Kittitas County residents celebrate Trump inauguration

January 20, 2017 GMT

Chente Benavides of Cle Elum has a front-row seat to history today — he is celebrating Donald Trump’s inauguration as president in Washington, D.C.

“It’s electric down here,” Benavides said Thursday afternoon. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Benavides said this is an important part of history and he came to show his support for the incoming president. He knew there would be a lot of people at the event, but was still shocked by the thousands of people wearing Trump gear and coming from all different walks of life.

“There is a lot of American pride right now,” he said.

Benavides doesn’t have any concerns about Trump keeping his campaign promises. It isn’t in his character to back out of anything, he said.

“With President-elect Trump there is a lot of hope,” he said.

At the end of his term, Trump will want to prove that he made the country a better place, he said.

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“The bottom line is I don’t think we will have had someone work as hard as President-elect Trump,” he said.

Coming together

Brad Fitterer, owner of Fitterer’s Furniture, said he gets excited for every inauguration, no matter who is getting sworn in.

“It just shows how great our republic is,” he said.

Fitterer doesn’t describe himself as a Trump supporter, but said the country should pull together behind Trump. There has been a divide in the nation in recent years, but people need to come together to support and protect each other.

“I’m not a Trump supporter, I’m a president of the United States supporter,” he said.

The United States has a thing called liberty and without the freedom of the people to express their will, the country cannot protect the Constitution and it will fail, Fitterer said.

“This great experiment has been successful so far,” he said.

As far as the inauguration itself, Fitterer hopes it will be a subdued event.

“I would prefer to see President Trump have a bit more dignity and respect than what we’ve seen so far,” he said.

Veteran support

Republican Don Morris of Ellensburg said he is excited for the inauguration. He sees it as an opportunity for America to come back together and be America again.

“Try and do the things we’ve been doing for hundreds of years before Obama took office,” he said.

Morris said he hopes Trump reaches out to veterans during the inauguration. Veterans in the county have been treated badly for a while now. Once Trump takes office he would like to see Trump act quickly on health care reform and building a wall at the Mexican border, he said.

Trump hasn’t been given a fair shake so far, Morris said. Democrats have been critical of everything he has done and of his cabinet choices.

“He can’t do anything without them shooting him down,” he said.

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Morris is worried about continued stagnation in Congress. There seems to be a lot of conflict between the parties and not much consensus. Some of the older politicians who have been there for too long need to be we weeded out.

“I just find that’s very childish,” he said.

Draining the swamp

Wayne Bell of Cle Elum proudly said he always knew Trump would win the election, but he’s upset about the treatment the President-elect has received by the media since. Bell has never seen the kind of vitriol for a presidential candidate that Trump has received.

“It’s unfortunate the cloud that’s hanging over it,” he said.

Trump’s inauguration will be a historical event equal to that of Obama’s, he said. It’s historic that a president has been elected who has never before held political office and is not a traditional politician.

“I’ve never felt excited about a presidential candidate before,” he said.

Bell hopes Trump will make veteran needs a high priority during his presidency. He also agrees with his support of term limits for members of Congress. Finally he wants Trump to drain the swamp of established politicians.

While Hillary Clinton won Washington state, Trump had strong support in Kittitas County with 53 percent of the local vote total. Kittitas County Republicans are planning an inauguration celebration this evening in Ellensburg.