US & Canada

Trump inauguration: President-elect pledges unity at concert

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Media captionMelania speaks, at Trump's insistence

Donald Trump has pledged to unify America as he addressed cheering supporters at a concert on the eve of his presidential inauguration.

Speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, the president-elect also promised to bring change.

Among attendees at the two-hour event were his family, actor Jon Voight and Soul Man singer Sam Moore.

Mr Trump earlier laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Thursday evening's Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration was open to the public and featured performances by country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood.

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Media captionMr Trump's supporters who will be going to the inauguration

"We're going to unify our country," Mr Trump said in brief remarks at the end of the concert.

"We're going to make America great for all of our people. Everybody, everybody, throughout all of our country. That includes the inner cities."

His supporters have been streaming into Washington DC, and he reminded them that many had doubted the campaign's chances of success.

"They forgot about a lot of us," he said. "On the campaign, I called it the forgotten man and the forgotten woman. Well, you're not forgotten anymore."

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Pledging to bring back jobs, build up the military and strengthen the border, he added: "We're going to do things that haven't been done for our country for many, many decades.

"It's going to change, I promise you. It's going to change."

The president-elect's first stop on Thursday was at his Trump International hotel, located just blocks from the White House.

He appeared with his wife Melania at a luncheon for members of his incoming administration.

The soon-to-be first lady briefly spoke, telling the crowd: "Tomorrow we're starting the work."

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Media captionTrump's inauguration: An insider's tour

Mr Trump told the crowd in the presidential ballroom: "We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what, one thing we've learned, we have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled."

He hinted that Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets NFL team, would be US ambassador to Britain.

After the welcome concert, Mr Trump spent the night at Blair House, the presidential guest residence located just steps from the White House.

He is due to be sworn in at noon (17:00 GMT) on Friday.

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Media captionJon Voight: "This is some day"

Despite Mr Trump's appeal for unity, billionaire investor George Soros launched a stinging attack on him.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Soros labelled the president-elect "an imposter, a conman and a would-be dictator".

Mr Trump has nominated all 21 members of his cabinet as well as six other roles that require Senate confirmation, according to his team.

The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote on Friday to confirm General James Mattis, the defence secretary nominee, and retired General John Kelly, the pick for Homeland Security.

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Image caption Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery

Mr Trump has asked about 50 senior Obama administration officials to stay on until they are replaced, spokesman Sean Spicer told a news conference.

They include Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the US-led coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State, as well as Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work.

Down the road at the White House, President Barack Obama spent his last day in office with the daily briefing and lunch with Vice-President Joe Biden.

Mr Obama also spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his final conversation with a foreign leader as president, according to the White House.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs Merkel's husband, Joachim Sauer, also joined the call.


Farewell Obama

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Media captionBarack Obama supporters on how they think he succeeded, and where he could have done more

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