcare law. A recent study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office showed that the partial repeal of the ACA contemplated by Republican lawmakers would result in 18 million more uninsured Americans.

A vast swath of other regulations has been targeted by Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. Toward the end of his campaign, the president said that for every new rule or regulation introduced during his tenure, two others would be eliminated. Many in the energy sector anticipate deep cuts to rules and to the Environmental Protection Agency that Trump has said have stifled the production of fossil fuels in the United States.

Before his policies can begin to take shape, hundreds of positions, all requiring Senate confirmation, need to be named. Trump has nominated only 30 of the 690 posts requiring his approval, followed by confirmation in the upper house of Congress, according to the Washington Post.

To read Trump's full remarks, click here.