With Hopes and Fears, a Divided America Watches Inauguration
ADRIAN, Mich. — In living rooms, cafes and offices, people across America watched Donald Trump become the nation’s 45th president on Friday, with many eagerly anticipating the historic transition and others deeply fearing it.
Among them was a retired autoworker in Michigan who was awe-struck by the inauguration, another retiree from Kentucky who planned to counter protest in support of Trump and a Mexican immigrant in Phoenix worried about the future. Others avoided watching the ceremony altogether, underscoring America’s deep political divide.
Here’s what they had to say:
‘WHAT A MOMENT’
Gary Krohn watched the proceedings at a Fraternal Order of Eagles chapter in Adrian, Michigan, an iced tea in front of him.
“This is history in the making right here,” the 69-year-old General Motors retiree said as he watched dignitaries walking through the Capitol building with President Barack Obama on a TV affixed to a wall.
“These pictures are priceless,” Krohn said.
Krohn said Trump wants to make “this country great again, not for himself, but for all Americans.”
When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts shook Trump’s hand following the oath, Krohn slowly shook his head and said: “What a moment.”
About a dozen people joined Krohn at the Eagles hall to watch, most of them sitting at the bar. Krohn and a fellow Trump supporter clapped enthusiastically during the ceremony.
Krohn, who was named for film star Gary Cooper and worked for GM for 30 years, said he is counting on Trump to fulfill his pledge to bring more jobs to America.
‘REFORM, YES, LET’S DO IT’
Luis Padilla immigrated to the United States from Honduras 20 years ago. But the economy, not immigration, was his main reason for supporting Trump. Padilla, who is 50, said he respects Trump’s business background.
“When he talks about (how) he’s going to bring jobs, as a worker I like that because people need jobs,” said Padilla, who graduated from college and lives and works as a school counselor in Broadway, Virginia.
On Friday, he roamed the National Mall with a broad smile on his face, wearing a red “Trump 2016” hat and a leather jacket with American-flag sleeves. He politely chatted with anti-Trump protesters and praised them for exercising their right to free speech.
Padilla said he also expects Trump to push for comprehensive immigration reform that benefits hard-working, law-abiding people.
“Reform, yes, let’s do it,” he said. “People who’ve been here for years, with no criminal background, they should be able to have something.”
‘MY COMMUNITY IS SCARED’
Claudia Faudoa watched nervously as Trump was sworn in, fidgeting and occasionally commenting on her worries.
Faudoa, a 44-year-old immigrant from Mexico who has been living in the United States without legal status for 23 years, is an organizer with the immigration advocacy group Promise Arizona. She watched the inauguration at the group’s office in a Phoenix church.
She teared up as she spoke about her concerns over Trump’s immigration positions, including a promise to dismantle the Obama administration program that provides protection to young people who lack legal status. As the mother of three U.S.-born children, Faudoa said she also worries about a similar program that would have benefited parents like her who lack legal status but have citizen children. That program has been on hold while it is challenged in court.
“My community is scared. We don’t know what’s going to happen. So we’re going to defend and resist here,” she said.
‘A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE IGNORED AND HURT’
In an Oakland, California, living room, 42-year-old Melissa Crisp-Cooper watched Trump speak about bringing power back to the people and assuring them they will never be ignored again.
“I think a lot of people will be ignored and hurt,” said Crisp-Cooper, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. She describes herself as an idealistic Bernie Sanders fan and talked back at the television frequently during Trump’s 16-minute speech.
Crisp-Cooper does not feel like she’s a part of Trump’s America. She said she is “terrified” the country will slide back on progress it has made in rights for women, immigrants, gays and the disabled.
‘I FEEL GOOD ABOUT AMERICA AGAIN’
Roy Nichols said Trump’s victory has given him a new optimism about the country’s future.
“I feel good about America again,” Nichols said outside Union Station in Washington, D.C. The 64-year-old retiree from Paducah, Kentucky, traveled to Washington to be a counter protester supporting Trump and planned to be at Saturday’s women’s march as well.
He said his son had completed multiple military deployments to the Middle East, and he particularly admired Trump’s hard-line stance against the Islamic State group.
“At least give him a chance,” Nichols said.
‘LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING PROUD TO BE AMERICAN AGAIN’
Trump wasn’t Sue Moore’s first or even second choice as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.
But during Trump’s inauguration, the 57-year-old GOP activist chanted “We will make America great again!” She was surrounded by about 100 other people inside Pete’s Greek Town Cafe in Denver who also enthusiastically chanted during Trump’s inaugural address.
“He killed it. He knocked it out of the park,” Moore said as others shouted and exchanged high-fives.
For Moore, a residential landlord, Trump’s presidency marks a collective coming-out party of sorts: “We are not ashamed for being exceptional anymore,” Moore said. “I’m looking forward to being proud to be American again. It’s OK to be successful and to be proud of it. I’m tired of America having to apologize around the world.”
Moore is a self-described “Ron Paul acolyte” who’s socially liberal but fiscally conservative. She hopes that Trump can ease the nation’s divisions by generating jobs and a stronger economy.
“Hopefully he’ll create jobs, and everyone will jump on board,” she said.
‘IT’S REALLY HAPPENING’
Elisa Catrina Chavez skipped watching the inauguration and instead attended a concert and sing-along in Seattle. The concert was dubbed a “bed-in” after John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s protest of the Vietnam War.
The 28-year-old artist who was born and raised in Texas described feeling ill on election night. While attending the concert, Trump’s swearing-in lingered in her mind.
“I felt a little ill again thinking, it’s really happening,” she said.
Chavez is chiefly worried about the Affordable Care Act being repealed. For now, she’s pinning her hopes on state politics, where she wants Democrats to retake the state Senate.
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