Donald J. Trump, the billionaire real estate magnate and reality show star from Queens whose presidential candidacy was once derided as a joke, was sworn in Friday as the 45th president.

In a sixteen minute address — remarkably short for Trump — the incoming president replicated the themes of his candidacy, saying he would value average Americans over Washington, bring back jobs, put “America first,” and in doing so, “make America great again.”

“We are transferring power from Washington DC, and giving it back to you, the people,” Trump said. “Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth,” he said. “That all changes starting right here, and right now. Because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you.”

As part of his “America first” agenda, Trump indicated he would make other countries pay for their defense and ensure that trade benefits America, a stance some have taken to be protectionist.

“We will follow two simple rules: buy American, and hire American,” Trump said. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers, and American families.”

But while suggesting a distancing from other countries, Trump made clear he would do all he could to eradicate “Islamic terrorism,” invoking a term his predecessor notably refused to use.

But in a nod to the division that has torn the country during the past several years, and that has occurred as a result of his victory, Trump pledged to unite the country.

“A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions,” Trump said. “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

With his hand on Lincoln’s 1861 inaugural Bible and a Bible given to him by his mother when he was a child, Trump became the first commander in chief in America’s history to be sworn into office without prior military or government experience.

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He didn’t need any of it to win. With brutal efficiency, he dispensed with a cadre of seasoned politicians in the Republican primaries and then went on to conquer the vaunted Clinton political machine, eclipsing the heavily favored Hillary Clinton on Election Day.

Hundreds of thousands from all over the nation looked on from the National Mall as Trump recited the Oath of Office. As the ceremony began, chants of “USA! USA!” could be heard, and just before Trump came out of the Capitol and onto the podium, “Trump! Trump!”

Deb Bebee, 59, of Malta, Montana, trekked to DC today with her husband and daughter, departing her home four days ago and taking two connecting flights to get to Richmond, Virginia — and then driving the rest of the way to Washington.

“We’re from a town that doesn’t have a traffic stop, so we did well” getting to Washington, she said. “When he says we’re going to make America great again, we believe that, and it’s given us great hope,” she added. “We’re really excited. We really are.”

Trump enters the White House with the lowest favorability rating of any incoming president in at least four decades; just 40 percent of the public viewed Trump favorably in a poll released just days before his inauguration.

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By 11 a.m., 193,000 trips were taken on the subway, less than for George W. Bush’s second inauguration.

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But a majority of the country nevertheless remains optimistic that the billionaire businessman will carry out his promises to reduce the size of government, stimulate the economy and bolster national security – all core components of the “contract with the American voter” Trump proposed in Gettysburg, Pa., last fall.

Just as much hope has been reserved for the change to political order Trump has vowed to usher in. Trump supporters have long viewed his success as a wholesale rejection of the political elite and fully expect him to disrupt the status quo, even as his administration looks poised to include Wall Street titans and career politicians in senior roles.

“The American people are going to see a president inaugurated this Friday who is going to keep the promise he made on election night — to be president of all of the people in this country,” Vice President Mike Pence told reporters hours before he and Trump prepared to be sworn in.

The lead-up to Trump’s inauguration was marked by a series of high-profile battles between Democratic lawmakers and nominees to his Cabinet, as well as sharp criticism from Democrats of the actions he will take during his first 100 days. The president plans to move quickly on items such as a massive infrastructure spending package — an area of possible cooperation with Democrats — as well as repealing and replacing Obamacare and enacting tax reform.

Trump is expected to get to work almost immediately, issuing several executive orders on Inauguration Day. In a break with precedent, this year’s inaugural committee even cut short the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to allow Trump more time behind his desk in the Oval Office before he and First Lady Melania celebrate at the Freedom Ball and two other gatherings Friday evening.

Friday’s transfer of power brings to end the presidency of Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president. And it may also commence its undoing. Obama leaves behind a record that could largely be erased if Trump works harmoniously with Republican leaders to replace with conservative reforms the progressive policies imposed during his predecessor’s tenure.

But as both critics and defenders of America’s 45th president already know, Trump’s radical unpredictability makes the next four years as difficult to foretell as the outcome of the journey he began from the lobby of Trump Tower 19 months ago.

Al Weaver contributed to this story.

LIVE COVERAGE: Donald Trump's presidential inauguration

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