This afternoon, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. And, as with the election, the media covered it in wildly different ways.
Breitbart, the premier mouthpiece of the alt-right and whose former chairman is now the chief advisor to Trump in the White House, led with “45 thumps establishment elite in 1st address” in all caps. The rest of its homepage noted that protesting “leftists” were starting fires, that Trump had also taken shots at “globalism,” and highlighting the fact that he was the first president ever to use the words “Islamic” and “urban” in an inaugural address.
The publication also continued to joke about Hillary Clinton, who attended the inauguration with former president Bill Clinton, and slammed Democrats who declined to attend the event, saying they were missing out on a moment of history, an action they would no doubt regret.
The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news website, led with “It’s Victory Day: LIVE” on its website and, bizarrely, a cheerful picture of Ronald Reagan of equal size with Trump’s own scowling face. (The second headline was “Shifty Little Fat Boy Starts a Fire Against Trump,” about a young boy who protested Trump.) Both it and Breitbart also published stories that exposed protestors as professionals, and the latter described protesters that blocked checkpoints as “sore losers.”
By comparison, the more mainstream right-leaning news outlets seemed practically civilized.
Prior to the ceremony, which began around 11 am local time, Fox News anchors and pundits described the then-incoming president as a “blue-collar billionaire,” “the ultimate outsider,” and a master negotiator, and speculated about what he would achieve in his first hundred days in office.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace described Trump’s inauguration as more than just a “peaceful transition of power”—a topic that was revisited by many news anchors and pundits on the network throughout the day—but as Trump “seizing power.” He said the president spoke, fittingly, like an insurgent or the leader of a revolt. Politics editor Chris Stirewalt called the speech a “signifier of a new era of politics.”
But the cable news network also pointed out that Trump’s rhetoric in his first speech as president was “dark” and more populist than it was conservative, which would be an adjustment for many on the right as well as the left.
One pundit on Fox News described Trump as a “third-party candidate who won under a GOP banner.”
Overall, the cable-news network praised the significance of having a peaceful transition of power such as this one, which Media Buzz host Howard Kurtz described as “the essence of democracy.” Charles Krauthammer praised the civility between Barack Obama’s administration and Trump’s transition team, and “the courage and class” the Clintons showed by attending the event.
The Drudge Report, which considers itself the homepage of the American right, led with the headline, “America Again! Trump Sworn In ‘Power Back to People’ Live.” (The “America Again” suggesting that the US somehow wasn’t itself under previous president Barack Obama.) It also promoted stories about Trump’s favorability ratings and his record for having the most prayers at an inauguration.
One thing nearly every outlet seemed to agree on: this was a historic inauguration, swearing in a man who had never held office before into the highest office in the nation. Everyone was eager to see what actions would follow.