By Jano Tantongco
As Rep. Thomas Suozzi left the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday, he looked at the crowds of supporters and those protesting Trump.
“You know what? This is good. It’s important in politics that people pay attention. And, people are paying attention right now,” Suozzi (D-Huntington) said in an interview Tuesday.
The swearing in of the 45th president caused ripples throughout the nation and world that spurred both displays of support and protest, such as the various women’s marches that were held across all seven continents on Saturday.
Suozzi said there were “a lot of people” who asked him not to attend the inauguration. Though Suozzi did not vote for Trump and opposes many of his positions, skipping the inauguration would not have been the proper way to express that, he said.
“It’s not about Tom Suozzi and Donald Trump. It’s about the United States Congress and the President of the United States of America,” Suozzi said. “President Obama said there’s certain institutions that we have, traditions that we have, that you have to respect. This is one of them.”
Chairman of the Huntington Republican Committee Toni Tepe said she attended the inauguration as well. She called it “an absolutely phenomenal experience.”
“I was pleased to see that Trump’s inaugural address was in keeping with what he had been saying to the people during the course of the campaign,” Tepe said. “His plans, for the Town of Huntington, will work very nicely. Most important to us here in Huntington are taxes and the economy.”
Tepe added that she believes Trump aims to reduce taxes and create jobs to put people back to work.
“I don’t know if people are ready to accept Trump as their president yet,” Tepe said. “And, I don’t know if they’re totally understanding what his agenda can do for the everyday person.”
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) spoke at the the 58th presidential inauguration, emphasizing the current “challenging and tumultuous time.”
Schumer expounded on the myriad of challenges facing the nation including a changing economy that leaves “too many” Americans behind, a “fractured” media landscape and threats both foreign and domestic.
“Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity; whether we are immigrant or native-born; whether we live with disabilities or do not; in wealth or in poverty; we are all exceptional in our commonly held yet fierce devotion to our country, and in our willingness to sacrifice our time, energy, and even our lives to making it a more perfect union,” Schumer said. “Today, we celebrate one of our democracy’s core attributes: the peaceful transfer of power.”