On Friday, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States, taking the oath of office in front of thousands of politicians, dignitaries and members of the public, including several Southwest Washington residents.
Nicki Wann, of Vancouver, will be in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Kevin, watching as Trump puts his hand on a Bible and promises to uphold the Constitution.
“We are going to witness history,” Wann said, adding the United States hasn’t seen an outsider elected to the office of president since Ronald Reagan.
Although Reagan was a professional actor, he also served as governor of California before being elected to the nation’s highest office.
Wann, who is in real estate, said she hopes Trump carefully considers the words of the oath he takes.
“I hope that when Trump takes that oath, he really will take it to heart and make the country great again and do what he can to fix the problems we have,” she said.
In his inaugural speech, she’ll be listening for talk of strengthening the military and protecting the nation’s veterans.
“He’s already kept a lot of jobs here and he’s not even in office yet, so I think he’ll be true to what he said in his campaign,” she said.
Ron Gladden, of Vancouver, will also be in the audience. He’s hoping to hear Trump send a message of unity.
“I hope our country can come together,” said Gladden, who leads a nonprofit which helps people start churches.
“I hope he paints a picture of a country again where everyone longs to come here — and if they come here legally, we’ll welcome them with open arms,” Gladden said.
Local political strategist Kathy McDonald believed Trump would make it to the White House from the beginning of his campaign. And now that it’s coming true, she will be there to witness it. McDonald cited her close relationship with Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, as one reason she was confident the former real-estate tycoon and reality TV star was a viable candidate.
She also likes that Trump is an outsider.
“I care that people are honest, and I really believe him when he says he’s going to do something. I don’t think he’s as tainted as many politicians, and he’s not beholden to anyone,” she said. “He wrote his own checks. There’s no obligation for him to give people a job, which is very novel. It’s very different. I don’t know if it’s ever happened, at least not in my lifetime.”
McDonald said she played a crucial role in helping former Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, land his position as Trump’s Washington state campaign chairman. Benton is now expected to have a role in the new administration.
“He does have a relationship with Trump,” McDonald said of Benton. “And he is probably going to end up at the White House in the administration.”
Democratic Sen. Annette Cleveland, of Vancouver, had plans to attend the inauguration with her daughter, who studies international affairs and political science at George Washington in D.C. She envisioned standing next to her daughter as the first female president was sworn into office. Her tickets were bought and the hotel reserved.
Now, she might still head to the East Coast for the weekend but rather than participating in the inauguration festivities, she plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, will also be in attendance at the inauguration, as will the state’s Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.