Donald Trump Inaugural Reprises Campaign Slogan in Attempt to Unify Country
Trump is bringing "Make America Great Again" to the inauguration.
— -- Donald Trump is reprising the slogan of his historic presidential campaign as the official theme of a five-day inaugural celebration in the nation's capital next month, ABC News has learned.
The Trump inaugural committee is set to announce “Make America Great Again!” -- a rallying cry for his supporters that some critics saw as divisive during the campaign -- will be a central component of messaging around the event, which it says aims to unite the country.
"The theme is very simple," Trump inaugural chairman Tom Barrack told ABC News. “The idea is to have a cross cut of harmony of America and normal Americans that reflects on them, not on the power and prestige of this man."
The slogan followed Trump long before the official announcement of his candidacy, when he tweeted the words the day after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election. The phrase is now most notably emblazoned on the signature red trucker hats that adorn the Trump faithful across the nation.
But it also was framed by Hillary Clinton during the general election as loaded language that, she argued, evoked a U.S. past where the nation was less diverse and more divided.
"That was Hillary Clinton's attempt during the election. Obviously, it didn't work," said Boris Epshteyn, the communications director for the inaugural committee. "Americans do want to make this country great again, they do see serious issues with this country and they do believe, like I do, that Donald Trump is the person to fix those issues."
Barrack, the inaugural committee chairman, told ABC News that Trump will be attending two official inaugural balls on the evening of Jan. 20, as well as an additional “Salute to Our Armed Forces Ball” celebrating the nation's armed forces and first responders.
"The balls are kind of a confusing quagmire because the states themselves have their own celebratory events," Barrack said. "We'll have basically three balls. Two in the [Washington] Convention Center, one called the Commander in Chief ball, which is a traditional military ball. And then we'll have a series of private dinners."
It's a stark contrast from recent inaugurations. President Obama attended 10 inaugural balls and former President George W. Bush attended eight inaugural balls to celebrate their first inaugurations.
"This is a workman-like inaugural. This is not a coronation," Epshteyn said. "And you've seen some inaugurals in the past that maybe did seem like a coronation. Again, it's every president's choice. This president wants to get to work."
And the next first lady, Melania Trump, will also play a prominent role.
“She’s a full part in the victory celebration for the president-elect and she's an essential part of not only his marriage, but as his wife and his platform,” Barrack said. “So she will be visible and prominent and very dominant in things she is going to take responsibility for. And I'm going to let that be a surprise.”
Both Barrack and Epshteyn also denied recent reports that the inaugural committee was struggling to find A-list talent for performances during the day’s festivities.
"No struggle, whatsoever," Epshteyn said. "We have world-class talent, world-class entertainers reaching out to us offering their help, offering their services so no struggle, whatsoever."
The week of inauguration will be filled with an array of traditional events, including balls, dinners, luncheons and opportunities for supporters to meet the Trump team and Cabinet nominees.
"He knows how to throw a party," Barrack said.
Epshteyn said announcements about entertainment and additional information will be released in the coming weeks.