Donald Trump promised to make America ‘greater than ever before’ as he addressed the crowd and paid tribute to his supporters during his pre-inaugural concert at Lincoln Memorial Thursday evening.
Thousands of fans lined the Washington Mall and listened to the soon-to-be commander in chief, who called himself ‘just a messenger’ for a movement they helped propel.
He thanked his wife Melania who flashed him a big smile, staying warm against the chilly air in an Alexander McQueen coat.
The festivities kicked off earlier on Thursday with a speech from Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, and was followed by performances from Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down and YouTube sensation The Piano Guys, who opened with their rendition of One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. Keith warmed the crowd by singing his country hit ‘Made In America’ and later performed his patriotic tune ‘Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue’.
Also present for the big concert were Trump’s four oldest children and three oldest grandchildren. His son Barron did not attend.
DONALD TRUMP’S PRE-INAUGURAL SPEECH
‘Thank you very much.
‘Thank you very much everybody and thank you Tom
‘I’d like to congratulate our incredible entertainers tonight. Toby and Lee Greenwood and all of the great talent it was really very special
‘I also have to thank our incredible military talent right here, stand up please, you guys were great.
‘So this journey began 18 months ago I had something to do with it but you had much more to do with it than I did. I’m the messenger, I’m just the messenger.’
A fan screamed: ‘We love you’, to which Trump replied: ‘I love you , believe me I love you.
‘We all got tired of seeing what was happening and we wanted change but we wanted real change and I am so looking forward to tomorrow.
‘We’re going to see something that is going to be so amazing, so many people have poured into Washington DC. This started out tonight being a small little concert – then we had the idea maybe we’ll do it in front of the Lincoln memorial and the people came by the thousands and thousands and here we are tonight.
‘It’s a movement that began, that started, it’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world – they say there’s never been a movement like this and it’s something very, very special and we’re going to unify our country.
‘And our phrase, you all know it, half of you are wearing the hat, make America great again.
‘But we’re going to make America great for all of our people, everybody throughout our country. That includes the inner cities, that includes everybody and we’re going to do a special job and I can only tell you that 18 months ago, we never knew, some people didn’t know, some had a feeling but a lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance but we understood what was happening.
‘That last month of the campaign when I traveled around to every place you can imagine, state after state, speech after speech, and we had 10,000, 20,0000, 30,000 people.
‘There was never an empty seat just like tonight, we didn’t know if anybody would come tonight. We all knew that last month of the campaign, a lot of us knew the first week of the campaign, but that last month of the campaign, we knew that something special was happening.
‘I can only tell you this – the polls starting going up, up, up, but they didn’t want to give us credit because they forgot about a lot of us.
‘On the campaign I called it the forgotten men and the forgotten women. Well, you’re not forgotten anymore.
‘I want to thank my great family, my incredible wife Melania, they’ve been so supportive and it wasn’t easy for them. They have been so supportive
‘I want to thank you most importantly. I promise you, I will work so hard. We’re going to get it turned around, we’re going to bring our jobs back, we’re not going to let other countries take our jobs anymore.
‘We’re going to build up our great military, we’re going to build it up, we’re going to strengthen our borders, we’re going to do things that haven’t been done for our country for many, many, decades.
‘It’s going to change – I promise you. It’s going to change. So I’ll see you tomorrow and I don’t care frankly if it’s going to be beautiful or if it’s going to rain like crazy. It makes no difference to me. I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful, though.
‘I will see you tomorrow and I’m going to be cheering you on. You’ll be cheering me on but I’ll be cheering you on. What we have done is so special. I love you folks and we’re going to work together and we are going to make America great again. And I’ll add, greater than ever before.
‘Thank you very much and enjoy the fireworks!’
Chairman of the presidential inaugural committee Tom Barrack took to the stage after Keith and addressed the crowd, asking the public to unite behind the new president.
Trump stepped on stage at the end of the evening, before fireworks concluded the night, telling his supporters he would make America ‘greater than ever before’.
The president-elect thanked the night’s supporters, before renewing some of his campaign promises regarding employment, the US military and the country’s borders.
Trump and his family then took a few moments to stop and stand in front of Abraham Lincoln’s statue. The president-elect later paid another tribute to his supporters on Twitter, writing: ‘Thank you for joining us at the Lincoln Memorial tonight- a very special evening! Together, we are going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
Kellyanne Conway later spoke to reporters outside of the inauguration eve dinner, saying that Trump might take his first executive decisions by Monday.
She confirmed that the president-elect was done with his inauguration speech, which she called beautiful and eloquent.
The Trumps hit the ground running in Washington DC on Thursday, busying themselves with an array of events and appearances ahead of Donald’s swearing in on Friday afternoon.
The family arrived in nation’s capitol shortly after noon on Thursday, before making their way to the family’s eponymous hotel in the district.
Then, after a brief appearance at a luncheon, it was off to Arlington National Cemetery, where Trump had the honor of laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns to remember the nation’s fallen soldiers.
He was joined for that monumental event by his wife Melania most of his family.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended with their oldest daughter Arabella; Donald Trump Jr and wife Vanessa attended with son Donald III and daughter Kai; Eric Trump attended with wife Lara; and Tiffany Trump attended with her boyfriend Ross Mechanic, who did not stand with the family during the ceremony.
Trump’s son Barron did not attend the ceremony.
Trump shared a photo shortly after the ceremony on Instagram, writing: ‘Truly an honor. Thank you to all of our men & women for their service.’
Upon landing in DC on Thursday, the president-elect’s family exited the plane first after landing at Joint Base Andrews, with Donald’s son Barron hesitantly leading the way.
Donald’s 10-year-old son was then followed by Donald Jr. and his wife Vanessa with their five children. Eric Trump exited next with his wife Lara.
The Donald’s two oldest sons are only down for the weekend before they head back to New York City and get to work running the Trump organization while their father is in office.
Then came America’s new political power couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with their three children.
The family touched down in what will now be their new home as Kushner gets to work as a senior adviser to Trump in the White House.
Just a few hours prior, Ivanka addressed rumors that she would be taking Melania’s place as first lady once her father took office in an interview on Good Morning America.
‘Well, I think its an inappropriate observation. There’s one first lady and she’ll do remarkable things,’ said Ivanka, referring to her father’s wife Melania.
She later told Deborah Roberts in the interview, which will air in full on 20/20 Thursday night, that she also found the comments ‘sexist,’ saying that they seemed to suggest that two women could not have a powerful role in her father’s White House administration.
Ivanka also revealed during the interview that she is still close to former first daughter Chelsea Clinton despite her father’s victory over Hillary in the election, and said that she will likely go to her for advice once she settles down in Washington DC next week.
Tiffany Trump was the last child to leave, exiting solo and without boyfriend Ross Mechanic, who had de-boarded at the rear of the aircraft. She was followed by some of Donald’s siblings.
Then, after a pause, Donald and Melania exited the plane, with Donald waving to those at the base before descending the stairs with his wife.
Donald posted an Instagram photo of himself exiting the plane almost immediately after landing, writing: ‘Just landed with Melania & my family. Thank you for all of your support. I love you – and WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!’
Donald Jr. posted a similar photo of his family getting off the plane on his Instagram account, writing: ‘And we are in DC. Pretty surreal experience so far.’
And Ivanka posted a photo of her family as well, writing: ‘Arriving in Washington DC with my family. A very special moment! #MAGA #Inauguration2017’
For his first stop in DC on Thursday, Trump headed over to his eponymous hotel for a luncheon being held for GOP lawmakers in the nation’s capital.
Once there, Melania surprised many in the crowd by taking the stage and making a few remarks.
‘Would you like to say a couple of words?’ Trump said from the podium of the event, inviting his wife on stage.
‘It’s great to be here and thank you all for your support,’ Melania said to the crowd.
‘And tomorrow we start the work. Ahead [there is] a lot of responsibility, a lot to take care of, and we will Make America great again.’
There was thunderous applause from those in attendance when she finished her remarks.
Trump then kissed his wife and escorted her off the stage.
It will be a big day for Trump on Friday, with things kicking off with breakfast and a church service after he spends the night at Blair House, which is considered the president’s guest house.
Then, Trump and wife Melania will meet outgoing President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House.
Following tradition, Trump and Obama will ride together down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.
He will be sworn in at noon by Chief Justice Roberts, with his vice presidential pick Mike Pence being sworn in by Clarence Thomas.
After that, Trump will deliver his inaugural address, which it has been said he wrote himself and will last for 20 minutes.
As many as 900,000 people are expected to turn out for the event, and after the ceremony, the Obamas will leave the Capitol to begin their post-White House lives.
The Obamas are heading to Palm Springs while Vice President Biden and his wife will be taking an Amtrak back home to Delaware.
Trump and Pence will then attend a lunch and around 3pm their families will lead a parade up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House before preparing for the evening’s balls.
Meanwhile, leaders of an ad hoc group of protesters enraged by Republican Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States vowed on Wednesday to disrupt his inauguration this week by blocking public access to the event.
The DisruptJ20 protest group said it will send groups of demonstrators to the dozen entrances to the grassy National Mall where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather to watch Trump, who has never before held public office, be sworn in as president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday.
‘We believe that it’s our role and the role of any people with conscience to try to disrupt this inauguration and have a massive showing of resistance on that day,’ Samantha Miller, a DisruptJ20 organizer, said at a news conference.
The president-elect was seen in his motorcade departing Trump Tower on Thursday morning as he headed down to his new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Minutes later he arrived at LaGuardia Airport where he got on his first government flight, having flown on his personal airplane for the final time last night now that he is commander in chief.
No longer a private citizen, Trump was flanked by two ambulances, a huge convoy of SUVs and motorbikes when he departed Trump Tower on Thursday.
That fleet then pulled right on to the tarmac and up to the plane when they arrived at LaGuardia, with Trump and his family members climbing up the stairs and boarding their flight.
Trump then at one point taxied right past his signature Trump plane, which was kept on the tarmac at LaGuardia.
His departure out of LaGuardia caused major delays at the airport, and planes could be seen backed up throughout the runway on Friday while Trump took right off after arriving in his motorcade.
Trump is aboard a United States Air Force Boeing C-32A.
The plane landed at Joint Base Andrews just after noon on Thursday.
Shortly before he left Trump Tower, his daughter Tiffany and her boyfriend Ross Mechanic were seen walking through the lobby of the building, though it is unclear if they are joining him on the trip down.
Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were also seen leaving their Park Avenue apartment, with Ivanka looking fetching in a green dress and jacket.
Lara Trump posted a photo of herself and husband Eric with Donald Just before he departed, taken in his office at Trump Tower.
‘Last shot together in this office…bittersweet. #MAGA,’ wrote Lara.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a simialr photo of his father with his granddaughter Kai, writing: ‘Kai visiting grandpa @realdonaldtrump one last time at the office he has used for as long as I can remember before he makes his voyage to Washington DC to the Oval Office.’
SOURCE: Mail Online