Not one to be camera shy, Donald Trump’s first speech as president of the United States of America clocked in at about 16 minutes with 1433 words – the shortest speech since POTUS No. 39 Jimmy Carter.
Where does that put him in inaugural speech history?
Trump was the first to use words like “carnage,” “tombstones” and “wind-swept,” according to the Washington Post.
Words Donald Trump said for the first time in any U.S. inaugural address pic.twitter.com/35FAQMgktj
— Post Graphics (@PostGraphics) January 20, 2017
He was also (we’re imagining) the first to borrow a line from a Batman villain.
Both the president and the comic book character used the line, “We give it back to you… the people.”
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 20, 2017
Trump’s inaugural address was an attempt at promoting unity saying Americans “all bleed the same red blood of patriots.” Alluding to dark times, Trump promised to put “America first” and “Make America great again.”
Here’s a look at first-term inaugural addresses in recent history: what they said, how they inspired and how many words they used to do it.
No. 44 Barack Obama
Obama’s first inaugural address in 2009 contained 2395 words. He highlighted the war, the economy and heath care.
“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation:The God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.” –Obama, 2009
No. 43 George W. Bush
“The second Bush” used 1592 words to highlight America’s friends and enemies, poverty and community.
“I ask you to be citizens: Citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.” –G.W. Bush, 2001
No. 42 Bill Clinton
Clinton, the saxophone-playing president spoke 1598 words while discussing renewal, democracy, the fall of Communism and global commerce.
“Today we do more than celebrate America. We rededicate ourselves to the very idea of America, an idea born in revolution and renewed through two centuries of challenge; an idea tempered by the knowledge that, but for fate, we, the fortunate, and the unfortunate might have been each other; an idea ennobled by the faith that our Nation can summon from its myriad diversity the deepest measure of unity; an idea infused with the conviction that America’s long, heroic journey must go forever upward.” –Clinton, 1993
No. 41 George Herbert Walker Bush
Bush “the original” also spoke about democracy, mending divides in the government and the country’s deficit using 2320 words.
“My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it.” –G.H.W. Bush, 1989
No. 40 Ronald Reagan
With 2427 words, Reagan talked about eliminating roadblocks to a flourishing economy and progress in government, taxes and individual liberty.
“So, as we begin, let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.” –Reagan, 1981
No. 39 Jimmy Carter
Carter called upon America’s “new spirit,” seeking peace with other nations and greater opportunity and equality at home.
“The world itself is now dominated by a new spirit. Peoples more numerous and more politically aware are craving, and now demanding, their place in the sun–not just for the benefit of their own physical condition, but for basic human rights.
“The passion for freedom is on the rise. Tapping this new spirit, there can be no nobler nor more ambitious task for America to undertake on this day of a new beginning than to help shape a just and peaceful world that is truly humane.” –Carter, 1977
Follow Kimberly M. Aquilina on Twitter@KimESTAqui.