The spectators had, earlier, trickled in along the route. Their numbers are steadily building, but the “unbelievable” crowds don’t appear to have shown up.
The tight security may have delayed some of the arrivals, as many faced long lines to get through the checkpoints. A source told CBS News that some of the VIPs didn’t make it because the Congressional luncheon ran late and the Secret Service and D.C. Metro police barricaded five times as many streets as in the past, which prevented some people on Capitol Hill from making it to the route and getting to their seats.
The atmosphere became more lively as the motorcade neared Pennsylvania Avenue. Crowds cheered “Trump! Trump! Trump!” as a black car drove very slowly toward the White House.
Employees at Trump International Hotel, which is down the block from Trump’s new home, got in on the action.
But “boos” from the protesters sometimes punctured the celebratory shouts.
President Trump and First Lady Melania exited the motorcade right near the Department of Justice building. They took a very short walk, pausing right before Trump’s hotel. The Trumps waved at the crowd, and got right back into the car.
Some “boos” also came from Trump supporters, who jeered the media as the reporting crews passed behind the president.
A few blocks from the parade route, anti-Trump protesters gathered en masse. Protesters set a parked limo on fire, and police moved in with pepper spray and tried to disperse the crowds.
The Trumps exited “The Beast” — the nickname of the presidential state car — once again before reaching the White House and exiting out on to the reviewing stand.
From there, the president and his family got to watch the rest of the parade roll in, which included plenty of hometown bands and some tractors. Trump wanted tanks and missiles too, but the military denied that request.
The VIP reviewing stand was pretty packed, though there were a few empty seats — because the parade ran overtime, some people reportedly cut out early to get ready for the Inaugural balls.
The reviews of the people were mixed. President Trump called Inauguration Day “unbelievable.” His supporters remain as enthusiastic as ever. But at least one Trump supporter, in a Make America Great Again hat, told the Washington Post, “Worst parade ever. I waited three hours for that?”