GOP toasts Trump inauguration in Fairbanks Ranch

Champagne corks popped, balloons dropped and fists pumped into the air at a Fairbanks Ranch party Friday morning, Jan. 20, as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

“He’s giving it back to the people,” said Rosemary Patterson of Freedom Frontline, one of the organizers of the party at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club. “The people are who elected him, and he’s fighting for us.

“No matter what anybody says, he’s a president for all of us,” she continued.

About 400 Trump supporters, many wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats, braved a drive in the rain to attend an inauguration party at the $50-a-plate champagne breakfast.

“We had to cut it off,” Karolyn Dorsee of Dorsee Productions, one of the event organizers, said of the crunch to attend. “It started off to be a small, little get-together and it went crazy.”

The party was described in invitations as a thank you to Trump supporters by Women for Trump San Diego, Freedom Frontline, Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women Federated, Dorsee Productions, New Majority San Diego, Lincoln Club of San Diego County and San Diego Young Republicans.

Attendees were greeted by two life-sized cardboard Trump images while inside the dining room a DJ blasted music and people lined up for coffee and mimosas. Red blazers appeared to be the style of choice for numerous women, American flags lined the walls, and red, white and blue balloons were ready to drop hung from the ceiling.

“Our event is about bringing everybody together to make America great again,” said Rhonda Wilson of Women for Trump San Diego.

Former Rep. Brian Bilbray, who said he’s been enjoying time with his family since leaving office in 2013 and still celebrating the recent birth of his granddaughter, was among those there.

“I think both sides should remember that change comes in different forms,” he said. “A few years ago there were some people who didn’t like the change then. The pendulum swings both ways.”

The crowd was quiet as Trump was sworn in, then erupted in cheers as when it was over. A confetti canyon augmented the roar.

“Now I know how the people felt when Obama was elected,” said Mary Francis Stanley.

During Trump’s address, the crowd cheered along with others watching the ceremony in Washington, and they booed when Hillary Clinton was shown on camera.

Some of the loudest cheers came when Trump used the term “Radical Islamic terrorism,” talked about protecting the border and said, “Most important, we will be protected by God.”

Applause was more sparse when he talked about solidarity and said, “There is no room for prejudice.”

After the address, several people said they appreciated the unifying message of Trump’s speech.

“I’m impressed with the call for unity,” said John Ertheim, who said had worked on Ronald Reagan’s campaigns. “I’m impressed with the his emphasis on putting the American people first and everything else second, and he included all people. He was very inclusive and very positive.”

Ertheim compared Trump to Reagan because of his positive attitude and belief in cutting taxes to help the economy.

“He’s like Ronald Reagan, who saw the good in the American people and thought the American people could overcome any obstacle,” he said.

As Trump wrapped up his address, many in the crowd joined him in saying his closing line that was the slogan of his campaign: “Make America great again.”

The room became festive as people hugged, clinked champagne glasses and a keyboardist dressed in a black jacket and red stars broke into the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.”

Bilbray said he was surprised and impressed by Trump’s speech.

“We’ve all grossly underestimated the shock-jock from TV,” he said. “He’s showing a lot more depth.

“I had my doubts,” Bilbray continued. “He was doing everything we’d been taught for 10 years to not do. He used terms that set people off, saying ‘wall’ instead of ‘fence,’ and he did it purposely to set us off. He played us all like a fiddle.”

Like Bilbray, Loucq Aspell came away with a better feeling about Trump after the address.

“He covered subjects people have been wondering about,” Aspell said. “The promises he made, now we know he meant it, and he’ll go to work on them on Monday.”

Retired Judge Richard Miller also was impressed.

“I think it’s great,” he said about the address. “He’ll bring the country together. It’s truly one nation.”

County Supervisor Bill Horn said he’s supported Trump from the beginning and was glad to see a businessman in the White House.

Horn said he particularly liked Trump’s message about hiring Americans and putting America first.

Vivian Hardage of Freedom Frontline said she loved Trump’s message.

“It wasn’t about him,” she said. “It was about wanting to return power to us. Washington has had its own agenda, and it wasn’t about what the people’s needs are. It was about the ruling class, the bureaucrats. I think Americans just woke up and realized that Donald Trump understands what they’re going through.”

Ursula Kuster, who runs a business manufacturing skin-care products, said she likes Trump’s plan to cut regulations.

“It’s very difficult to stay in business in California with all the regulations, and President Trump understands that,” she said.

– Gary Warth is a writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune