Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

With hopes and fears, a divided America watches inauguration

Julia del Rio cheers as she watches a televised broadcast of the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, during a watch party organized by Hispanas for Trump, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)
By Mike Householder Associated Press

ADRIAN, Mich. – In living rooms, cafes and offices, Americans 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 the nation’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.

‘I feel good about America again’

Roy Nichols said Trump’s victory has given him a new optimism about his 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.

‘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.

“It’s scary. We don’t really know what is coming. My community is scared. We don’t know what’s going to happen. So we’re going to defend and resist here,” she said.