Donald J. Trump became the 45th president of the United States on Friday, and local political leaders expressed reactions ranging from optimism to concern.
Paulette Donley, chair of the Highland County Republican Party, said Trump’s inauguration speech contained few surprises.
“I think it was a traditional Trump speech in that he was speaking directly to his base, his supporters, the people in the middle, families that are hurting,” said Donley. “It was a good speech for them. It was a little critical of the way things are in Washington, but ‘drain the swamp’ was a promise that he kept repeating” during his campaign.
Donley said members of middle income families who supported Trump “feel good that they have someone who is listening,” and they were reassured that “nothing had changed from when they decided to support him.”
Drew Hastings, the Republican Hillsboro mayor who has supported Trump from the beginning of the billionaire’s candidacy, said Trump “rose to the occasion.”
“He confounded his detractors,” said Hastings. “He put together a really good message. I’m very optimistic.”
Kay Ayres, the longtime local GOP party activist and former party chair, said Trump’s remarks were “pretty strong.”
“Maybe just a tad too strong,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s Trump. It didn’t surprise me. He reiterated what he said for the last year.”
Ayres said she would have liked for Trump to acknowledge that Congress has an important role to play.
“I would have liked to hear him say, ‘I can’t do this by myself,’” said Ayres.
Dinah Phillips, the chair of the Highland County Democratic Party, said Friday afternoon that she was working during Trump’s speech and had not yet heard his remarks. She said that while she would have preferred a different candidate, she hopes Trump will unite the country.
“I hope he can bring the country together,” she said. “Jobs especially are one of the top things on my list. I don’t like seeing jobs go overseas.”
She said Trump’s strong message on jobs helped him win Ohio, especially traditionally Democratic territories in northern Ohio. But Phillips said Trump needs “an attitude adjustment.”
“I hope he doesn’t get the country in trouble,” she said. She said she would advise the new president, “Temper your language. Stop tweeting.”
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at [email protected]