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Donald Trump inauguration

Hillary Clinton stoic as man who threatened to jail her becomes US president

Trump leads standing ovation in tribute to Clinton at inaugural lunch

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 3:43am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 5:29am

If she was thinking it should have been her, she certainly didn’t show it.

Hillary Clinton stood stoic on Friday as the man she defeated by 2.9 million votes took the oath of office. She was steadfast, just as she had been in the presidential debates where the soon-to-be victor, Donald J Trump, threatened repeatedly to jail her.

She was not rattled as chants of “lock her up” emanated from the crowd below the inauguration podium, and betrayed no emotion as Trump, who defeated her with an electoral college win, declared an end to the era of politicians who were “all talk and no action”.

US President Donald Trump led a standing ovation for Clinton, saying he was “honoured” she and her husband had attended his inauguration.

“I was honoured when I heard that former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton were coming today and I would like you to stand up,” he said while addressing lawmakers, his cabinet nominees and other dignitaries at a Congressional luncheon.

“There’s nothing more I can say because I have a lot of respect for those two people,” Trump added as attendees rose and clapped.

The seating arrangements kept Clinton off camera through most of the ceremony, when the focus was instead on Trump, across the aisle, and Barack Obama, who sat one row ahead of her, to the right.

After Trump’s inaugural address, the president shook hands with his predecessors, bringing him within inches of Hillary Clinton, but the pair were separated by a large man, who blocked the two from making eye contact. They eventually interacted with a handshake at the inaugural luncheon.

Before the ceremony, cameras found Clinton backstage, taking a deep breath as she prepared to join the audience. As she waited for the ceremony to begin, Clinton spoke with former president George W Bush. The two later leaned into each other as they exited the main stage.

Clinton adhered to tradition and attended the ceremony as a former first lady. She was dressed in a white suit similar to the one she wore at the Democratic convention last summer in Philadelphia, a time when she looked to be the favourite to win the White House and make history as the first female president. It’s seen as an homage to the suffragettes, who were encouraged to wear white at marches in the early 1900s.

“I’m here today to honour our democracy & its enduring values,” Clinton tweeted just before Trump was sworn in. “I will never stop believing in our country & its future”.

Less than a month after her devastating loss, she resumed her political duties. She spoke at a portrait unveiling ceremony for the retiring Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, in December. “This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election,” she said.