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Tennesseans Take In The Inauguration Of President Donald Trump

Donald Trump supporters sang patriotic songs on their way into Washington D.C. on the Metro Friday morning.
Chas Sisk
Donald Trump supporters sang patriotic songs on their way into Washington D.C. on the Metro Friday morning.

This post will be updated throughout the day and captures Tennesseans in Washington and at home experiencing the inauguration of Donald Trump.

The View From Brentwood

Updated 3:00 p.m.

Administrative assistant Linda Ellis of Nashville was like a lot of people with an office job. She had President Trump's inaugural address playing on her computer as she headed to her lunch break. She said she was nodding along with President Trump’s pledge to put America first.

"I like that, taking care of America, protecting Americans, and jobs especially for Americans," she said. "But we'll see how it turns out as time goes on."

Ellis was initially turned off by Trump’s behavior during the campaign but grew to like him the more she listened. She said she believes he really wants to help the country.

For many people at a Brentwood shopping center, Trump's "America first" comments stood out. Jay Weinstein of Franklin works for a telecom company and praised President Trump’s inaugural address, saying that "Washington elites have forgotten about the voices of Middle America."

"It just felt like the new president would listen to the voices of the American people and put America first."

But "America first" concerns Chris Ellingsworth. The software developer who lives in Nashville and says his eyebrows raised with all the talk of promoting the U.S.

"I felt like it was a pretty nationalistic message and I'm a little worried about that because I feel like other countries might respond in kind."

"I think nationalism and patriotism are two different beasts," his wife Jessica added. "I love the patriotism. I'm not as big of a fan of the nationalism, especially with the globalization of all of our economies."

Jessica Ellingsworth said she has been encouraged by some of the people Trump has chosen to surround himself with and expects they will be able to — in her words — "rein him in."

On North Nashville's Jefferson Street

Leading up to the inauguration, Crystal Brooks, a sophomore at Fisk University, was sitting on a bench waiting to meet up with her friends to go to an anti-Trump protest.

“I am hoping that he 100-percent proves everything that I think about him wrong," she said. "I’m not very hopeful, but I’m hoping that most of his speeches were just due to him being a sensationalist."

Fisk senior Joseph Brown was optimistic about the future — although he didn't vote for Trump and said he didn't care to watch the inauguration.

“I still have hope going forward that he will do everything that he can possibly to help everyone in the country and everything as a whole," he said. 

Down the street, 50-year-old Terrie Gooch was less hopeful, as she waited for a haircut with the presidential inauguration playing in the background.

“I’m just at awe. I can’t believe that this man is fixing to run this country," Gooch said. "And I think we are all at risk.”  

Terrie Gooch, 50, sits waiting for a haircut at Miles' Barbershop on Jefferson St.
Credit Erin Logan/WPLN
Terrie Gooch, 50, sits waiting for a haircut at Miles' Barbershop on Jefferson St.

Terrie Gooch, a Hillary supporter, worries about what the next administration will bring.

Michelle Bryant, a hair stylist, only watched the inauguration up until Obama and Biden walked out for the last time. She worried about how divided the country is — more divided than she’s ever seen. She wondered if Trump would listen to people trying to find common ground.

“Will he tweet about it? I am interested to know what he is going to tweet today."

Beautician Michelle Bryant contemplates President Trump's tweets.

Protests Around Nashville

Updated 1:00 p.m.

As President Donald Trump took the oath of office, hundreds of people in Nashville's Centennial Park sat in silent protest.

Organizers started the rally by leading a prayer and singing patriotic songs. They then took a 10-minute pause from talking as they declined to watch or listen to the swearing-in.

Two counter-protesters nearby broke the silence by shouting religious messages into megaphones against homosexuality, abortion, feminism and transgender people. Some event attendees responded by surrounding the protesters and singing them songs.

Meanwhile, a small sound system amplified speeches to a crowd of about 100 people at Legislative Plaza late this morning, protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

The new president was often called out by name in short speeches about funding for public education and resistance to deportations.

With the state capitol as a backdrop, Austin Sauerbrei with Homes For All Nashville led a call about jobs that pay a living wage.

“One job, two jobs, three jobs, four — to pay the rent, I still need more!” he shouted to claps.

Shawn Reilly, a women’s health and LGBT activist, spoke in favor of funding for public education and called for resistance to deportations. 

A group of protesters rallied in front of Tennessee's state capitol in Nashville on inauguration day.
Credit Tony Gonzalez / WPLN
A group of protesters rallied in front of Tennessee's state capitol in Nashville on inauguration day.

State Lawmakers At The Inauguration

Updated 11:00 a.m.

In the minutes leading up to the inauguration, WPLN's Chas Sisk ran into Tennessee Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, who got tickets to the event from his congressman.

"Boy, the crowd's really enthusiastic," Holt said. "It's a great place to be, especially if you're on the winning team, the Trump train."

Middle Tennesseans Arrive In D.C.

Updated 8:20 a.m.

The Tennessee contingent that took buses to Washington has now dispersed, says WPLN's Chas Sisk.WPLN's Chas Sisk reports from the Capitol Mall

Reported earlier

Middle Tennesseans have joined the masses flooding into Washington D.C. this morning to see the inauguration of Donald Trump. They include Larry Sims, who runs an auction business in Murfreesboro. He says President-elect Trump inspired him to get involved in party politics for the first time, running to be a delegate at the Republican National Convention.

"The more he spoke and the more he did and the more he got into it, the more I got excited about what he was trying to accomplish," Sims says.

This is also the first inauguration he's attended. Sims says he's impressed with how many women are also rooting for Trump in Washington. But his wife, Lisa, says she still has some reservations. She's a sculptor and portrait artist and a Republican, though she didn't want to vote for Trump.

“This election was so polarizing I found myself being more independent in thinking and sorta liked Bernie. He seemed like a nice, decent guy who was pretty consistent," she says. "I think Trump probably in some ways represents some of the values I'd like to see continue. But in others, you know, you're alarmed, because you're not sure how consistent he's going to be."

Lisa Sims says she hopes President-elect Trump will show more consistency in his inaugural address today.

WPLN's Chas Sisk, Blake Farmer, Meribah Knight, Erin Logan and Tony Gonzalez contributed to this report.

Tennesseans Take In The Inauguration Of President Donald Trump

Copyright 2017 WPLN News

WPLN Staff