Donald Trump began Jan. 20 like he begins many days: with a tweet. “It all begins today!” he exclaimed, literally, as about half of Americans who voted in the November presidential election readied for their next leader and the other half cringed. All the fanfare that would follow was not enough to keep the rain away from Washington, D.C., where masses of attendees would gather on the National Mall to watch Trump ascend to the presidency.
Outdoor preparations at the Capitol were in full force as the sun rose. The media began assembling into place. Trump and the next First Lady, his wife Melania, had a packed schedule. There was an early church service; there was a visit to the White House, where the new couple in town exchanged a gift with their outgoing counterparts; and within hours there was another former President, Barack Obama. (Of note, Trump’s inauguration crowd appeared to be notably smaller than his predecessor’s eight years ago.) After taking the oath of office, as his earlier Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton listened nearby, Trump gave a “rancorous first speech.” (Here’s an annotated version.)
During the afternoon there was the Inaugural Luncheon at Statuary Hall at the Capitol, where he was toasted, as well as the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Some protests around the city turned violent: a limousine was burned, various storefronts had their windows smashed, some demonstrators clashed with law enforcement officers. By the end of the day, as the inaugural balls raged on, golden curtains hung in the Oval Office, where he signed his first executive order as the 45th President.
Below, TIME’s photo editors select the best photographs from a day many will remember, and perhaps just as many will want to forget. — Andrew Katz
This post was published on Jan. 20