In Massachusetts, Small Gathering Celebrates Trump's Big Day
For many in Massachusetts, Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States was no cause for celebration.
About 60 people came to a luncheon hosted by the Wilbraham Republican Town Committee where they ate chicken Francaise, waved small American flags, cheered, and watched on a large projector screen as the brash billionaire ascended to the most powerful office in the world.
A majority of Bay Staters, it appeared, just ignored what is traditionally a moment of national unity.
Much attention focused on tomorrow, when the Boston Women’s March will take place with a who’s-who of scheduled attendees including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Smaller marches will occur throughout the region in Pittsfield, Greenfield, and Northampton.
Kevin Jourdain, president of the Holyoke City Council and an ardent Trump supporter who traveled to Washington with his wife and three children to attend the inauguration, said he’s dismayed by the reaction to the fledgling Trump presidency.
"In 2008, I was no fan of Obama but I wasn't marching in the street shouting ' Not my president' stomping my feet or wailing and crying," said Jourdain.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who announced he did not vote for Trump, attended the inauguration and a pre-inaugural ball hosted by Vice President Mike Pence. Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said it is a good thing for Baker to be in Washington as Trump takes charge.
"We need a strong partnership with the federal government and through this transition our administration will work hard with our Congressional delegation and Senators to protect the interests of our Commonwealth," said Polito.
Trump received 33 percent of the vote for president in Massachusetts last November, and a poll released by WBUR on the eve of the inauguration put the new president’s approval rating in the Bay State at just 28 percent.
" To look at it a different way, he has nowhere to go but up," said Springfield City Councilor Tim Rooke, a Democrat who endorsed Baker in the 2014 gubernatorial election. He said people should not be so pessimistic about Trump.
" You believe in the process and believe in the positives that can come from change," said Rooke.
John Lysak of Springfield, a former Republican turned independent, said a lot of people like him are looking for Trump to deliver on the central promise of his campaign: bringing back good-paying manufacturing jobs.
"Myself, I've been laid off three times in the last 8 years. The job I'm currently in I am making over $10,000 less that I did in 2008, and I am seeing a lot of people retiring later," said Lysak.
Trump did little to endear himself to people in Massachusetts with “mean spirited” attacks on Congressman John Lewis and others, said Democratic Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. But nonetheless he said the new president should be given the benefit of the doubt.
" What we are getting a lot of now, from the far left or far right are fringe groups trying to divide us and that is not the right thing," said Sarno. "We need to come together in the middle and work together for plausible compromise for the good of America."
On policy, Sarno said he looks for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on rebuilding infrastructure and investing in urban centers.