President-elect Donald Trump arrived in Washington, D.C., to a big welcome, and he promised a “beautiful day” when he takes his Oath of Office on the West Front of the Capitol Friday.
“I don’t care frankly if it’s going to be beautiful or if it’s going to rain like crazy,” he told a large crowd gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for a celebratory concert. “Makes no difference to me. I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful.”
Trump and his family kicked off a weekend of inauguration festivities just hours before he would be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. He arrived at Andrews Air Force Base just after 1 p.m. on a military plane. Trump is staying at Blair House, or the President’s Guest House, a complex of four buildings across from the White House.
After he landed, Trump posted an Instagram photo of himself arriving. He wrote, “Just landed with Melania & my family. Thank you for all of your support. I love you – and WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!”
A crowd of spectators snapped photos and waved as Trump’s motorcade rolled up to his hotel, which is located near the White House. At the hotel, Trump addressed members of his new administration and top donors over a celebratory lunch in an opulent ballroom, called the “Presidential Ballroom,” which glistened with gold leaf.
Trump quipped, “Where is this place? This is a gorgeous room. A total genius must have built this place.”
Trump’s Cabinet members cheered enthusiastically as he told them, “We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what, one thing we’ve learned, we have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled.”
After the lunch, Trump and incoming Vice President Mike Pence attended a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery. The two placed a white-flowered wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Leftist activist Michael Moore tweeted, “As the soldier played a somber taps on his bugle, it felt like he was playing it 4 us, 4 something else that had died.”
Fox News’ Eric Bolling spotted this delicious “inaugural cookie” and tweeted a mouth-watering photo:
At 4 p.m. Eastern, Trump made an appearance at the “Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration.” The event featured celebrations by country singer Toby Keith, ’90s rock band 3 Doors Down and country star Lee Greenwood.
Actor Jon Voight, father of actress Angelina Jolie, told the crowd: “This is some day. [Trump] certainly didn’t need this job. And, yes, God answered all our prayers.”
Voight continued, “And President Lincoln sits here with us is smiling, knowing we will be led by a honest and good man, who will work for all their people no matter their creed or color.”
At the event, Greenwood sang “God Bless the USA,” and Trump sang along. Afterward, Trump gave Greenwood and his band a hearty thank you.
Many attendees wore “Make America Great Again” hats and regalia.
Notably absent from the inauguration festivities was Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron. Trump’s grandchildren, however, were in attendance.
The following two men were spotted at the concert sporting anti-Hillary T-shirts in this photo posted on Twitter.
“We all got tired of seeing what was happening, and we wanted change, but we wanted real change,” Trump told the concert crowd. “… It’s a movement that started and it’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world, they say. There’s never been a movement like this. And it’s something very, very special. We’re going to unify this country. … We’re going to make America great for all of our people, everybody. …
“What we’ve done is so special. All over the world they’re talking about it, all over the world. … We are going to make America great again, and I’ll add, greater than ever before!”
Then the sky above the Lincoln Memorial lit up with red and white fireworks as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” played.
As the fireworks display went on, the White House fired off a series of tweets touting President Obama’s successes:
Thursday evening, Trump and Pence were scheduled to attend a candlelight dinner with his donors at Union Station.
Former President Jimmy Carter was spotted on a plane headed to Washington for the inauguration. A passenger on Carter’s flight snapped the following photo, which was posted to Twitter:
Also Thursday, incoming Vice President Mike Pence declared the Trump transition a success, tweeting, “The transition effort was on schedule, will come in under budget and return tax dollars to the treasury.”
Pence was ambushed by a wild crowd Wednesday evening, when LGBT activists with WERK for Peace and DisruptJ20 protested Trump’s election with a “queer dance party” outside the incoming VP’s home.
“We are here tonight to send a clear message to Daddy Pence that we will not tolerate bigotry and hate in our country,” one organizer, Firas Nasr, told CNN. “We are here to take the streets as our dance floor.”
Meanwhile, the Trump team is wasting no time planning a series of executive actions for the coming days.
“He is committed to not just Day 1, but Day 2, Day 3 of enacting an agenda of real change, and I think that you’re going to see that in the days and weeks to come,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday.
Reuters reported Trump’s advisers have “vetted more than 200 potential executive orders for him to consider signing on healthcare, climate policy, immigration, energy and numerous other matters but it was not clear how many orders he will approve … . Trump is expected to sign an executive order in his first few days to direct the building of a wall on the southern border with Mexico, one of several immigration-related steps his advisers have recommended.”