U.S. President Donald Trump gestures after delivering his inaugural address during the presidential inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 20, 2017. Picture: Xinhua/Yin Bogu

Donald Trump began his presidency with a burst of anger on January 20, 2017. Many observers noted that his 16-minute inaugural address was more akin to a tirade than the more idealistic speeches delivered on past inauguration days. The disrupter had arrived in Washington.

Washington - Some of the harshest lines of Donald Trump's inauguration speech on January 20, 2017, were the ones in which he described what he said was the reality for many US citizens.

On a chilly and at times rainy day, he spoke of "rusted out factories scattered like tombstones," schools that leave young people "deprived of all knowledge" and "the crime, the gangs and the drugs," pledging: "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

Though the 45th president made a brief appeal for unity, the message he delivered that day was not about reconciliation or hope - his victory had not changed the dogged campaigner.

"We, the citizens of America are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people," he said.

His first year, however, has been more about division: blacks against whites, immigrants against citizens, rich against poor, left against right and nationalists against globalists. People have dug in deep - and farther from the middle.

While political scientists say the division in America didn't start that day, they agree the split has grown larger since the populist president took office.

A survey by Pew Research Center shows that 60 per cent of Americans believe the relationship between different ethnic groups has deteriorated, emphasizing the country's racial divide.

Trump also spoke about the establishment and his aim to return power to the people.

"For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government, while the people have borne the cost," Trump said. "January 20, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people took over again."

The reality is that never before have so many representatives of big business been so close to the president. Wall Street, critics fear, has taken power, not the people.

While he has made good on his pledge to disrupt the political establishment he might not have reckoned with a backlash from his own party.

Top Republicans have been frustrated by his policies, statements and tweets on a number of occasions. In the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim majority, many members consider Trump toxic.

The White House itself has hardly any establishment Republicans in top positions since Sean Spicer departed as spokesman and Reince Priebus was replaced as chief of staff by former general John Kelly.

The most important cabinet posts are filled by former military men and financiers.

In foreign policy, some of his biggest decisions have been made unilaterally. He pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord and upset allies in the Middle East with his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution has reached the conclusion that the first year of his presidency "has been nothing but one big self-inflicted wound."

Trump barely fulfilled any of his promises, she said. He antagonized senators belonging to his own party and broke with allies.

Trump put US allies and everyone else in the world on notice in his inauguration speech when he said "from this day forward, it's going to be only America first." He said Americans would rebuild their country with American labour and follow two rules "buy American, and hire American."

As a consequence, a free trade agreement under negotiation with Pacific Rim countries was cancelled within days of Trump taking office and the more than 20-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement is being renegotiated and could collapse.

That is Trump's way of fighting for Americans with every breath in his body, as he pledged to do on inauguration day.

But Americans may have to be patient as they wait for him to fulfil his other pledge that "America will start winning again, winning like never before."