WASHINGTON — Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new and more unpredictable era in which he vowed to shatter the established order and restore American greatness.
From the West Front of the Capitol, overlooking a crowd of hundreds of thousands as rain began to fall, Mr. Trump presented a dark vision of a nation afflicted by division and dislocation, exploited and forgotten by a group of Washington elites and diminished around the world. His arrival, he promised, would finally turn it around.
“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he declared in a forceful 16-minute Inaugural Address.
“The time for empty talk is over,” he added later. “Now arrives the hour for action. Do not allow anyone to tell you it cannot be done.”
He said the inauguration represented not just the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you the people,” he said
“For too long,” he added, “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.”
He vowed to reverse that trend and make America first. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”
Mr. Trump, wearing a dark suit with red tie and accompanied by his wife, Melania, in a powder-blue suit, intends to waste little time after taking the 35-word oath that was administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to start unraveling the policies of his departing predecessor, President Obama. Within hours of taking office, the new president could begin signing executive orders freezing regulations put in place in the last weeks of Mr. Obama’s tenure and reversing policies on health care, immigration and other areas.
For Mr. Trump, the ceremonies capped a remarkable rise to power that defied all expectations, and his ascension amounts to a hostile takeover of a capital facing its most significant disruption in generations. While officially a Republican, Mr. Trump has at times assailed leaders of both parties and positioned himself as the ultimate outsider, making clear that he will follow his own instincts in determining the nation’s course.
America has never seen a president quite like Mr. Trump, the son and grandson of immigrants who grew up to become a real estate magnate, casino owner, beauty pageant operator and reality television star whose tumultuous love life played out on tabloid front pages.
Never before has the presidential oath been administered to someone who had never served either in public office or as a general in the military. At age 70, Mr. Trump will become the oldest president ever sworn in for the first time and the first born in New York since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Three religious leaders representing different faiths offered invocations. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, who once accused Mr. Trump of “nativism,” led off, followed by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Pastor Paula White, a prominent televangelist from Florida.
Michael Richard Pence was sworn in first as vice president by Justice Clarence Thomas. Mr. Pence, 57, a former governor and congressman from Indiana, placed his hand on Ronald Reagan’s Bible as his wife, Karen, and three adult children, Michael, Charlotte and Audrey, looked on.
For his own oath, Mr. Trump placed his hand on two Bibles, one given him by his mother in 1955 just before his ninth birthday and the other used by Abraham Lincoln when he was inaugurated in 1861 and again by Mr. Obama in 2009 and 2013
After eight years in power, Mr. Obama made his exit, heading after the ceremony by helicopter from the Capitol to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he addressed a crowd of former aides and allies.
He and Mrs. Obama then boarded the presidential jet, no longer designated as Air Force One, for a flight to Palm Springs, Calif., for a vacation before returning to Washington.
The Obamas have rented a house not far from the White House to allow their youngest daughter, Sasha, to finish high school, making Mr. Obama the first president to stay in Washington after leaving office since Woodrow Wilson.
Just hours before his departure, Mr. Obama took to Twitter, expressing his gratitude to his 13.6 million followers and hinting that he did not intend to fade quietly away. He asked for their thoughts and vowed to continue to be politically active.
For their part, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, intend to head by train to Delaware, which he represented in the Senate for 36 years. But they too plan to return part-time to Washington, where Mrs. Biden teaches community college in the Virginia suburbs.