A small group gathered in Warwick at the state Republican Party's headquarters to watch Friday's inauguration ceremony for President Donald Trump.
The mood was upbeat as about 10 people watched Trump take the oath of office, becoming the 45th President of the United States. For these supporters, sporting Trump T-shirts and “Make America Great Again” hats, the number one issue is jobs and the economy.
And Trump's address seemed to hit all the right notes.
“From this speech, he lets us know that there’s hope to have every citizen be able to work again, and make sure that there are jobs for our people instead of people suffering and being on welfare, or not having any jobs for years and years,” said Irene LaFaille, a Cranston resident and lifelong Democrat before she voted for Trump.
Most people at the gathering said Trump's speech signified the end of what they see as an unfair bias against the working class by Washington power-brokers. Many expressed the belief that Trump would create a “level playing field” for American workers and turn the national focus inward.
“The U.S. isn’t going to dominate the world, we’re going to lead,” said George Amaral, a Warwick resident. “Every country has a right to their own well-being. We’re not going to dominate anybody, but we’ll be one to follow as an example.”
Students Gather At Statehouse To Protest Inauguration
Hundreds of high school students converged on the steps of the statehouse Friday to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The students held banners and megaphones as the inaugural ceremonies played out in Washington.
The protest was organized by the Providence Student Union, a nonprofit student advocacy organization. Students from around the state walked out of their classes to participate.
One of those students, 18 year-old Doug Sockbeson, attends the Greene Charter School in West Greenwich. He said he's concerned that Trump will undo the work of his predecessor.
"Progress like gay rights, and Obamacare," said Sockbeson,"and all these other things that were put in place by Obama that could be destroyed and threatened with the inauguration and election of Donald Trump."
Providence Public Schools officials did not endorse the walkout and said students missing class would receive an unexcused absence. The district estimated that more than 1,000 students left city high schools to participate.
RI Republicans Head To Inauguration
Dozens of Rhode Island Republicans are in Washington D.C. to watch Donald Trump take the oath of office. Rhode Islanders at the ceremony will include State Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell and Trump’s Rhode Island Campaign Chair Joe Trillo.
Bell told RIPR that the atmosphere was electric around the capital, and although he had seen some protestors, they were peaceful.
"They're at intersections, there's just a huge law enforcement presence," Bell said on Friday morning. "And basically I think it's been fairly orderly. I hope that's the case today, I hope everyone's safety, including the protestors, are in check today. And everyone gets through a peaceful day."
Bell said he attended an event for the Republican National Committee hosted by Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Trump's inaugural ball on Thursday evening.
State Senator Thomas Paolino of Lincoln is also expected to be at the inauguration. So is Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, and a group of volunteers for the Trump campaign.
On the Democratic side, all four of Rhode Island's elected representatives will be in Washington, though Governor Raimondo has elected not attend.