As expected, at a certain point during the inaugural parade, Donald Trump and extended family got out of their armed limo and walked down the route a for a while. Trump, the consummate showman that he is, waved to the crowd and gave his signature thumbs up gesture. Melania Trump, the new first lady, walked by the president’s side, looking radiant. Trump thus showed himself to the people and the reaction was ecstatic – for the most part. The Secret Service detail flanked the first family, looking grim faced. The presidential protection service really would have preferred that the first family, especially the president, had kept bullet proof armor between them and the crowd, some of which jeered at them.

The tradition started with Jimmy Carter during the 1977 inaugural. At one point, he as his wife Rosalynn Carter, got out of their limo and showed themselves to the crowd as they started to walk. The gesture, meant to seem spontaneous, made the crowd lining the streets go wild. Carter did it in order to burnish his common man touch. The Secret Service, just over a dozen years after Lee Harvey Oswald put a bullet through the head of President John F. Kennedy while he rode through Dallas in an open car, had fits.

While Carter was trying to show the people that he did not have royal pretensions, Trump was demonstrated self-confidence, even in the face of protestors who fervently wished that he was back at the Trump Tower brooding and that they were watching Hillary and Bill Clinton pretending to be the loving couple.

But every Trump was walking in full view of the crowd. Their supporters drowned out the chanting of the protestors with their cheering and chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

The gesture was a slightly dangerous but necessary one for a man who had campaigned as the billionaire people’s president. Trump had told the crowd during his inaugural address to not be afraid, even as he painted a dark picture of the current state of affairs.

So it behooved him to make an example, which he did in a grand style.

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