Arizona

Popping Their Corks: Scottsdale Republicans Cheer President Donald Trump's Inauguration

Jan Stephenson, president of the Palo Verde Republican Women, and Joan Lang, the club's former president, were among the happy guests of an Inauguration Day house party on Friday.
Jan Stephenson, president of the Palo Verde Republican Women, and Joan Lang, the club's former president, were among the happy guests of an Inauguration Day house party on Friday. Ray Stern
Cheryl Pelletier and her friends in the Palo Verde Republican Women's club couldn't make it to Washington, D.C., for President Donald Trump's inauguration.

Like many other Trump supporters, the friends celebrated the historic moment in front of the TV.

Her front yard was decked out with U.S. flags and Trump campaign signs.

Inside, next to a table of food, stood life-size cardboard cutouts of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, the latter wearing a Trump T-shirt, red “Make America Great Again” hat, and blue Trump Collection tie.

"I'm very excited," said one of the guests, Linda Rizzo. "We've waited eight long years for this."

Rizzo had made candy boxes decorated with Trump's name and image for the celebration.

click to enlarge A group of Scottsdale Republicans cheer on Friday after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S.  president. - RAY STERN
A group of Scottsdale Republicans cheer on Friday after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president.
Ray Stern
She was one of about 20 Scottsdale residents, mostly senior citizens, who attended Pelletier's morning inauguration party.

Also on Friday morning, anti-Trump protesters gathered at the Arizona Capitol.

Many Democrats across the country felt something close to horror when, at 10 a.m. Arizona time, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore Trump in as the 45th president.

The Republicans at Pelletier's Scottsdale home whooped it up.

Pelletier, the club's secretary, popped the champagne and guests held up their cups to honor the new president.

They cheered and applauded as Trump gave short shrift to ex-President Obama and hammered home the idea that a new day has come.

click to enlarge Party favors made by one of the inauguration party's guests. - RAY STERN
Party favors made by one of the inauguration party's guests.
Ray Stern
Warmed by the blazing fireplace near the TV, the guests kept up a snarky running commentary.

Trump said the Obamas have been "magnificent" and one white-haired lady quipped, without a trace of irony, "Oh, he has to lie a little bit."

"Don’t look so grumpy, Donald!" another teased Trump’s TV image.

When Trump mentioned "radical Islamic terrorism," a few of the guests let out a "whoo-hoo!"

"God is back!" another said a few minutes later.

After the speech ended, club member Nancy Jacobsen deemed it "beautifully done."

She scoffed at the idea that some people are worried about Trump.

"It’s manufactured fear," she said.

"People just need to chill," Pelletier said. "The world is not going to end because Trump is president. In fact, things are going to get better because of Donald Trump."

click to enlarge Cheryl Pelletier of Scottsdale held the party on Friday morning for fellow members of the Palo Verde Republican Women's club. - RAY STERN
Cheryl Pelletier of Scottsdale held the party on Friday morning for fellow members of the Palo Verde Republican Women's club.
Ray Stern
Party goers downplayed the harsher aspects of Trump's coming reign, like the possibility of millions of people losing health insurance.

Jacobsen, for instance, believes Trump will make "every effort" to ensure people are covered.

Once the economy revs up, she claimed, millions of people will have jobs that will offer insurance.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said something similar this week.

Details of Trump’s plan to replace Obamacare with something else haven't yet been released.

Joan Lang, former president of the Palo Verde club, acknowledged that Trump has set a high bar with all his promises.

"I don't think everything can happen," she said. "If he gets half of it done in the first two or three years, that’ll be good."

"I have to admit," said her husband, Warren, "I was a little surprised he wasn’t more generous toward the Obamas. No best wishes. It was a stinging kind of an indictment of the last eight years."

Guests sighed with satisfaction as the TV screen showed Obama and his family flying away in a military helicopter.

"It’s like I just lost 10 pounds," Rizzo said.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.