Reporter's Notebook: At the Capital, As Trump Era Begins
On the National Mall: Red hats, Trump flags and colorful signs abound as love and disgust mingle for protestors and supporters watching the big-screen swearing-in.
Protestors mingled with supporters on the National Mall on Friday, but — unlike in some parts of the capital — it was mostly cordial in the heavily policed area where Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
A day earlier on the National Mall it was a Trump lovefest at the kickoff Lincoln Memorial concert. Inauguration Day, however, was not just a sea of "Make America Great Again" hats on parade.
Women's March organizers, Black Lives Matter protesters and many, many people who just didn't like Trump amiably mingled with the Trump boosters who made their way to catch a far-away glimpse of the incoming president.
Below is a running tally of what was seen and heard around the Mall, the Washington Monument and near the Capitol Building on early Friday:
Around 10:05 a.m. ET — Walking by Dupont Circle, where there are at least three American flags with weed logos, a "Trump 420" sign and a more-than-faint marijuana scent. This must be the group giving away the 4,200 joints they promised. I don't see anyone waving around free joints at the moment though.
10:10 a.m. — See the first of many Humvee-esque vehicles on M and 18th as I stroll by on wet streets. It's cloudy but not raining yet. Maybe Trump was right about his "beautiful" day weather prediction on Thursday.
10:25 am — Continue down toward the Mall, see a man with a local news joke shirt directed at the Redskins owner: "Congrats Dan Snyder you're no longer D.C.'s most hated person."
10:30 a.m. — Pass by some Despicable Me themed Trump shirts for sale, vendor says he's not sure who made them. These turn out to be the most creatively designed of the many, many Trump inauguration shirt variations for sale throughout the day.
10:37 a.m. — Some classy gold hats for sale, come get your gold Trump hats.
10:55 a.m. — Getting closer to the Mall, a protester shows off her "Sleazebag in Chief" sign. A Trump supporter retorts: "Is that a sign for Bill?"
11:02 a.m. — The going rate for Trump shirts seems like $10 right now. With all that print on it, looks like it could be an itchy wear.
11:07 a.m. — It's tour buses and Humvees mingling on 18th and Virginia as visitors head toward the National Mall for the main part of the inauguration.
11:09 a.m. — As I approach the Mall, I ask another vendor what the prices are. "Some for $20, some for $10." Getting pricier as the view of the Capitol gets better?
11:15 a.m. — Hey, it's the "This Is F— Up" sign guy again. He was one of the lone protesters at yesterday's official Trump concert. How's he doing? Maybe not great. He says he's on his third "F— Up" sign because when he went into the concert some guys came over and tore it up.
11:17 a.m. — Michelle Obama is announced on the mega-speakers as I near the Washington Monument.
11:20 a.m. — Trump flags are going for $20. "How many would you like?" the vendor asks. It's only $1, however, for a Trump wallet a few steps ahead.
11:27 a.m. — At a public checkpoint on the Mall I open up my coat, bring out my umbrella (the only time I brought it out at all) and had security check that my cellphone could turn on.
11:32 a.m. — Make it to a good, far off, but close enough view of the Capitol for big screen applause and a view of Trump grimacing.
11:35 a.m. — Listening to a solemn, and important, message about the transfer of power between presidents while standing behind a backward-hatted Trump guy.
11:45 a.m. — Watching televangelist Paula White speak, a couple "boos" show up from the peanut gallery area of the Mall I'm at, next to the "You Can't Comb Over Racism" and "Moscovian Candidate" sign contingent.
11:46 a.m. — A woman carries a Shepard Fairey (the "Hope" Obama sign artist) poster for the Women's March on Washington.
11:48 a.m. — Probably not out of the norm for this type of event, but the sound bellowing from the speakers isn't synced to the images on the big screens on the Mall. Makes it easier to just roam around and squint at the Capitol Building.
11:50 a.m. — I see three helicopters overhead but there are probably more because the sound is a constant dull hum in the background.
11:52 a.m. — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas gets polite applause as he swears in Vice President Mike Pence. After a minute the louder "boos" from the peanut gallery arrive, as well as applause from Trump supporters when its complete.
11:55 a.m. — Surprisingly hushed for a moment in the crowd, because everyone knows what's coming next. A choir starts singing and and the loudspeaker sound breaks up the moment.
12:00 p.m. — Phones out! This is the moment. Donald Trump sworn in as a few scattered raindrops start falling and people start unfurling plastic ponchos and take out umbrellas.
12:03 p.m. — Not as many loud outbursts at Trump's swearing in as I thought. Although I do see another woman close by, also holding the Shepard Fairey Women's March poster, with tears in her eyes.
12:05 p.m. - 12:15 p.m. — The applause lines in my area: "It belongs to you," "glorious destiny," ridding the world of ISIS, "no room for prejudice." Also cheers for law enforcement and God, things we can all agree upon.
12:18 p.m. — Of course "we will make America great again" was the last line of the speech, aside from "God bless America." This minute may be peak #MAGA.
12:19 p.m. — The moment that Trump ends his speech, supporters, protestors, tourists all start streaming for the exits like it's a sports game and there's two minutes left in the fourth quarter but one team has clearly already won.
12:35 p.m. — Walking past the Environment Protection Agency building and hear "that's going away, that's going away," from a man in a red Trump hat who is looking forward to the president lopping off its "tentacles."
12:55 p.m. — The large crowds I'm walking back in have been redirected back and forth several times. On Constitution and 17th St., the inevitable guy with an enormous "Don't Give Up, Talk to Jesus" sign yells at us all and says that we have a look of emptiness on our faces.