In his first address as U.S. President, billionaire businessman Donald Trump prioritized an ambitious economic agenda and promised to return America to American workers.
Trump was sworn in on Friday as the 45th President of the United States. Before thousands who had gathered on Capitol Hill to mark the occasion, he offered a grim view of the country but countered with a robust plan to energize its business sector and bring jobs back to the U.S.
"One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind," said Trump, who painted a bleak view of Americans plagued by globalization, crime, drugs and abject poverty. "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."
As far as presidential inaugural addresses go--Trump's latest marks the 58th throughout history--the rhetoric has traditionally skewed upbeat. Presidents tend to highlight big picture themes and ideals, or what you might describe as a wish list. Yet they often signal, directionally, where they plan to take the country, which makes them worth paying attention to. With this in mind, economic prosperity is high on his wish list.
"We the citizens of America are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people." Trump further described his plan to repair U.S. infrastructure and refocus efforts on domestic issues. "We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation."
At first blush, some businesses--those in the construction and transportation industries, for instance--would benefit from the plan. However, companies relying on foreign vendors and trading partners may be in trouble. "From this day forward, it's only going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families." Trump later added: "We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American."
If this sounds at all worrisome--after all plenty of U.S. businesses sell goods manufactured overseas--it may be some comfort to remember Trump's campaign promises. Among other things, he vowed to cut business taxes, rollback regulations and spur economic activity. He promised to help grow the economy 4 percent a year. (Currently, the U.S. GDP is growing at an annual rate of around 2 percent.)
And, of course, Trump is nothing if not determined. "I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever, let you down," he said in Friday's address.