WASHINGTON — President Trump's inaugural address on Friday appeared to do little to heal partisan divisions as Democrats decried it as an overly negative campaign-style speech while Republicans hailed it as the start of a new era of putting America first.
"That was a dark inauguration speech," tweeted Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.
Trump said his inauguration marks a break from government controlled and plundered by Washington elites and a return of power to "the people."
House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Trump missed an opportunity to unite the country.
That was a dark inauguration speech. #Inauguration— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 20, 2017
"President Trump had an opportunity today to unite this country in his inaugural remarks," Hoyer said. "He chose not to do that, instead repeating the divisive rhetoric of his campaign and painting a dark picture of an America in decline — something very far from the truth, which demeans the hard work and sacrifices of the millions of Americans who have rebuilt our economy since the recession."
To govern effectively, Hoyer said, "the president will have to set aside such divisive rhetoric."
"He must extend a hand to the plurality of Americans who did not choose him to be our next leader," Hoyer said.
In contrast, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said after Trump spoke that the country now stands "united as a republic built upon the power of the people."
"American voters have entrusted immense authority to our new president, and we look to the future with confidence that President Trump will lead America to greatness again," McCarthy said.
Presidential historian Craig Shirley, who has written three books on the presidency of Ronald Reagan, called Trump's speech an open attack on Washington.
"It was a declaration of war against Washington and the status quo as surely as the colonies made against the British Empire," Shirley said. "This war will be fought with ideas and passion however. There were few memorable phrases but the battle has been enjoined ... It was a direct indictment of (outgoing President) Obama and the status quo."
Bill Kristol, a conservative commentator who led the "Never Trump" movement within the Republican Party, called Trump's speech "vulgar."
"I'll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here," he tweeted. "It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim 'America First.' "
Kristol also disagreed with comparisons that some Trump supporters were making between the new president's speech and Reagan's first inaugural address.
I just re-read Reagan's first inaugural. People who are claiming Trump's has much important in common with it should re-read it. It doesn't.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 20, 2017