Fictional Presidents’ Inauguration Speeches

Posted by Lauren Thoman

[Movie still from Independence Day, 20th Century Fox]

We have seen fictional presidents do everything from single-handedly defeating terrorists to saving the world from aliens, but rarely do we get to witness the one act they all must have performed at some point — their inauguration speech.


[TV still from The West Wing, Warner Bros. Television and NBC]

President Josiah Bartlet, The West Wing

Much like the man himself, Bartlet’s inaugural speech was intelligent, inspiring, and idealistic, while still being mostly moderate at the platform level. Bartlet spoke enthusiastically about his hopes for America, “a land that was built on dreams of freedom and prosperity for all,” and the deep honor he felt in being able to work with “some of the brightest minds our country has to offer.” He also spoke lovingly of his wife, Abigail, “a brilliant woman that I am not certain I deserve, but that our great nation most assuredly does,” and his three daughters.


[TV still from Battlestar Galactica, NBC Universal Television and UMS]

President Laura Roslin, Battlestar Galactica

In an alternate universe where Laura Roslin was sworn in as the President of the United States and not the Twelve Colonies, she used her inauguration speech to talk at length about the weight of the office, the importance of education, and the resilience of the human race. Roslin also took a strong stand on defense against threats both domestic and interstellar, with an emphasis on the latter. Security screenings to attend Roslin’s inauguration were intense, and hundreds were turned away for “possible Cylon association,” which made for a charged atmosphere during her remarks.


[Movie still from Air Force One, Columbia Pictures and Beacon Pictures]

President James Marshall, Air Force One

Coming off of the tragic, but ultimately unsuccessful hijacking of Air Force One, which resulted in the assassinations of a significant number of his senior staff, along with the execution of dictator General Radek, James Marshall’s re-election campaign rested almost entirely on his rigid anti-terrorism platform. His second inaugural speech notably glossed over the missteps that allowed Russian terrorists to take control of his plane in the first place, and instead focused on the teamwork that allowed him to take back the aircraft. Marshall praised by name the brave men and women who lost their lives on that fateful day, along with the Postmaster General (formerly an administrative aide) whose quick thinking ensured the safe evacuation of over two dozen people. Going forward, Marshall promised an even more stringent approach to terrorism, placing heavy emphasis on his own military background and assuring the American people of his commitment to securing our democracy against any and all terrorist threats.


[Movie still from The American President, Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures]

President Andrew Shepherd, The American President

After a tough re-election campaign that focused heavily on both the environment and tougher gun control laws, Andrew Shepherd’s second inaugural speech promised a sweeping reduction in fossil fuel consumption and a renewed enthusiasm for reducing crime, starting with a new, ambitious gun control bill. Accompanying Shepherd to his speech was environmental activist Sydney Ellen Wade, who the media has been referring to cheekily as the “First Girlfriend.” Shepherd addressed this in his speech, requesting that the media retire their unofficial title for Ms. Wade, and taking the opportunity to announce their engagement. White House sources confirm that senior staffers are currently debating a better form of address for Ms. Wade than “First Fiancée,” but no formal announcement as to what to call Ms. Wade has yet been made. 


[Movie still from Independence Day, 20th Century Fox]

President Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day

Following the War of 1996, Thomas Whitmore’s re-election campaign proved to be the most successful in history, with Whitmore nearly sweeping the Electoral College and entering his second term with an unprecedented 94% approval rating. Whitmore’s second inaugural speech called back to many of the more celebrated moments of his historic July 4th speech, most notably his nod to the famous poem by Dylan Thomas, as he urged the American public to “rage against those invaders who would try to snuff out our freedoms, our lives, and the very light from the sky.” He went on to announce his intent to establish the Earth Space Defense initiative, which Whitmore promised would use the reclaimed alien technology to ensure that humanity would “never again become prey to an invading extraterrestrial force, but would instead be the one species among the stars that all others look to and admire for our resilience, our bravery, and our hope.” 

Lauren Thoman

Lauren Thoman

Lauren is a writer of YA speculative fiction and a dedicated eater of queso. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, two daughters, and a half-blind dog. When she’s not busy with her family, binge-watching TV shows, or writing books about dragons or superheroes, she can probably be found on Twitter, or in close proximity to coffee, tacos, or a bookstore.