WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/AP) — Nearly 1 million people are expected to converge on Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday, and a good portion of them arrived a day early.
Trump addressed supporters at the end of a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial late Thursday afternoon.
He said he was elected to the White House because people wanted “real change.”
“There’s never been a movement like this,” Trump said. “It’s something very special.”
Trump said he was confident he would be able to unite the country behind him.
“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,” Trump said. “And I look so forward to tomorrow. We’re going to see something that is going to be so amazing. So many people are pouring into Washington, D.C.”
Singer Sam Moore kicked off the patriotic rally with “America the Beautiful.”
Actor Jon Voight offered a message of unity.
“We will be part of history — all of us,” he said.
Trump spoke further as he ended the day at a VIP reception and candlelight dinner at Union Station. He was already thinking about his reelection, touting the previously Democratic counties he was able to flip in November’s election.
But he told his campaign donors, “The next time we’re going to win the old-fashioned way” because of how he and his cabinet will have performed.
Trump also talked up his Cabinet at the event.
“We have a Cabinet that’s never been appointed. There’s never been a Cabinet like this,” he said. “The other side is going absolutely crazy.”
He also joked that he won’t mind if it ends up raining Friday, “because people will realize it’s my real hair.”
The pre-inaugural events struck a chord with many so many who came from all over.
“What happened has happened, and now I think it’s time to move on and go towards that bright future,” said Louis Samara of Morristown, New Jersey.
“To see that peaceful transition of power, and to see that transition in real life, is something that people normally watch on TV, and you hear about it on the news, but it’s not something you actually get to sit there in experience,” said Samantha Entwhistle of Tewksbury, New Jersey.
“I’m a 26-year Air Force veteran and I flew on KC 135 tankers,” said Nicole Canada, adding that she was very glad to witness history.
Thousands poured into Union Station in Washington, D.C., including many from the Tri-State Area who were set to see their first inaugural ever.
“It’s history — being American, all coming together today,” said Steven Ferro.
“We’re here now. We’re part of America. We’re Americans now,” said Rolando Chimosero.
D.C. was also an armed camp, with some 28,000 security officials over 100 square blocks and with dogs, barriers, and checkpoints. Umbrellas and selfie sticks have been banned, among other items.
On Friday, nobody will be able to get near the inauguration without a ticket. But some who do have tickets have the best seats in the house.
Molly O’Connell, 21, got tickets for the House side of the Capitol lawn. She voted for president for the first time in her life last year.
“I think it’s a really interesting time to be engaged in politics. It’s never been more exciting than it is right now, and I think because of that, I’ll stay engaged going forward,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Trump arrived in on a military plane at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews. The president-elect was joined by his wife, Melania, and other members of his family. There was no media on board.
Trump also earlier delivered remarks at a leadership luncheon with transition officials and incoming staff at his Washington hotel. Speaking to attendees, Trump spoke of his cabinet picks and their confirmation hearings. “We have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet,” the president-elect said.
Trump also convinced the reluctant soon-to-be First Lady to say a few words.
“Tomorrow, we’re starting the work ahead — a lot of responsibility, a lot to take care of — and we will make America great again,” Melania Trump said.
The president-elect also attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Trump will spend the night at the presidential guest house across the street from the White House.
On Twitter earlier Thursday morning, Trump said “the journey begins.”
“I will be working and fighting very hard to make it a great journey for the American people,” he said.
At an on-camera news conference Thursday, incoming White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump’s inauguration speech will be about “a vision of where he sees the country.”
“It’s going to be a very personal and sincere statement about his vision for the country,” he said. “I think it’s going to be less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document, the proper role of government, the role of citizens.”
Spicer also said the president-elect is committed to “enacting an agenda of real change” and said team Trump will be ready to roll up its sleeves at dozens of federal departments.
“We have 536 beachhead team members that will be reporting for duty at agencies following the inauguration bright and early Monday morning,” he said.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence also spoke at the news conference Thursday, saying that the cooperation shown by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “would make every American proud.”
Pence expressed appreciation “first and foremost” to Obama and Biden. He also said Friday’s inauguration will be a “very humbling and moving day.”
Pence said the transition is on track, and when inauguration festivities are complete, Team Trump will be ready to roll up its sleeves at dozens of federal departments.
“We are all ready to go to work,” Pence said.
CBS News has learned Trump will visit CIA headquarters on Saturday.
Trump will live in the White House but is expected to spend time at both Trump Tower in Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago, his coastal Florida estate.
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