The Republican faithful gather in Denver for the inauguration

The Republican faithful gather in Denver for the inauguration

It was the tiniest of sounds – a small exhalation of breath.

In the midst of a roomful of mostly noisy people – about 100 – it was a sound you would have missed if you weren’t standing right there.

Shannon Moore gave a slight sigh of relief as President Donald Trump finished his oath of office.

The Denver resident was among those gathered at Pete’s Greektown Cafe on East Colfax. The faithful of the Denver Republican Party were there Friday morning to bear witness to the transition of power. They watched on two large TVs, newly installed just in time for Inauguration Day by the owner, Pete Contos.

Moore brought along his two sons, Aidan, a second-grader, and Gavin, an eighth-grader, to watch the inauguration. Wife Natasha explained that the two boys, who attend different schools in the Cherry Creek School District, wanted to see the festivities and their schools weren’t going to show the ceremony.

A few were misty-eyed. Most were excited and happy to see the end of the Obama presidency and the beginning of the Trump administration. Two women had their hands clasped together as if in prayer.

At 11:21 a.m.: “There’s just 39 minutes left of Barack Obama’s presidency!” shouted Jake Viano, a precinct captain who plans to run for chair of the Denver GOP.

What would they tell the new president if they had the chance?

Regina Serna of Denver said she’d thank him for running a great campaign and for bringing excitement to the country. “He knows the people,” she said. “He will unite the country because he understands people and knows where the divide is. He will bring respect back” to the nation.

“I’m happy to have a conservative-leaning government,” added Natasha Moore. Son Gavin, who helped with the campaign, said, grinning, that he’d ask Trump if his hair was real. Aside from that, Gavin said, he hopes the Trump administration works to improve schools, which he said are too one-sided in their teaching. Aidan shyly declined to share his message to President Trump.

“I pray he will have wisdom in dealing with Congress, because that will be one of his toughest negotiations,” said Jeff Hayes, the chair of the El Paso Republican Party. Hayes came up to Denver and to the Greektown Cafe in his bid for state GOP party chair. He wasn’t the only candidate for state chair to show up for the watch party. George Athanasopoulos joined in, too.

Athanasopoulos, who lost to Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter in November, said he wants to know whom Trump will pick for the Supreme Court seat, vacated when Justice Antonin Scalia died almost a year ago. But in the first 100 days, Athanasopoulos said, he wants the president to reinvigorate the nation’s military. For too long, the military has not had a sense of purpose, which he said has gotten “fuzzy” in the last few years, with the prolonged war in Afghanistan.

The gathering was mostly middle-aged to older, and almost exclusively white. Ray Garcia, who ran for House District 1 in last November’s election, but lost, was likely the only Hispanic in the room. “Make us proud,” he said, excitedly.

Even the staff at Pete’s got into the act a bit. When Trump said during his inaugural address that he would end welfare and put people to work, one waitress pumped her hands in the air, and said “yes!” And Contos told the crowd he looks forward to a great four years.

A few remain in awe of Trump’s win. “I never would have believed it,” said Michael Dulude of Denver.

During the oath of office, the room was hushed and still. But when Trump finished the oath, one person took advantage of the silence to happily shout, “It’s over!”


Photo credit: Allen Tian, The Colorado Independent

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About the Author

Marianne Goodland

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.

1 Comment

  1. Will Morrison on said:

    What a bunch of IDIOTS. You’ve done your part to put a SOCIOPATH and a CROOK in the highest office in the land. This man is a FRAUD, he’s been in court 4,000 times for ROBBING people! You think HE is going to bring respect back to the presidency? The presidency, for you MORON’S information, has had more respect with Obama than it’s had in decades. The world is LAUGHING at boneheads like YOU who think this is a damned TV show.

    You republican types, what EXACTLY has the republican party done for you and your family? Seriously, what do they do for you that you think they are good for the country? All they do is take money away from you, give it to the 1%, pass laws that make your life miserable, preach self determination while giving more and more to the 1%, pass laws to take away your rights, deregulate everything that makes your life worth living and steal everything that isn’t nailed down.

    Yeah, they preach a good story, but look at what they DO. Self determination, every man is an island unto himself, no one needs to count on anyone else, it’s all just you. But then, when they get the chance, they make sure that THEY get every advantage while YOU get left to fend for yourself. The preach a good game, but it all really comes down to robbing you and leaving you NO recourse. It’s who they are, it’s what they do. And THIS is what you WANT?

    Good God, people. You FUTURE is at stake, and you think that starving the majority or the benefit of 1% is a good idea? I will NEVER understand the republican mind. It makes NO sense at all.

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