Trump supporters from Salem hope to ‘be part of history’ at Inauguration Day

  • Salem resident Larry MacDonald is traveling down to Washington, D.C., with his wife, Cindy, to be part of historic Inauguration Day. Elodie Reed / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/19/2017 5:58:02 PM

When Salem couple Larry and Cindy MacDonald heard they won tickets to today’s Presidential Inauguration, they thought it was a hoax.

“I don’t even know how I got the email,” Cindy said. “I was shocked I won.”

Larry guessed someone else entered his and Cindy’s names for some of the 198 inauguration tickets handed out by U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster’s office. Kuster held a lottery for New Hampshire residents living within the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

After learning around the holidays that they had scored four tickets, the couple initially wasn’t sure they would go, but continued to mull the idea.

“We said, ‘What the heck?’ ” Larry said. “Now we’re really excited about it.”

They took two of the tickets and gave the other two to some relatives. The trip includes driving to Maryland to avoid overpriced hotel rooms, some sightseeing Wednesday and a healthy dose of public transportation.

Cindy had never been to Washington, D.C., before – Larry said he had only been through once or twice, but wasn’t familiar with the city.

“I was there when I was a kid with my family. That was it,” he said.

In addition to the monuments and museums, the MacDonalds will have the chance to see – in person – the man they voted for being sworn in as president. Larry, a 59-year-old manufacturing engineer at F5 in Lowell, Mass., eventually settled on Trump as the Republican who could beat Hillary Clinton.

“I jumped around. I liked Marco Rubio,” Larry said. “Whoever rose to the top, I would support.”

Cindy, 60, who works for her family’s property business and has a hair salon on the side, said she voted for Trump because she didn’t like Clinton, either.

The MacDonalds have two children, ages 19 and 21, both in college and both voted for Trump, too. No one in the family made it to his New Hampshire mega-rallies during the election season.

Since the election, Larry said he’s been impressed by Trump: “I think he legitimately wants to help the country. I’m not saying he’s going to be successful with everything, but he’s going to try.”

Larry was pleased with Trump’s conduct, for instance, on the Air Force One contract with Boeing. In December, the president-elect called what he said would be a $4 billion contract “out of control” on Twitter. News outlets reported earlier this week that Trump and Boeing are negotiating to lower those costs.

“He’s already proven to be responsible. He’s acting like it’s his money. That’s what we do here,” Larry said from F5 headquarters in Lowell before he left.

Cindy is more politically agnostic. “I’m kind of independent – I vote both ways,” she said. As for Trump’s performance so far, she said, “I’m hoping for the best.”

Larry, who is a registered Republican, is unabashed about his support for Trump. He didn’t have an outfit planned for the day of the inauguration, but he said he wouldn’t mind buying a Trump T-shirt in Washington.

“I know I’ll get some flak for it, but that’s part of the fun,” Larry said. “There’s a lot of haters out there. I don’t know if some of these people are going to come around.”

He said he’s tried talking to some family members and co-workers who are on the opposite side of the aisle – some are healthy discussions, others are not.

“People don’t really listen when they’re making points,” Larry said. “They’re set in their ways.”

One person willing to put political differences aside is the wife of the couple the MacDonalds are staying with in Maryland. She is very anti-Trump, Larry said, but wanted them to come and stay anyway.

Whatever the politics, the MacDonalds said they were hoping to have a good experience at the Presidential Inauguration today, while witnessing a historic event. They’ll be joining about 250,000 other ticket holders, plus protestors and other onlookers.

“I’ve never been to Washington, D.C. This is a really good reason to go,” Cindy said.

Larry added, “I think it’s going to be a zoo but I also think its going to be a blast. We just want to be part of history.”

(Elodie Reed can be reached at 369-3306, or on Twitter @elodie_reed.)

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect where the MacDonalds are staying – in Maryland, not Virginia.  

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