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.
Among them were a retired autoworker in Michigan who was awe-struck by the inauguration and an immigrant in Phoenix worried about the future. Others avoided watching the ceremony altogether, underscoring America’s deep political divide.
Gary Krohn watched the proceedings on TV at a Fraternal Order of Eagles chapter in Adrian, Michigan.
“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.
“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.”
Retiree J.P. Marzullo celebrated the inauguration by buying a cigar in Hooksett, New Hampshire, where he watched the ceremony.
“I’m excited to see what the future brings for all of us, and I think he’s the person who will get us there,” the 73-year-old said of Trump.
Marzullo, who volunteers for homeless veterans, said he wished Trump had spoken about veterans but was otherwise impressed by his speech.
“The thing I drew most from this was that he talked about us, the people,” said Marzullo, a former vice chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party who had a marketing and sales career in health care. “I hope he can do even half of what he said he will do.”
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 said she is “terrified” that rights for women, immigrants, gays and the disabled will erode.
“I don’t know what it says about America as a whole that someone who doesn’t respect so many different groups of people can be president,” she said. “You have to hope he’ll do the right thing, but evidence at the moment doesn’t look like it.”
Matthew Gehrs, a 41-year-old sheet metal worker from St. Louis said it was “surreal” to be in Washington for the inauguration.
“I want to see America have jobs come back to it,” said Gehrs, who said he spends hours each week watching politics on TV.
He appreciated Trump’s statement that he would be a president for all Americans but fears that a combative atmosphere in Washington will stifle action.
Gehrs added, “I just really hope to see a rebirth.”
‘I’M HOPEFUL HE’LL BE ABLE TO DO IT’
Branden Nong recalls his 7-year-old son asking him on Election Day why he voted for Trump. Nong’s wife supported Hillary Clinton.
Nong, who was born in Iowa and whose family emigrated from Vietnam, explained to his son that Trump would do good things for the economy.
Watching Trump’s speech from his home in the Des Moines, Iowa, suburb of Waukee, the 34-year-old loan officer said he enjoyed the remarks because they echoed Trump’s campaign messages.
“At the end of the day, the message that people were receiving was the system is broken, our politicians aren’t doing their job and that we need to take things back and have the people make more decisions and have more power,” Nong said.
Nong said he hopes Trump will deliver.
“He seems to be good at negotiating, and he seems to be good at bringing people together, or at least to the table,” he said.
‘MY COMMUNITY IS SCARED’
Claudia Faudoa watched nervously as Trump was sworn in.
The 44-year-old immigrant from Mexico has been living in the United States without legal status for 23 years. She is an organizer with the immigration advocacy group Promise Arizona.
Watching at the group’s office in a Phoenix church, she teared up as she spoke about her concerns about 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 have citizen children. That program is 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.
‘RUN THIS COUNTRY LIKE A BUSINESS’
Fernando Peguero, a semi-retired businessman and lifelong Republican, left the Dominican Republic for the United States at age 20 to flee the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. He says he’s realized the American dream, and hopes others will too, under Trump.
The 75-year-old Army veteran became a citizen in 1965. He watched the inauguration from a golf club in the Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek.
Trujillo supported Sen. Ted Cruz during the primary and then Trump after he won the nomination and promised to “drain the swamp.”
“It’s a different ballgame,” Peguero said. “Mr. Trump is going to run this country like a business.”
‘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, a 50-year-old school counselor in Broadway, Virginia, said he respects Trump’s business background and likes his promise to bring jobs. On Friday, he roamed the National Mall with a broad smile on his face, wearing a red Trump hat and a leather jacket with American-flag sleeves. He chatted with anti-Trump protesters and praised them for exercising their right to free speech.
Padilla said he also expects Trump to push for 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.”
‘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.
‘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 Trump supporters at Pete’s Greek Town Cafe in Denver.
“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,” she 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.”
Householder reported from Adrian, Michigan; and Ramer reported from Hooksett, New Hampshire. Associated Press journalists Jim Anderson in Denver; Janie Har in Oakland, California; Manuel Valdes in Seattle; Astrid Galvan in Phoenix; Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami; Barbara Rodriguez in Des Moines, Iowa; Alex Sanz in Johns Creek, Georgia; Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City; Jonthan Drew in Garner, North Carolina; Ivan Moreno in Brookfield, Wisconsin; and Alanna Durkin Richer, Ben Nuckols, Brian Witte and Alan Suderman in Washington, D.C.; contributed to this report.