Larry B. Moore, the chairman of the Umatilla County Republican Party, called the inaugural speech “vintage Trump.”
He felt the newly elected leader took his usual blunt approach in his first presidential address, which certainly appealed to his “dyed in the wool supporters” but didn’t mend divisions.
“It’s hard to feel invited to the table when you have a stick in your eye,” Moore said.
Moore, who lives in Milton-Freewater and has been the county’s GOP chair for about four years, said his goal is to bring the entire county together. He said Democrats are the opposition — not the enemy.
While Trump wasn’t Moore’s first choice from the Republican field of candidates, he said the man is now his president and it will do the country good to accept that. Those who are unwilling to work with the new administration are just as much of the problem, he said.
He also said he was pleased with the president’s Cabinet picks and is looking forward to seeing what the Republican-led Congress and White House will do in the next four years to lead the country in a new direction.
Chuck Becktold, chapter president for the Oregon Hunters Association, said he wasn’t sure how President Trump would impact hunters moving forward. Speaking personally, Becktold said he felt people were overreacting to Trump’s rise to the Oval Office.
“I think everybody just needs to settle down and see what he does,” Becktold said. “We just have to back him, unless he turns out to be a Nixon, and then we can get rid of him.”
Jose Garcia, the Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee’s new chair, said he was inspired by the inauguration ceremony.
“I watched Trump’s speech, and I was moved,” he said. “My wife, she’s a Democrat, and she rolled her eyes, but I said ‘Look, he moved me.’”
Garcia has worked in addiction recovery programs for more than 20 years, and watches drugs and gangs destroy peoples’ lives every day. Often it makes him feel powerless, he said. If someone doesn’t have $10,000 on hand, for example, it usually takes about four months to get them into a rehabilitation facility.
“I lost my brother to addiction,” Garcia said. “He was young. Thirty-four. I was powerless. I wanted to send him to rehab and I couldn’t get him in.”
Trump’s talk of putting America first and taking care of the people in our own backyard has resonated with Garcia over the past year. The president specifically mentioned ending “the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential” in his inaugural speech, and said power was being handed back to the American people when he took the oath of office.
Garcia said he was so excited that he sent Trump a message via Twitter telling him he wanted to be his addiction advisor.
Mark Petersen of Pendleton, a member of the Democratic Party of Umatilla County, said he is trying to keep an open mind.
“No one likes to lose, whether it is in athletics or politics,” he said. “I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude. I’ll give Trump a chance and hope he succeeds. Because — regardless of your opinion of him — if he succeeds our nation succeeds.”
He said the new president could help bring the country together, but perhaps not in the way Trump imagines.
“He’s getting people involved in the political process again,” Petersen. “It’s all our country, you know.”
Writer Shaindel Beers teaches for the English Department of Blue Mountain Community College. She said she did not watch the inaugural address.
“As a survivor of various types of violence and advocate of women’s rights, Donald Trump is very triggering to me and many women. I will be making protest signs tonight and marching tomorrow [Saturday]. If Donald Trump is triggering to you, I hear you, and I believe you. You are not alone.”
Anne Emmons, president of the League of Women Voters West Umatilla, said she was trying to focus on the league’s goals of equality and education.
“We need to have respect for the office of the president,” she said. “We may not agree with the policies, but we have to work to hear all sides.”
The League is a nonpartisan group, and usually does not support one position.
This year, Emmons said the League’s national chapter would be protesting at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and that some local members planned to participate in marches in Pendleton, Portland and other local events.
“They’re marching for rights for all,” Emmons said.
Emmons said that watching the inauguration, she had some personal concerns about Trump’s presidency, but was hopeful citizens would continue to encourage diversity and support equal rights.
“I went to the MLK march on Monday,” Emmons said. “Mayor Drotzmann said that America is a melting pot. I think we’ve forgotten that.”
She said the league would continue to do outreach and help people exercise their rights.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said he found inspiration in the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
“Not having tanks in the road, things along those lines,” he said, “It’s pretty awesome to think about.”
This article was changed to correctly represent a quote by Larry B. Moore.