Donald Trump promised to make America ‘greater than ever before’ as he addressed the crowd and paid tribute to his supporters during his pre-inaugural concert at Lincoln Memorial Thursday evening.
Thousands of fans lined the Washington Mall and listened to the soon-to-be commander in chief, who called himself ‘just a messenger’ for a movement they helped propel.
He thanked his wife Melania who flashed him a big smile, staying warm against the chilly air in an Alexander McQueen coat.
The festivities kicked off earlier on Thursday with a speech from Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, and was followed by performances from Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down and YouTube sensation The Piano Guys, who opened with their rendition of One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. Keith warmed the crowd by singing his country hit ‘Made In America’ and later performed his patriotic tune ‘Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue’.
Also present for the big concert were Trump’s four oldest children and three oldest grandchildren. His son Barron did not attend.
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Guests of honor: President-elect Trump and his wife Melania arrive at a pre-Inaugural Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration
The president-elect stepped onstage at the end of the evening, before the fireworks that concluded Thursday’s festivities
Trump thanked the performers of the Lincoln Memorial show and promised to make America ‘greater than ever before’
‘I promise you, I will work so hard,’ the president-elect told the crowd in his pre-inaugural speech at the end of the concert
Trump’s wife Melania, his two daughters and his two oldest sons watched from the side as the mogul addressed the public
The Trump family took a moment to stand in front of Abraham Lincoln’s mammoth statue after Trump’s address
Fist pump! Trump raised a victorious fist, surrounded by some of his children and grandchildren at the conclusion of the night
Fireworks exploded over the Lincoln Memorial after the commander-in-chief-to-be’s speech, who had his family by his side
The family posed for a solemn shot at the top of the Lincoln Memorial steps as the pre-inauguration festivities came to an end
The mogul is pictured greeting 3 Doors Down after they performed at the pre-inaugural celebration Thursday in the evening
Busy body: The concert capped off a long day of events for Trump, who on Friday will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States
Crowd control: Donald and his wife walked out to a crowd of thousands who gathered at the Washington Mall for the concert
YouTube sensation The Piano Guys performed for Trump, playing their version of One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’
Toby Keith sang his country hit ‘Made In America’ as well as his patriotic anthem ‘Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue’
Hundreds of supporters lined up outside the Lincoln Memorial Thursday. They are pictured standing for the national anthem
Trump smiled surrounded by his son Eric, his wife Melania and his daughter Ivanka during Thursday night’s soiree
The president-elect and Melania were later spotted heading to Union Station, where Trump was expected to speak
Last stop: The group then headed over to the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration concert, which featured performances from 3 Doors Down and Toby Keith (Trumps arrive at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration concert)
Bringing the kids: Donald Jr. took daughter Kai and son Donald III to the concert while Ivanka and Jared took their daughter Arabella
DONALD TRUMP’S PRE-INAUGURAL SPEECH
‘Thank you very much.
‘Thank you very much everybody and thank you Tom
‘I’d like to congratulate our incredible entertainers tonight. Toby and Lee Greenwood and all of the great talent it was really very special
‘I also have to thank our incredible military talent right here, stand up please, you guys were great.
‘So this journey began 18 months ago I had something to do with it but you had much more to do with it than I did. I’m the messenger, I’m just the messenger.’
A fan screamed: ‘We love you’, to which Trump replied: ‘I love you , believe me I love you.
‘We all got tired of seeing what was happening and we wanted change but we wanted real change and I am so looking forward to tomorrow.
‘We’re going to see something that is going to be so amazing, so many people have poured into Washington DC. This started out tonight being a small little concert – then we had the idea maybe we’ll do it in front of the Lincoln memorial and the people came by the thousands and thousands and here we are tonight.
‘It’s a movement that began, that started, it’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world – they say there’s never been a movement like this and it’s something very, very special and we’re going to unify our country.
‘And our phrase, you all know it, half of you are wearing the hat, make America great again.
‘But we’re going to make America great for all of our people, everybody throughout our country. That includes the inner cities, that includes everybody and we’re going to do a special job and I can only tell you that 18 months ago, we never knew, some people didn’t know, some had a feeling but a lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance but we understood what was happening.
‘That last month of the campaign when I traveled around to every place you can imagine, state after state, speech after speech, and we had 10,000, 20,0000, 30,000 people.
‘There was never an empty seat just like tonight, we didn’t know if anybody would come tonight. We all knew that last month of the campaign, a lot of us knew the first week of the campaign, but that last month of the campaign, we knew that something special was happening.
‘I can only tell you this – the polls starting going up, up, up, but they didn’t want to give us credit because they forgot about a lot of us.
‘On the campaign I called it the forgotten men and the forgotten women. Well, you’re not forgotten anymore.
‘I want to thank my great family, my incredible wife Melania, they’ve been so supportive and it wasn’t easy for them. They have been so supportive
‘I want to thank you most importantly. I promise you, I will work so hard. We’re going to get it turned around, we’re going to bring our jobs back, we’re not going to let other countries take our jobs anymore.
‘We’re going to build up our great military, we’re going to build it up, we’re going to strengthen our borders, 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. So I’ll see you tomorrow and I don’t care frankly if it’s going to be beautiful or if it’s going to rain like crazy. It makes no difference to me. I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful, though.
‘I will see you tomorrow and I’m going to be cheering you on. You’ll be cheering me on but I’ll be cheering you on. What we have done is so special. I love you folks and we’re going to work together and we are going to make America great again. And I’ll add, greater than ever before.
‘Thank you very much and enjoy the fireworks!’
The president-elect later paid another tribute to his supporters on Twitter, writing: ‘Thank you for joining us at the Lincoln Memorial tonight- a very special evening! Together, we are going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
Chairman of the presidential inaugural committee Tom Barrack took to the stage after Keith and addressed the crowd, asking the public to unite behind the new president.
Trump stepped on stage at the end of the evening, before fireworks concluded the night, telling his supporters he would make America ‘greater than ever before’.
The president-elect thanked the night’s supporters, before renewing some of his campaign promises regarding employment, the US military and the country’s borders.
Trump and his family then took a few moments to stop and stand in front of Abraham Lincoln’s statue. The president-elect later paid another tribute to his supporters on Twitter, writing: ‘Thank you for joining us at the Lincoln Memorial tonight- a very special evening! Together, we are going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
Kellyanne Conway later spoke to reporters, saying that Trump might take his first executive decisions by Monday.
She confirmed that the president-elect was done with his inauguration speech, which she called beautiful and eloquent.
The family was seen stepping out of the dinner and heading towards Union Station.
Chairman of the presidential inaugural committee Tom Barrack took to the stage after Keith and addressed the crowd
Trump and Melania listened to the performers withTiffany and her Democrat boyfriend Ross Mechanic sitting behind them
Lee Greenwood sang ‘God Bless The USA’ and said on Twitter it was an honor to perform on the steps of the memorial
Kellyanne Conway said outside of the pre-inaugural dinner that Trump could make his first executive decisions by Monday
Greeting the crowd: Donald waves to the crowd as he arrives at Joint Base Andrews on Thursday afternoon (Donald and Melania Thursday at noon above)
Proud hubby: Melania received thunderous applause after her remarks at a GOP luncheon and got a kiss from Trump (Donald and Melania above at a GOP luncheon on Thursday afternoon)
No show: Trump’s son Barron did not attend the ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Thursday afternoon
Crowd: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended with their oldest daughter Arabella; Donald Trump Jr and wife Vanessa attended with son Donald III and daughter Kai; Eric Trump attended with wife Lara; and Tiffany Trump
Big moment: Trump had the honor of laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns to remember the nation’s fallen soldiers (Donald laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns)
Watching on: People watch video monitor showing President-elect Donald Trump laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery from Lincoln Memorial (above)
MELANIA’S FASHION PICKS: MCQUEEN AND GUCCI
The first-lady-to-be ended weeks of speculation when she revealed which designers she had picked for her first inauguration outfit.
Melania Trump was bundled up in an Alexander McQueen coat, which she paired with Gucci sunglasses for her arrival on Thursday afternoon.
She took the sunglasses off during the evening’s concert but kept her coat closed, keeping the public guessing as to the rest of her outfit.
Ralph Lauren had been mentioned as a frontrunner for the future first lady’s outfit. Melania had already favored him for her Election Night outfit, a white silk jumpsuit purchased at the designer’s Madison Avenue store.
Melania favored two European brands – British Alexander McQueen and Italian Gucci – for her outfit Thursday.
Tiffany Trump meanwhile chose a coat from her sister Ivanka’s clothing line for the first part of the day. Ivanka Trump picked a purse, sunglasses and shoes from her own brand.
Melania kept everyone guessing when she showed up in a simple Alexander McQueen coat Thursday, not revealing the rest of her outfit
The first-lady-to-be sported Gucci sunglasses earlier in the day. She favored two European brands, one British and one Italian, Thursday
Dancers dressed as robot performed as Trump watched during the pre-inaugural celebration on Thursday evening
A woman attended Thursday’s show wearing Stars And Strips sunglasses and was seen placing her hand over her heart
Hundreds of attendees gathered next to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to enjoy the pre-inaugural soiree
Outfit of the night: A man wore a T-shirt showing Trump towering above the White House with the caption ‘Daddy’s home!’
The inauguration will begin Friday at the Capitol, where Trump will take the oath of office and end at the White House
Earlier on Thursday, the Trumps hit the ground running in Washington DC, busying themselves with an array of events and appearances ahead of Donald’s swearing in on Friday afternoon.
The family arrived in nation’s capitol shortly after noon on Thursday, before making their way to the family’s eponymous hotel in the district.
Then, after a brief appearance at a luncheon, it was off to Arlington National Cemetery, where Trump had the honor of laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns to remember the nation’s fallen soldiers.
He was joined for that monumental event by his wife Melania most of his family.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended with their oldest daughter Arabella; Donald Trump Jr and wife Vanessa attended with son Donald III and daughter Kai; Eric Trump attended with wife Lara; and Tiffany Trump attended with her boyfriend Ross Mechanic, who did not stand with the family during the ceremony.
Trump’s son Barron did not attend the ceremony.
Trump shared a photo shortly after the ceremony on Instagram, writing: ‘Truly an honor. Thank you to all of our men & women for their service.’
Upon landing in DC on Thursday, the president-elect’s family exited the plane first after landing at Joint Base Andrews, with Donald’s son Barron hesitantly leading the way.
Donald’s 10-year-old son was then followed by Donald Jr. and his wife Vanessa with their five children. Eric Trump exited next with his wife Lara.
The Donald’s two oldest sons are only down for the weekend before they head back to New York City and get to work running the Trump organization whole their father is in office.
Then came America’s new political power couple Ivanka and Jared Kushner, along with their three children.
The family touched down in what will now be their new home as Kushner gets to work as a senior adviser to Trump in the White House.
Just a few hours prior, Ivanka addressed rumors that she would be taking Melania’s place as first lady once her father took office in an interview on Good Morning America.
‘Well, I think its an inappropriate observation. There’s one first lady and she’ll do remarkable things,’ said Ivanka, referring to her father’s wife Melania.
She later told Deborah Roberts in the interview, which will air in full on 20/20 Thursday night, that she also found the comments ‘sexist,’ saying that they seemed to suggest that two women could not have a powerful role in her father’s White House administration.
Ivanka also revealed during the interview that she is still close to former first daughter Chelsea Clinton despite her father’s victory over Hillary in the election, and said that she will likely go to her for advice once she settles down in Washington DC next week.
On the move: Donald Trump Jr. prepares to head out to Arlington National Cemetery with his daughter Kai and son Donald III (Donald Jr. and children heading to Arlington National Cemetery above)
Waving to his fans: Trump waves from inside his vehicle as he heads off to Arlington National Cemetery
Joining the group: Tiffany Trump and Ross Mechanic depart the Trump Hotel and head to their car to be taken to the cemetery
Party with party members: For his first stop in DC on Thursday, Trump headed over to his eponymous hotel for a luncheon being held for GOP lawmakers (Trump above at the GOP luncheon)
She speaks: Once there, Melania surprised many in the crowd by taking the stage and making a few remarks
Helping hand: trump then escorted his wife off the stage after making a few remarks himself on Thursday
Looking out in the crowd: Donald and Melania were a big shot with the group of GOP lawmakers on Thursday
Trump and Melania will be driven by a US Secret Service-trained chauffeur inside a maximum-security vehicle
Tiffany was the last child to leave, exiting solo and without boyfriend Ross Mechanic, who had de-boarded at the rear of the aircraft. She was followed by some of Donald’s siblings.
Then, after a pause, Donald and Melania exited the plane, with Donald waving to those at the base before descending the stairs with his wife.
Donald posted an Instagram photo of himself exiting the plane almost immediately after landing, writing: ‘Just landed with Melania & my family. Thank you for all of your support. I love you – and WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!’
Donald Jr. posted a similar photo of his family getting off the plane on his Instagram account, writing: ‘And we are in DC. Pretty surreal experience so far.’
And Ivanka posted a photo of her family as well, writing: ‘Arriving in Washington DC with my family. A very special moment! #MAGA #Inauguration2017’
Hail to the chief: Trump exited the flight after his family on Thursday, 24 hours before he will be sworn in as president (Trump landing in DC)
New first lady: Melania emerged from the plane before her husband and then waited for him to join her
Here he comes: Melania exited the plane first and then waited for her husband to join her before they descended to their waiting car
Salute: Two members of the Air Force salute next to Donald Trump and wife Melania (above) after they exit the plane
New roles: President-elect Trump and his wife Melania are greeted upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday
And he’s off: Trump and his family then headed to his Washington DC hotel where they will spend the night
For his first stop in DC on Thursday, Trump headed over to his eponymous hotel for a luncheon being held for GOP lawmakers in the nation’s capital.
Once there, Melania surprised many in the crowd by taking the stage and making a few remarks.
‘Would you like to say a couple of words?’ Trump said from the podium of the event, inviting his wife on stage.
‘It’s great to be here and thank you all for your support,’ Melania said to the crowd.
‘And tomorrow we start the work. Ahead [there is] a lot of responsibility, a lot to take care of, and we will Make America great again.’
There was thunderous applause from those in attendance when she finished her remarks.
Trump then kissed his wife and escorted her off the stage.
Fashionable crowd: Ivanka posted a photo of her family, writing: ‘Arriving in Washington DC with my family. A very special moment! #MAGA #Inauguration2017’
Welcome to DC: Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner exit the plane on Thursday with their three children (above)
New home: Ivanka carried son Theodore down the stairs from the plane and then paused before entering one of the waiting cars
Heading out: Barron appeared a bit uncertain at first as he made his way off the plane ahead of everyone on Thursday
Leading the way: Barron Trump (above) was the first to depart from the plane, followed by his niece Kai, Donald Jr’s oldest daughter
Sons: Donald Jr. exited the plane with his wife Vanessa and their five children, followed by Eric and his wife Lara (above)
Donald posted an Instagram photo of himself exiting the plane almost immediately after landing, writing: ‘Just landed with Melania & my family. Thank you for all of your support. I love you – and WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!’
Making an entrance: Ross Mechanic (left) and Tiffany Trump (right) depart their vehicles after arriving at the hotel on Thursday (Tiffany and Mechanic arriving at Trump Hotel)
Toys: A woman who appears to be a nanny for some of Trump grandchildren carries toy sets of the Air Force planes on which the family had just flown
Sister, sister: Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry arrives ahead of the inauguration with Trump aboard a U.S. Air Force jet
It will be a big day for Trump on Friday, with things kicking off with breakfast and a church service after he spends the night at Blair House, which is considered the president’s guest house.
Then, Trump and wife Melania will meet outgoing President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House.
Following tradition, Trump and Obama will ride together down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.
He will be sworn in at noon by Chief Justice Roberts, with his vice presidential pick Mike Pence being sworn in by Clarence Thomas.
After that, Trump will deliver his inaugural address, which it has been said he wrote himself and will last for 20 minutes.
As many as 900,000 people are expected to turn out for the event, and after the ceremony, the Obamas will leave the Capitol to begin their post-White House lives.
The Obamas are heading to Palm Springs while Vice President Biden and his wife will be taking an Amtrak back home to Delaware.
Trump and Pence will then attend a lunch and around 3pm their families will lead a parade up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House before preparing for the evening’s balls.
Meanwhile, leaders of an ad hoc group of protesters enraged by Republican Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States vowed on Wednesday to disrupt his inauguration this week by blocking public access to the event.
Practice makes perfect: Singer Jackie Evancho rehearses singing the National Anthem on the West Front of the US Capitol on Thursday
Speaking out: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rehearses an inauguration speech on the West Front of the US Capitol on Thursday
Pitch perfect: The Northern Middle School Honors Choir perform during the 58th Presidential Inauguration Welcome Celebration
Dance, dance: Workers unroll the carpet displaying the Presidential Seal at the National Building Museum where the Commander in Chief’s Ball will take place on Friday
Donald Jr. posted a similar photo of his family getting off the plane on his Instagram account, writing: ‘And we are in DC. Pretty surreal experience so far’
Power couple: Ivanka and her husband Jared were seen leaving their Park Avenue apartment on Thursday on their way to Washington DC
Joining the president-elect: Shortly before he left Trump Tower, his daughter Tiffany and her boyfriend Ross Mechanic were seen walking through the lobby of the building (above)
Last shot: Lara Trump posted a photo of herself and husband Eric with Donald Just before he departed, taken in his office at Trump Tower
Making memories: Donald Trump Jr. posted a similar photo of his father with his granddaughter Kai
The DisruptJ20 protest group said it will send groups of demonstrators to the dozen entrances to the grassy National Mall where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather to watch Trump, who has never before held public office, be sworn in as president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday.
‘We believe that it’s our role and the role of any people with conscience to try to disrupt this inauguration and have a massive showing of resistance on that day,’ Samantha Miller, a DisruptJ20 organizer, said at a news conference.
The president-elect was seen in his motorcade departing Trump Tower on Thursday morning as he headed down to his new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Minutes later he arrived at LaGuardia Airport where he got on his first government flight, having flown on his personal airplane for the final time last night now that he is commander in chief.
No longer a private citizen, Trump was flanked by two ambulances, a huge convoy of SUVs and motorbikes when he departed Trump Tower on Thursday.
That fleet then pulled right on to the tarmac and up to the plane when they arrived at LaGuardia, with Trump and his family members climbing up the stairs and boarding their flight.
Trump then at one point taxied right past his signature Trump plane, which was kept on the tarmac at LaGuardia.
His departure out of LaGuardia caused major delays at the airport, and planes could be seen backed up throughout the runway on Friday while Trump took right off after arriving in his motorcade.
Trump is aboard a United States Air Force Boeing C-32A.
The plane landed at Joint Base Andrews just after noon on Thursday.
On the move: Donald Trump’s motorcade pulls away from Trump Tower in New York City just before 11am on Thursday (above)
Familiar sight: Trump at one point taxied right past his signature Trump plane, which was kept on the tarmac at LaGuardia
Backed up: Trump’s departure out of LaGuardia caused major delays at the airport as other fligths waited for him to take off
First flight: Trump is aboard a United States Air Force Boeing C-32A that will land at Joint Base Andrews
Friendly skies: Trump will have a busy afternoon once he lands with two events right off the bat
Shortly before he left Trump Tower, his daughter Tiffany and her boyfriend Ross Mechanic were seen walking through the lobby of the building, though it is unclear if they are joining him on the trip down.
Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were also seen leaving their Park Avenue apartment, with Ivanka looking fetching in a green dress and jacket.
Lara Trump posted a photo of herself and husband Eric with Donald Just before he departed, taken in his office at Trump Tower.
‘Last shot together in this office…bittersweet. #MAGA,’ wrote Lara.
Donald Jr. posted a similar photo of his father with his granddaughter Kai, writing: ‘Kai visiting grandpa @realdonaldtrump one last time at the office he has used for as long as I can remember before he makes his voyage to Washington DC to the Oval Office.’