The inauguration of Donald Trump as president on Friday was greeted in the Seattle area with low-key, joyful gatherings by supporters and outpourings of grief, student walkouts and other protests.
Donald Trump’s inauguration as president was marked in the Seattle area with joyful gatherings by supporters and outpourings of grief, fear and defiance by opponents.
For local Trump supporters, Friday was a day to celebrate the new president’s call for a renewed patriotism and relentless focus on American jobs.
Jeff Stagg, 47, of Federal Way, was among those cheering Trump at a small celebration at a Renton pub. “It’s a blessing to America,” he said. “Now there is a president who’s going to support America, keeping jobs, creating jobs.”
Womxn’s March on Seattle
More than 30,000 people are expect to attend the Womxn’s March on Seattle, held in solidarity with a similar march in Washington, D.C.
The Seattle event starts at 10 a.m. Saturday with a rally at Judkins Park and Playfield, 2150 S. Norman St., in the Central District.
At 11 a.m., participants embark on a 3.6-mile march to Seattle Center downtown.
The event will end about 4 p.m.
But for many in Seattle, Friday’s inauguration was a dark moment — a sharp contrast with the local party atmosphere eight years ago when Barack Obama was inaugurated for his first term.
In Seattle’s Central District, hundreds of people gathered near Judkins Park, for an immigrants rally and peaceful march through downtown organized by the social-justice group El Comité.
Jorge Quiroga, an organizer, was concerned for so-called DREAMers, who took advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing work permits for undocumented immigrants who came here as children.
“We are very concerned what this administration will do to our youth,” Quiroga said. “That’s why we came out to say, don’t worry, we will be with you. We are not going to allow them to do raids on our youth.”
It was just one of many anti-Trump demonstrations throughout the day, with more scheduled for the weekend, including the Womxn’s March on Seattle that is expected to draw 30,000 or more.
Protests and fighting also erupted Friday night at a talk at the University of Washington by Milo Yiannopoulos, the provocative far-right Breitbart News editor whose controversial tweets resulted in him being banned for life by Twitter. Shortly into his talk, which began just after 8 p.m., someone was shot outside the hall. No details were available.
Earlier, hundreds of students at more than a dozen schools in the Seattle area staged walkouts.
At Shorecrest High in Shoreline, students walked to a North Seattle intersection at around noon, where they joined students from Shorewood and Ingraham high schools.
Many had taken part in a walkout shortly after the election, but felt they needed to voice their opposition again, said Shorecrest senior Ray Mitchell, 17.
“We feel like we can’t have the protest be a one-and-done thing,” he said. “We have to continue to put up resistance to what is happening.”
Students who walked out of classes will receive unexcused absences, but principals may decide to let them make up work, district officials have said.
At about the same time, 18 people gathered at a Trump party being held at the Berliner Pub in Renton, applauding as they watched Fox News coverage of the new president and first lady.
Maria Orth, 52, of SeaTac, who runs an adult family home, organized the gathering online. “Nobody else had the nerve to do this,” she said, adding that the Seattle area isn’t exactly welcoming to conservatives.
Stagg, who works in retail sales, said he voted for Obama in 2008. “I believed in hope and change,” he said. “That was just promises.”
In 2016, he voted for Trump. Like other supporters, he said he’d taken unfair abuse for his views in the Seattle area.
“I lost so-called friends. I was called racist, hater, fascist and non-Christian. One co-worker was telling others I hate Mexicans. I love Jesus. I love people,” he said.
Seattle political leaders lent their official stamp of approval to protests and resistance to Trump’s expected crackdowns on illegal immigration and refugees from Muslim countries.
Mayor Ed Murray addressed “children in our schools who are frightened, our employees who don’t know if they’re going to be able to keep their jobs, and the threat that our neighbors will be taken away.”
“Don’t be afraid,” Murray said, touting Seattle as a sanctuary city.
The city hosted a legal clinic at Seattle Center to help immigrants know their rights.
Tony Hernandez, a DREAMer who was brought to the country by his parents at age 2, was among those who showed up. He said he’s chewed his fingernails down worrying about what could happen to him in the Trump administration.
“Everything I have good going for me now could be done away with the stroke of a pen,” he said.
Meanwhile, state Republican leaders, many of them in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration events and parties, celebrated the Trump presidency.
By Friday afternoon, Fredi Simpson, a Republican National Committee member from Wenatchee, was losing her voice from cheering.
“It was electrifying. It was incredible,” Simpson said of the new president’s “America First” speech. “What he did was bring a pride and a patriotism. People in the audience were crying because they were so proud.”
Simpson, who is Hispanic, said she was surrounded at the inauguration by people from every ethnicity, age and class. She appreciated Trump’s comment that when people open their hearts to patriotism, “There is no room for prejudice.”
Meanwhile, a morning inauguration-watching event at Seattle’s Town Hall drew sparse attendance.
Most sat silently — some with tears in their eyes — as Trump was sworn in and delivered a populist and anti-Washington, D.C., inaugural address in which he painted a bleak picture of “American carnage,” promised to restore U.S. manufacturing jobs and to eradicate Islamic terrorism.
Martin Lang, 27, brought a flask of whiskey to watch. “God help us all,” he said.
Marilyn Jaffee, 65, called Trump’s 16-minute address a “horrible” speech. “I could not find one inspiring sentence.”
By contrast, Art Varela, of Edmonds, clapped loudly for Trump at the event.
Varela, who works in the seafood industry, said he got chills watching and hearing the new president.
“I’m excited, very excited … History is being made,” he said. “It’s uneasy for many and I understand that. But we have to be positive … I’m proud he’s our president.”