Jan 22, 7:06 PM EST

Trump, amid combative start, pledges to rise to momentAfter a combative and divisive beginning to his presidency, Trump has delivered a more unifying message and sought to reassure Americans he was ready to begin governing a divided nationTrump, amid combative start, pledges to rise to momentAfter a combative and divisive beginning to his presidency, Trump has delivered a more unifying message and sought to reassure Americans he was ready to begin governing a divided nation


AP Photo
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
858211
125911
507192
758446
921361
27262941

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a combative start to his presidency, Donald Trump delivered a more unifying message Sunday and sought to reassure Americans he was ready to begin governing a divided nation.

Trump began rolling out his plans for diplomatic outreach, speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and announcing plans for early meetings with Netanyahu and other world leaders. He thanked top law enforcement officers for their service and support. And he swore-in a group of aides, telling them he believed they were ready to rise to a daunting task.

"But with the faith in each other and the faith in God, we will get the job done," Trump said in a ceremony in the White House East Room. "We will prove worthy of this moment in history. And I think it may very well be a great moment in history."

Trump's reassurance came after a day marked by global protests against his presidency and his own complaints about media coverage of his inauguration, a combination of events that made for a contentious first full day in office on Saturday.

But even as the White House tried to forge forward, the president's aides continued to defend the president and his press secretary, both of whom tore into journalists for accurately reporting that his swearing-in ceremony drew a smaller crowd than President Barack Obama did eight years ago. On Sunday, a top adviser said the Trump administration was supplying "alternative facts."

"There's no way to really quantify crowds. We all know that. You can laugh at me all you want," Kellyanne Conway told NBC's "Meet The Press." She added: "I think it's actually symbolic of the way we're treated by the press."

Trump on Saturday declared he believed "it looked like a million and a half people."

But ridership on the Washington's Metro system didn't match that of recent inaugurations. As of 11 a.m. Friday, there were 193,000 trips taken, according to the transportation service's Twitter account. At the same hour eight years ago, there had been 513,000 trips. Four years later, there were 317,000 for Obama's second inauguration.

Conway also declared that Trump will not release his tax returns now that he's taken office, breaking a promise he made during the campaign.

As a candidate, he said he would release his returns after an IRS audit was completed. Every president since 1976 has released the information, but Conway said she does not believe Americans care whether Trump follows suit.

"He's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care," Conway said on ABC's "This Week."

Trump's advisers have set Monday up as the president's first major day of action on his sweeping campaign promises, but as of Sunday night, it appeared as though his team was still making decisions on what moves to make. Some congressional Republicans had expected Trump to sign orders over the weekend, but those never materialized.

Trump campaigned on a very specific 18-point plan for this first day in office. If he follows it, he could sign executive orders on immigration, trade and national security. Trump has pledged to scuttle trade deals such as a pending Asia-Pacific agreement and overturn Obama's executive order deferring deportations for 700,000 people who were brought into the country illegally as children.

He's due to begin formally discussing his agenda Monday at a meeting with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.

Trump's early call to Netanyahu was aimed at signaling his support for Israel and a new start in a relationship that became increasingly fraught during the Obama administration. Trump described that conversation as "very nice." White House officials said Trump "affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel's security." The leaders agree to meet at the White House in early February.

Trump announced that he's set up meetings with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Pe