Man on the Street: Reactions From D.C. Leading Up to the Inauguration

Theresa Hill, of Serasota, Florida sells Trump memorobilia on the Capitol Mall the day before Inauguration Day. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

By Charles Borsos
BU News Service

Washington — “You got the ‘Made in China,’ I can’t have that,” said Bill Johnson of Chicago, Ill., holding a red “Make America Great Again” hat that a vendor was selling on the National Mall. There with his wife to see their first inauguration, he said he wrote his senator to get tickets. Johnson said he donated to the Trump campaign and received one of the red hats that was made in the U.S. The couple walked away with a new Trump winter beanie instead, also made in China.

The Johnsons were just a few of the people in the crowd wandering around the National Mall the day before the inauguration.

Jim King and his family flew in from Huntsville, Alabama. January 20 will be the first inauguration any of them have seen, and King said that it was important for his kids to witness the “biggest news story in the world.” King voted for Trump and said “he’s a breath of fresh air” as a non-politician in the White House. His wife Casey King also said that she voted for Trump, although their young daughter said she voted for Gary Johnson at school.

Theresa Hill of Sarasota, Florida, came up for her first inauguration too. She said she was “coming to do everything.” She said that she voted for Trump because she believed he would restore law and order, create jobs and “he’s going to take care of the problem with illegal immigration.” Hill also said she believed that Trump was the “only man with the guts to stand up against ISIS.”

When asked about Trump’s controversial statements on sex and gender and the Billy Bush tapes, Hill said that it was “just locker room talk,” she said. “Words are different than actions. He never acted on anything.” 

While many people walking around the day before the inauguration were there to support the new administration, not everyone standing below the U.S. Capitol building were celebrating.

Barbara O’Hamlon, a public relations consultant visiting from Los Angeles, California, said she felt sad and was “holding back from being completely cynical” about the inauguration.

Her sister simply said she felt bereft. Linda O’Hamlon, a health economist who lives in the D.C.-area, said she had been to several inaugurations. She said that even with George Bush, “I was happy to be here,”  but that with Trump, it was a different story. Neither women planned on attending the inauguration itself, but both planned to march in the Women’s March on Saturday. 

Despite her concerns, Linda O’Hamlon said it was still an impressive show.

“We really do a good one here,” she said of the city and the inauguration.

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