By Jordan Fabian - 01-20-17 12:12 PM EST
Donald Trump took the oath of office Friday as the 45th president of the United States, pledging to embark on "a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people."
Addressing a large crowd assembled on the National Mall and millions more watching on television, Trump vowed to deliver on his promise to take on the establishment in Washington and deliver results for Americans forgotten by their leaders.
"We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people," he said as rain fell over the nation's capital.
Trump painted a bleak picture of a nation in crisis, plagued by "American carnage" caused by crime at home and the threat of terrorism from abroad.
But he sought to rally the country behind his "America first" vision, which he promised would bring about a brighter future.
"From this moment on, it's going to be America first," he said. "I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before."
Trump spoke after Chief Justice John Roberts administered the 35-word oath of office, which the new president recited holding his hand on top of his childhood bible and one President Lincoln used at his first inauguration.
The moment capped off a journey to the White House many never dreamed to be possible.
The reality TV star and real-estate magnate surprised many in the summer of 2015 when he rode down a golden escalator at his Manhattan high-rise to announce he was jumping into the presidential race.
He went on to stun the nation by defeating his 16 Republican primary opponents, then shocked the world by pulling off an upset of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Most believed Trump's campaign would be derailed by his inflammatory comments and lack of traditional political organization.
But he rose to power by presenting himself as an outsider with the ability to shake up the Washington establishment that many voters say have failed the country.
His Friday afternoon speech echoed many of the themes of his campaign, from his unabashed populist message to his recitation of his slogan to "Make America Great Again."
Trump now faces the difficult task of uniting a country that is deeply divided over his presidency.
His approval rating was no higher than 44 percent in a series of polls released in the lead up to his inauguration.
Those divisions were on display in downtown Washington, where police used pepper spray to quell violent protests against Trump.
Demonstrators smashed windows at businesses and vandalized bus stops and newspaper stands.
Trump made an appeal to those who oppose him, arguing that "through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other."
"Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag," he said.
The new president also thanked Barack Obama and Michelle Obama "for their gracious aid throughout this transition."
But he made no mention of Clinton, who was in the crowd of dignitaries watching the speech on the west front of the Capitol.
Trump also showed off his combative tone throughout the speech, a sign he'll bring the same style to the White House.
He took aim at the very lawmakers he will need to pass his agenda through Congress, saying the nation will "no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action."
"The time for empty talk is over," he said. "Now arrives the hour of action."
Trump's 16-minute speech, one of the shorter inaugural addresses in modern times, could give a sense of disquiet to many Americans skeptical about his presidency.
It did not contain the type of optimistic vision laid out in the inaugural addresses given by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan as an America that serves as an inspiration of the world.
Instead he painted a vivid picture of a country dotted with impoverished inner cities, "rusted-out factories," and crumbling roads and bridges.
But the types of promises he made will likely be music to the ears of his supporters, including trade policies that bring back jobs to America and an aggressive fight against "radical Islamic terrorism."
"Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done," Trump said. " No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again."
- Updated at 1:13 p.m.