Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in the centre of Washington D.C. to celebrate a man whose short 19-month political career has defied all predictions, and many norms.
In the cool Washington dawn, his most ardent supporters ignored intermittent light rain and began to make their way by metro, car and on foot to take part in history.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Thomas Mendenhall, 68, a retired banker from Missouri. “We just want change.”
When Mr Trump descended the escalators of his glitzy New York tower in June 2015, his run for office and his supporters were dismissed and widely mocked. But shortly before midday local time, Mr Trump will place his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s bible, recite the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol and become the most powerful man on earth.
In the primaries, Mr Trump dominated a crowded Republican presidential field with smash-mouth rhetoric and star power. He rode that same wave of anti-elite sentiment to victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election.
At 70 years of age, he is the oldest man ever to begin work in the Oval Office. But the real estate mogul and one-time television reality star is also a political neophyte — he will be the first president never to have held elected office, served in the government or the armed forces.
For Mr Trump’s supporters, that is a central part of his appeal. “He’s somebody that’s not a politician,” said 59-year-old Sandra Jackson-Carter, a salon owner from Bakersville, California.
“He’s going to unite the country and make America great again,” she said. “This is history. There’s nothing better.”
For his critics, Mr Trump’s arrival in Washington on Thursday was more like a hostile takeover than a traditional changing of the guard.
Protests have popped up across the city center, with shouts of “not my president” and “No Trump, No KKK, no fascist USA”. Some tried to prevent supporters of Mr Trump from passing, but police intervened.
According to our sources, a much larger rally is planned for Saturday.
Stay tuned to ASN for continuing coverage.