Longtime Barnegat Resident Witnesses ‘People’s Guy’ Trump Inauguration
Jake Taylor is accustomed to getting a good seat at Barnegat Township meetings, something he has made a practice of doing for some 40 years. But last weekend, Taylor got a very up-close view of an historical event – the inauguration of Republican Donald J. Trump as the country’s 45th president.
“Having relatives working in the federal government helps,” said Taylor. “I was in a very secured area.”
This was the 85-year-old Taylor’s third inauguration, having been there for John F. Kennedy’s in 1961 and Bill Clinton’s in 1993.
“But this one was extra special,” he said. “There was electricity in the air that I had not seen at the others. It was very well-organized. No one was acting rowdy. It went very smooth.”
Taylor did not get very close to the actual swearing-in ceremony on the steps outside the U.S. Senate Wing of the Capitol building on Friday, instead watching it on video monitors placed around the area. But he had a seat about 30 yards away from where the new president was situated in the bullet-proof glass-enclosed reviewing stand.
“Where I was seated was the closest you could get to Trump,” he said.
As he expected, security measures have gotten much tighter since his last trip to Washington. “There’s no backpacks, coolers or Thermoses allowed.”
Taylor took issue with reports, accompanied by aerial photographs, indicating that Barack Obama’s initial inaugural festivities in 2009 drew many more people than Trump’s.
“I don’t know, I think those photos were doctored,” he said. “It sure looked very crowded to me. There were so many people, it was hard to move around.”
Easily the most polarizing presidential candidate ever, Trump had Taylor’s backing from the get-go. But as Trump’s candidacy gained steam, many longtime prominent GOP’ers distanced themselves from him.
“One of the things I liked about Trump early on was saying about helping veterans,” said Taylor, a registered Republican since 1952 and a founder of the Barnegat Township Republican Club. “Veterans are dying because they have to wait a long time to get into a VA hospital. I get involved with veteran issues and try to do what I can to help them locally. It’s just wrong to see so many of these brave people get neglected, and wind up homeless after all they’ve done for our country.”
Taylor said he saw Trump as a “people’s guy” and said the party has too many RINOs (Republican in Name Only).
“He speaks his mind,” he said. “What I also like is that he seems to be someone who will move fast to get things done. Trump is different in that he isn’t beholden to any special-interest groups. A lot of candidates try to buy their way into office, but Trump didn’t have to do that. Other presidents wind up having to do favors for people and groups who helped them get elected. Trump is his own man. No one’s going to pressure him to do anything.”
The day after the inauguration was the Women’s March on Washington, one of many demonstrations taking place in the United States and throughout the world.
“I saw a few people with Black Lives Matter signs,” he said. “But it was pretty quiet; there wasn’t any protesting going on where I was.”
Taylor said people should try to get to at last one inauguration.
“It’s a great American tradition, the transfer of power,” he said. “When they play ‘Hail to the Chief,’ it really hits home on how great it is to be an American.”
— Eric Englund