North Jersey residents tune in for inaugural ceremony staff report, Jan. 21, 2017 |

They peered at television screens in an Englewood diner, a Hackensack restaurant, a Bedminster pizza parlor, a Boonton bar and a myriad other places Friday to see for themselves the familiar rituals of the transfer of power as Donald Trump became the nation’s 45th president.

North Jersey residents, Republicans and Democrats alike, watched the inaugural unfold filled with a sweeping range of emotions about what they want for the country, and what Trump will be like in the Oval Office.

Some watched with a sense of great hope – eager to see the new president fulfill the campaign promises that prompted them to vote for him. Others expressed sadness, even some fear. Some showed little interest, while others actively avoided watching as a symbolic protest.

Those who watched saw Trump, one of the most distinctive and polarizing presidents to take office in recent memory, lay his hand on two Bibles – one from his family and one previously used by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. Trump assumes power over a divided country with emotions still raw from the election, when he defeated the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Some supporters said Trump generally and his inaugural address in particular were a refreshing change from the persona and the traditional talk of career politicians. They said they hoped he would create jobs and end corruption in government. They said he certainly sounded as if he was “for America.”

Some talked of their fears – that they will lose certain rights, that their health care could be swept away, that Trump could lead the nation into another war.

But on this day, even some detractors said the country should – for the greater good of the nation – give the new president a chance to succeed.

They were watching in Saddle River, where, with 67 percent, Trump amassed his highest Bergen County vote total in the November election. They were watching in Wallington, a community that had voted for a Democrat, Obama, four years ago but flipped to a Republican, Trump, this time around. They watched, too, in Paterson, where Clinton, with nearly 90 percent of the vote, secured her highest margin in the region. And they watched in Dumont, which had voted for Obama four years ago – and less enthusiastically for Clinton this time.

Here’s what they were saying:


Rocco’s Pizza and Restaurant

Here in Donald Trump’s New Jersey “home,” a short drive from the Trump National Golf Course, employees and customers of Rocco’s Pizza and Restaurant were hopeful for unity as the new president came into office.

“I liked that he was composed,” said Rocco Contessa, one of the restaurant’s owners.

As the place bustled with employees making pizzas and filling orders, they kept an eye on a television, perched atop a cooler for sodas and other drinks by the entrance.

“I hope he focuses on unity,” said Robert Fusco, a customer and Trump supporter. “That we all need to come together, move forward. And I think he needs to stay off Twitter.”

Trump used his golf course in Bedminster as the site for many of the meetings that his transition team held with potential Cabinet members and other key players in his administration. Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in this Somerset County community, receiving 2,223 votes to the former secretary of state’s 2,181

“I’m glad he’s here,” said Bob Daly, a crossing guard and delivery driver for Rocco’s who supports Trump. “Now the speculation ends and the job begins.”

While some customers did not want to discuss the inauguration – “I don’t like to talk about politics,” one said –many were focused on coverage of the inauguration while eating an early lunch or waiting for takeout orders.

“I don’t support him,” said one customer, John Lacatena. “But, I think he should get his shot.”

As customers trickled in during the lunch rush, talk quickly turned to the now-President Trump.

“I’m a little hesitant, anxious,” said Chris Dobson, who was in Bedminster to meet with a lawyer. “No matter who got in there, we have to give them a chance. Now let’s see what happens.”

At times, Daly and Autumn Williams, a waitress, engaged in their own private debate.

Daly, who initially supported Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and then Gov. John Kasich of Ohio in the Republican primary contest, decided on Trump. Williams supported Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who ran in the Democratic primaries.

“I didn’t expect Trump to say anything groundbreaking,” Williams said. “Trump is Trump. His personality speaks for himself. I see him as a celebrity, not presidential. But I do really hope he does a good job.”

— Christopher Lang


Grant Street Café

In between tiny sips from a snifter and brief stares at a flat-screen TV, Tom Koenig expressed cautious optimism about Donald Trump’s taking over as president.

Koenig, 76, of Englewood Cliffs, a retired sanitation worker, was seated at the bar at Grant Street Café in Dumont to watch Trump’s inauguration.

“We won’t know until he gets in,” Koenig said, adding that, despite his hesitancy to give a clear endorsement, he had voted for Trump anyway.

According to figures provided this week by the Borough Clerk’s Office, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 372 votes in Dumont. That statistic did not translate into support for Clinton at the bar or in the dining room next to it.

“I’m with Trump all the way,” said Patrick Hegarty, 79, a retired New Milford postal clerk who has lived in Dumont with his wife, Rita, 78, since the late 1950s. The couple were eating lunch, as they do there every Friday.

“He doesn’t have to build a wall,” Hegarty added, referring to one of Trump’s campaign promises. “But, he’s going to have to do something with the immigration.”

Molly Abrahamsen, who was serving the drinks, set the tone for the tavern on Grant Avenue. She wore a blue T-shirt emblazoned with Trump’s signature slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

“I believe he’s for the people,” said the 27-year-old bartender, adding she believes Trump will end “corruption in government.” The bartender, who married Dumont Patrolman Eric Abrahamsen in October, said she appreciated the way Trump stumped for stronger backing for law enforcement and military.

Bill Bowen, who was sitting at the far end of the bar drinking seltzer water, echoed Abrahamsen.

Bowen, 62, a lifetime resident of Dumont who works in the borough’s Building Department, said Trump “treats veterans with respect,” and that was one of the reasons why he voted for him. He said he thinks the new president will “secure the border” and “straighten out health care.”

“It was good,” Bowen said of Trump’s inaugural address. “It wasn’t too long, and it was to the point.”

Koenig said of the speech, “I thought it was excellent,” adding: You can tell he’s for America.”

— Philip DeVencentis


Galapagos Deli and Restaurant

All was quiet at Galapagos Deli and Restaurant ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as Carlos Campoverde, owner and chef, started preparing the chicharrón, a popular item, for the lunch rush.

“I wanted to hear him promise something good for the immigrants,” Campoverde, 47, said of Trump, “because a lot of us immigrants live here in this country who work hard and pay taxes.”

Pedro, a Hackensack resident originally from Ecuador who didn’t want his last name used, sat down and watched Trump’s inauguration on the restaurant television.

“I don’t believe anything he says,” he said. “Until he actually does it, I won’t believe it.”

As Trump began his inaugural speech, construction workers from some of the Main Street redevelopment projects came in for lunch. All of them refused to speak on the televised proceedings, but they watched.

When Trump reached the part of his speech about securing “borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,” Maria Yunganaula, who is also Ecuadorean and works at Galapagos, started laughing.

“Uh-oh,” the Hackensack resident said. “He’s about to start talking about that wall.”

Trump never did bring up the wall that he had proposed many times before.

Restaurant employee Abigail Rea, who emigrated from Ecuador to Hackensack nine years ago, just hoped that the speech would be optimistic.

“I hope he does good things,” she said. “I just hope he changes things for the better.”

Campoverde, the owner and chef, has a permanent residency and has lived in the country for 24 years. While he can live and work in the country, he cannot vote. When asked whom he would have cast his vote for, he said Hillary Clinton.

After the speech, he acknowledged that the new president had a long road ahead, rife with tasks.

“We have to see how the presidency starts,” Campoverde said. “I don’t know if he’ll do what he says. There’s a lot of things he has to do, not just concerning immigration.”

As patrons filed in, and the speeches and prayers on TV ended, all was once again quiet. Two Ecuadorean women who came in to eat refused to comment. They watched and pointed as Marine One took off on the TV, which was framed by a painting of Galapagos on the left, and a photograph of Quito, Ecuador’s capital, on the right.

“He has to raise this country up,” Campoverde said. “Because it’s a global country.”

— Rodrigo Torrejon


Flapjax Pancake & Steakhouse

While eating scrambled eggs and waffles, nearly a dozen diners at Flapjax Pancake & Steakhouse in Wallington watched intently and waiters paused between pours of coffee in anticipation of the inauguration of Donald Trump shown on flat-screen TVs. After the speech came to a close, patrons said they were hopeful.

Both optimism and excitement were exclaimed over the sounds of the clatter of breakfast dishes.

Wallington gave Trump 56.6 percent of its vote. Obama got 54.4 percent of its vote in 2012; Hillary Clinton got 40 percent of its vote in November. That was the biggest drop in Bergen County.

Carolyn Armstrong of East Rutherford voted for Trump and said she hopes the country will unite and back him.

“He’s stepping into a big mess. It’s time to bring companies and American jobs back and put Americans back to work,” said Armstrong, a retiree. “I’m worried about my family, taxes and health insurance costs. My daughter’s out-of-pocket [health] costs have increased. Something needs to be done to fix the health care system.”

Diners chimed in on whether they wanted Trump to fix Affordable Care Act or dismantle it.

Over breakfast with her husband, a Vietnam veteran, Joanne Townsend of Wallington said that although she did not vote for Trump, she’s hopeful he will keep his promises to help America. As Hillary Clinton came on the screen at the inauguration, Townsend said she was happy to see her put on a united front in the two-party system.

“I give her credit for being there today. It was a devastating loss for her and she’s shown a lot of class through this whole thing. Now I just hope that Trump does what’s best for our country,” Townsend said.

Passing the pepper to season his eggs and home fries, Townsend’s husband, Verne, said, “I want him to fix Obamacare, but also support the military.”

After digesting their meals and the plans that a newly sworn-in Trump laid out for the United States during his inaugural speech, diners said it was time to stand behind the new leader.

Trump’s inaugural speech was part-motivational, and it alluded to his campaign promises.

“He seemed like he means business. He has the opportunity to accomplish these goals, but it’s not as easy as people think. He has both houses of government on his side, so he has more support,” said Guy Magnifico of East Rutherford.

Trump supporter Jerzy Slusarz of Wallington said national security, the Constitution and the Supreme Court are the top issues that Trump will face and he was happy he spoke about them in his speech.

Carolyn Armstrong of East Rutherford said she is hopeful.

“I think what he said about sticking together for the sake of our future, that was important, especially now with all the complaining and fighting in politics. I think he’ll get the job done well,” Armstrong said.

Clinton supporter Sarah Senan of Wallington said she’s not going to follow the #notmypresident hashtag backlash against Trump on Twitter and Facebook. “The inaugural speeches are always meant to be motivational,” she said. “At this point, I’m hopeful. I don’t want him to fail. I think he ignites a lot of anger and makes some bold statements, but he also wakes people up. Even if he turns out to be a disaster, I think there will be a silver lining.”

— Kelly Nicholaides


City Hall, outside the tax collector’s office

Just inside the main entrance to City Hall is the tax collector’s office. On Friday, residents filed through the metal detector, made a quick right and, just below the flat-screen TV showing the inauguration, lined up to pay their taxes.

Donald Trump had just finished his inauguration speech in which he talked about how factories had shut down and moved overseas, abandoning American workers. Waiting in line to pay his taxes was David Binson, 32, who runs one of the last dye houses still operating in Paterson, on East 31st Street. One of his main businesses is dying fabric for flags, he said.

“He’s refreshing,” Binson said of Trump. “He’s taken a different route to become president. He’s gone against the grain a little bit, but I think it’s time to turn the page.” Binson likes Trump’s pro-Israel stance and hopes that he will deliver on his promise to improve the economy.

Behind him stood Julie Bordon, another Paterson resident, who didn’t share the same optimism. She let out a heavy sigh when the screen showed now former President Barack Obama climbing aboard a military helicopter with his wife, Michelle.

“It’s sad,” she said. “I liked what he did with health care. I already had health care, but I didn’t mind my premium going up so that others would be covered.”

Here, in the city that was America’s first planned industrial center, Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing jobs back was greeted with a mixture of hope and wariness. It seemed everyone standing in the tax line had heard that before.

Jose Guillen was clutching four $20 bills in his hand. Guillen said he’s lived in Paterson for 25 years after emigrating from the Dominican Republic. He is unemployed and said he voted for Trump. “I voted for him because I want a change,” Guillen said. “The people, we need changes in the economy. We need jobs, money.”

Jorge Raigoza, 26, works as an Uber driver. Like Guillen, he’s an American citizen who came to Paterson from somewhere else; in his case, it was Colombia.

Raigoza detected a change in tone in Trump’s inaugural address, away from the anger and hostility he frequently invoked during the campaign and toward a presidential vision that embraced equality.

“He sounded different than when he was a candidate,” Raigoza said, adding that he wondered whether the change was real. “We have to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Looking to the future, Raigoza said he had mixed feelings about the Trump presidency. On the  one hand, he believed that the new president was  committed to creating jobs. But on the other, he worries about Trump as commander in chief.

“I think he’s going to create jobs, but I’m worried that he might start a war,” Raigoza said.

—Richard Cowen


Englewood Diner

In Englewood, where Hillary Clinton took 79.6 percent of the vote compared to 18.1 percent for Donald Trump, many were not enthusiastic about seeing the president-elect take the oath of office.

Although the Englewood Diner on Engle Street was broadcasting the inauguration on its two TVs, patrons showed little interest in the proceedings.

Kyle Johnson from Union, who was visiting his aunt, said as he left, before Trump was sworn in, that he was not interested in watching.

“He’s elected, that’s reality,” he said.

In the predominantly black 4th Ward, Clinton won by a landslide, receiving 2,483 votes to Trump’s 136. Many chose to avoid the broadcast in protest of Trump’s election.

“Most blacks are boycotting it,” Englewood resident Donna Halliday said in a Facebook discussion group. “Why would we watch an illegitimate [president take office?]”

As Trump was sworn in, few eyes in the diner were on the television.

“It’s the same old, same old. Obama out, Trump in,” said Max from Middletown, who declined to give his full name. “It doesn’t really affect me day to day.”

Hannah, another resident, was more willing to give Trump a chance.

“I think we’re judging him hard,” she said, adding he has a “bad personality,” but she is willing to give him a chance to prove his critics wrong.

The Rev. Richard Hong of First Presbyterian Church in Englewood, who said via Facebook he didn’t watch the ceremony, said he stands by those who are worried for their future.

“As a person of faith who believes in the dignity of all people, I stand with those who fear their rights are in jeopardy,” he said. “Reproductive freedom, marriage equality, eradicating racism, giving all workers the right to a living wage — these are issues where we must stand firm.”

— Michael W. Curley Jr.


Trump Tower and Times Square

The morning of Inauguration Day was quiet outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the sidewalks populated mostly with tourists taking selfies and New Yorkers on their regular routine.

One Canadian tourist, pointing to a cluster of media stationed across the street, said he came by to “see what the buzz was about.” He snapped a picture of Trump Tower and said the election, viewed from afar, had been “entertaining.”

Inside the building were armed officers with the New York Police Department counterterrorism unit. Police kept watch outside as well. At one point, officers told a Long Island woman selling “Dump Trump” buttons that she had to move.

The woman, Dana Fuchs, a comedian, said selling buttons was her “way to metaphorically protest.” She said she would skip watching the ceremony because of “the sadness I feel for this country.”

Meanwhile, a man with a bicycle directed a chant at Fuchs as he walked past: “Make America Great Again!”

Over in Times Square, a crowd formed for the ceremony, broadcast live on a jumbo screen. Trump supporters and critics alike watched the historic moment in unison. Some sat near the screen with their heads cocked upward; others watched from across Broadway.

Jose Beltran, 27, of Palm Springs, Calif., who voted for Hillary Clinton, nevertheless came to Times Square early to watch. “I want him to do well and prove people wrong,” he said. “At the end of the day, he’s our president.”

A married couple visiting from Norfolk, Va., Whitney and Hadden Louk, co-owners of a food delivery business, said they voted for Trump.

Whitney Luk, a former New Yorker, compared the atmosphere for Trump’s inauguration with that on the night Barack Obama was first elected. “The energy was very different. There were more people,” she said. “People today seem to be more observing, waiting to see how Trump does.”

After Trump was sworn in, the crowd cheered. Motorists honked in support.

“His speech was amazing,” said Courtney LaMonica, 39, an operations manager visiting from Boston. “It’s exactly what I had expected.”

Her husband, Daryle LaMonica, 43, said he was disappointed by the relatively sparse crowd.

“This is not about Trump. It’s about the United States,” said Daryle, a police officer. “I hope people realize the importance of today, and the peaceful transfer of power.”

— Melanie Anzidei


Passaic County Community College

The cafeteria at Passaic County Community College was sparse but not empty as coverage of the inauguration played at medium volume in the front of the room.

“I’m not big into politics, but I believe when the time comes you need to know about your presidents and know what they have to say,” said Kellyn Hageman, a first-year student.

“I voted for Trump. I don’t agree with everything he’s said and everything he’s trying to do,” she said, adding that Hillary Clinton had “too many problems.”

“I’m on Medicaid, so that does bother me,” she said, referring to Republican lawmakers’ pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Hageman said that more than any feelings she had about Trump’s inauguration, she was “more upset that Obama’s time had come, because he did a lot to help the people who needed help, like me. I’m a single mom.”

When Trump’s speech concluded, one student left the cafeteria yelling at the television. Another, Antonio Torres, a Paterson resident, yelled, “Why … is he our president?”

“I knew there was no way of getting around it,” Torres said. “I just hope he steps up to business and becomes the president we need him to be.”

Torres’ friend Dawud Warren, also of Paterson, said he wants to give Trump a chance. “People are already booing him,” he said. Warren added that his feelings about new presidents have always been neutral. He said that after absorbing the unrelenting news coverage during the election cycle, “I just kind of became numb to it.”

“He had a dream, and a plan he set out to do, and he’s doing it,” Warren said. “I applaud him for that.”

Before the inauguration, several students and employees at the college expressed dismay about the upcoming ceremony and the Trump presidency that it would usher in.

“As a Hispanic-Latino, I don’t like that he doesn’t have any Latinos in his Cabinet,” said Matias Maidana of Paterson, who works at the college’s science, technology, engineering and math laboratory. “The fact that none of us are being represented is ridiculous.”

Maidana said he wasn’t planning on watching the inauguration. “I prefer to read comments afterward,” he said, “because when I hear him talk, I get upset.”

One student, however, Muhammed Izeiroski of Clifton, who emigrated from Macedonia and said his family is Muslim, supports Trump’s policy on limiting the entrance of Syrian refuges into the United States. He said that he’s seen the disastrous effects that the influx of Islamist terrorist groups has had on his native country.

Altough Izeiroski did not vote in the election — he said he did not like either candidate — he is bothered by Democrats’ reactions to the transition. “You didn’t see Republicans rioting when Mitt Romney lost” to Barack Obama in 2012, he said.

—Nicholas Katzban

Saddle River

Wandell School

Inauguration Day at Wandell School in Saddle River was not about politics.

“It’s exciting for the kids to witness history,” interim Superintendent of Schools Louis DeLisio said.

Five classes totaling around 80 students in third through fifth grade had the opportunity to watch parts of Donald Trump’s swearing-in and speech. The students filed into classrooms after lunch for the delayed viewing, which teachers said they previewed beforehand.

Third-grade teacher Rosalie English said before the inauguration that her students were excited to watch the ceremony, perhaps for the first time, at an age when they can appreciate it and be a part of it.

She said third-graders are learning about government and the different communities in the United States.

“It’s important for the students to learn how officials are elected and the important job they have of seriously considering the opinions and feelings of those they serve,” she said.

Fourth-grade teacher Susan Wineburgh said the inauguration is “living history” and gives the students the chance to watch their new president, providing them with exposure to national government.

The students have read articles about the election and the candidates, she said, but they keep politics out of it.

In November, the students held a mock election, but in light of the school’s 100th anniversary, voted for candidates from 100 years ago – Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes, who lost narrowly to Wilson back in 1916, won at Wandell, DeLisio said.

In the borough, 67.2 percent of residents voted for Trump, though the county was 54.5 percent for Hillary Clinton. But the elementary school is, of course, not a place for politics – it’s more about teaching the kids the democratic process, the superintendent said.

Despite the school’s non-political intentions, one parent, who wished not to be identified, said she did not approve of the school’s showing the ceremony.

“This particular president-elect has exhibited behaviors of harassment, intimidation and bullying, which directly contravenes Wandell’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying policy,” she said. “Our school and others take that very seriously.”

The parent, who called herself conservative, said the school’s mission statement centers on kindness, honesty and consideration of others – qualities that she does not see in the new president.

-Sarah Nolan


Newark Liberty International Airport

In a quiet corner of the international terminal of the region’s air hub, a conservative and an independent watched Donald Trump take the oath of office.

Luggage porter John Halecky of Bayonne voted for Trump and said he admired his ability to keep people on their toes.

“You don’t know what he’s going to do until he starts doing it,” he said.

Pilot Jim Bizzell of Tampa, Fla. voted for independent Gary Johnson and was suspicious of Trump’s business background.

“You just don’t want a used-car salesman as president,” he said.

As other travelers hurried to catch planes and make travel connections, Halecky and Bizzell were among a small handful of people who stopped to watch the historic events unfolding in Washington on televisions near a cellphone recharging station. The two men sat a few seats apart as Trump swore to defend the Constitution on the Lincoln Bible.

“And the fun begins,” Halecky said.

“What’s that?” Bizzell asked.

“And the fun begins. His speech,” Halecky replied.

“Oh, yeah,” Bizzell responded, sipping his coffee.

As Trump spoke about transferring power from the political elite to the American people, Bizzell leaned over.

“This is a side of him I like, OK?”

The camera cut to Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Halecky chuckled and shook his head.

“From this day forward, it is America first. America first,” Trump pledged. Halecky checked his watch and stood up.

“This is where I leave you,” he said, and headed back to work.

After the speech, Bizzell worried that Trump’s main asset was his ability to sell himself, and that he lacked the depth needed to be president.

“If it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, it usually is a duck,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong.

— John Seasly


Montclair State University

Montclair State University opened its University Hall conference room to students and staff who wanted to watch the inauguration.

Three large screens televised the proceedings while a small crowd of students and staff watched.

Mariel Pagan, director of the Center of Student Involvement at MSU, said the campus has held inauguration-viewing parties in the past. Only four people had signed up to attend this year’s event, but about 15 had showed up by 11:30 a.m.

Some members of the university’s WMSC-FM radio station asked questions of the crowd, including sophomore Kate Braunstein. She remembers watching Barack Obama’s inauguration in the sixth grade.

“I didn’t want to miss this one,” Braunstein said, “because of all the controversy behind it.”

For many students, including Braunstein, it was the first time watching the outcome of an election in which they were able to vote.

Voting “was nerve-racking because I didn’t pay attention to politics at all, but now I have to pay attention,” she said.

Senior Natalia Brown and grad student Nkechi Okpara wandered in just before Trump was about to be sworn in. They were mainly interested in seeing the turnout for the gathering, which did not surprise Brown.

They did not favor Trump, the students acknowledged, and were not interested in sticking around for his speech.

“He just flies off the handle with stuff and doesn’t think before he says anything,” Brown said.

Following Trump’s address, graduate student Erik Lytteck, an environmental economics major, said, “Speeches are words. We’ll see what actually happens.”

Lytteck was  annoyed by Trump’s statement on reviving factories, because he said most jobs that are brought back are mechanized.

Sam J. Hyde, a sophomore majoring in English and minoring in African-American studies, liked Trump’s speech, calling it “pretty anti-establishment.”

After the speech, freshman Jeremy Wall, who was also there with the radio station, was somewhat at a loss for words.

“It’s official,” said Wall, shrugging. “Eight years have passed, and now someone new is running our nation.”

— Mollie Shauger


Johnnies Tavern

It wasn’t about sports at Johnnies Tavern on Friday afternoon. A dozen patrons soaked up some suds and the inauguration coverage on Fox News. The political opinions flowed freely as did the smart quips and laughter in the friendly, tightknit blue collar bar community that leans toward Trump.

As Trump took the oath of office, most of the tavern patrons stood. After the oath, there was a round of applause and again, after the speech, there was clapping.

“If he promises to do the best job he can, I don’t see a problem,” said 59-year-old Kim Peters of Bedminster, who was with his girlfriend, Susan Taylor. “He’s helping the nation.”

Peters lost his job in 2012 as a union glazier. He said he’s hopeful Trump will create jobs for the middle class.

“He promises to get jobs for the working class,” Peters said. “Decent-paying jobs to get construction going again. He’s got to stop business from leaving America and factories from going away. The turnover on Main Street in Boonton is like six months. He’s got to help the middle class and save the mom-and-pop shops. They are all dying.”

Taylor said Trump seemed “sincere and heartfelt” during his speech.

“That was a great speech,” he said. “He’s a very honest person. I haven’t heard a speech like that in years. Hopefully he lives up to his promises. He sounded like [Franklin D.] Roosevelt,” he said, because he’s putting people to work and helping the middle class.

John Tarasuk, a 32-year-old landscaper and Boonton resident who is not working and is enrolled in Obamacare, said he came out specifically to watch the inauguration.

He said he liked the new president’s inauguration speech.

“I liked what he said about the establishment protecting itself for so long and not caring about the people,” Tarasuk said. “I’m not crazy about religion. I wasn’t thrilled about the whole God thing.”

Tarasuk said he voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary but switched to Trump in the general election.

“I just think [Clinton] has been corrupted,” he said. “I am hopeful for the country. Hillary supporters are really upset about everything. I just think nothing would’ve changed [under a Clinton presidency]. I think something will change with Trump now. I’m excited. I’m not that big into politics. I think this race brought more people into politics. They understand the Electoral College now.”

— JaiAgnish