HARTFORD, CT—Not everyone could make it to Washington D.C. Friday to see the 45th president of the United States take the oath of office.
About 20 Connecticut Republicans who didn’t go to the inauguration gathered in Hartford at Connecticut Republican headquarters on Pratt Street to watch the event on a TV in the conference room.
“Our moment has arrived,” Nicholas Stone, finance director for the Connecticut Republican Party, said as Trump took the oath of office.
Trump’s speech only last about 16 minutes, but William Hosley of Windsor said “short is good.”
Hosley described the speech as surprising in parts, but said it played well to those who voted for him.
“He’s giving control of politics back to the people,” Hosley said. “It’s a refreshing message.”
Mary Ann Turner, Enfield Republican Party Chairwoman, said what she heard from Trump Friday was no different than what she had heard from him on the campaign trail.
“He’s not looking at it as political gamesmanship,” Turner said.
She also liked that she doesn’t need anyone to translate his clear and concise message.
“I don’t need talking head to know what I just heard,” Turner said.
Hosley also pointed out that it’s impossible for Trump not to exceed expectations. By all accounts, many had discounted his campaign, which wasn’t even embraced by the Republican Party establishment until after the convention in July.
Republican Party Chairman JR Romano and at least 90 other Connecticut Republicans were in D.C. for the inauguration and the festivities. Connecticut’s congressional delegation also handed out more than 1,000 tickets to Connecticut residents.
Trump didn’t win Connecticut, but he was able to find pockets of support in the Naugatuck Valley where manufacturing jobs have disappeared, much like it has in Rust Belt states.
Protests are scheduled later in the day in Hartford. Protesters planned to march from Hartford City Hall to the Abe Ribicoff Federal Court Building on Main Street.
Meanwhile, Connecticut Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto, said that they wish Trump well, “but we remain deeply concerned by the rhetoric and policy proposals he and his cabinet picks have espoused.”
The speech, according to many, was expected to offer a unifying vision for America.
“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people,” Trump said.
Trump went onto talk about some more divisive themes.
“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,” Trump said. “Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”
Tim Mouring of Virginia, who attended the inauguration, said he came Friday “cerebrate the movement behind him which I think of the rise of nationalism in America and the fall of globalism.”
“The main thing is to keep our country safe. I think he’s going to bring stability and security to the Middle East,” Mouring said. “Bringing work back will help make America more vibrant like it was in the 1950’s.”
Trump also angered some with his view of America.
“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
Some on the mall Friday appreciated Trump’s message about the inner cities.
“I like what he’s doing with the inner cities,” Maureen Morgan of Indiana said. “He knows he doesn’t have all the answers, so he’s bringing in people who have experience there.”
Many also disagree with the dark vision of America that Trump paints.
Even Trump supporters who watch the inauguration Friday felt it was”a little aggressive.”
Keith Moon of Chicago said “He needs to get out of campaign mode.”
Some Connecticut Democrats like former state Comptroller Bill Curry, felt is was “ignorant, arrogant, divisive and graceless.”
Later tonight Curry and WNPR’s Colin McEnroe are hosting an uninaugural ball at Real Art Ways in Hartford. The sold out event has been described as the “biggest political wake ever.” It’s going to be a safe place to “cry into your beer,” about Trump being elected president.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and all of Connecticut’s congressional delegation attended the inauguration even though about 60 elected officials decided to boycott it.
Malloy, who initially thought about skipping the event, decided to attend “as a signal that we are not going away.”
Kristi Allen contributed to this report from Washington D.C.