Missing million: Photo shows lower turnout for Donald Trump's inauguration

Donald Trump has been inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Trump was officially sworn in as president by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, promising to "faithfully execute the office of the president" and "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" to rapturous applause from his supporters gathered below.

He was joined on the balcony of the US Capitol building by his family, the Obamas and, awkwardly, the Clintons, among other political leaders.

The ceremony went off without a hitch, but Trump's ego might have to endure some unflattering comparisons to Obama's first inauguration eight years ago.

The New York Times compiled these two contrasting images. On the left is the crowd about 45 minutes before the 2009 inauguration. On the right is the crowd 45 minutes before today's ceremony.

On the left is Obama's first inauguration. On the right is Trump's. Photo / Supplied
On the left is Obama's first inauguration. On the right is Trump's. Photo / Supplied

It's been estimated that Trump only managed to draw about a third of Obama's 1.8 million-strong crowd.

Trump's first act as the new president was to deliver the traditional inaugural address. He started by thanking all the living former presidents, including Barack Obama, who had just joined their ranks.

"President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world, thank you," Trump said.

"Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you."

Trump said his inauguration held "special meaning" as the moment the American people had regained control of their government.

"Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it back to you, the people," he said.

"For too long, 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.

"That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

Vice President Mike Pence watches at left as President Donald Trump prepares to sign his first executive order. Photo / AP
Vice President Mike Pence watches at left as President Donald Trump prepares to sign his first executive order. Photo / AP

"January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again."

The president reeled off a list of the problems he believed were afflicting the United States, and promised to solve them.

"At the centre of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens," he said.

"For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories, scattered like too many stones across the landscape, tombstones of our nation; an education system flushed with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealised potential.

President Donald Trump smiles with his son Barron as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump smiles with his son Barron as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade. Photo / AP

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

Turning to foreign policy, Trump issued a "new decree" to the world, making it clear his administration would put "America first".

"We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first," he said.

"At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice."

The new @POTUS Twitter account for President Donald Trump. Photo / AP
The new @POTUS Twitter account for President Donald Trump. Photo / AP

Trump finished his speech with a reprise of his famous slogan from the election campaign.

"Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again and, yes, together, we will make America great again."

- news.com.au

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