LIHUE — It may have been 7 a.m. on a Friday, but that didn’t stop the Kauai Republican Party from drinking Bloody Marys and clinking mimosas at Mariachi’s restaurant in Nawiliwili Harbor to celebrate President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally feeling hope and change. Only eight years late,” said Republican Bob Hickling.
With nearly 50 people in attendance, Mariachi’s had each TV tuned in to Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. Each shot Trump took at Congress was met with claps and cheers from the Republican Party. Members occasionally yelled out, “about time!”
Steve Yoder, chairman of the Kauai Republican Party, was pleased with the turnout for the viewing party.
“I was up here having breakfast last Friday and I thought, what a great venue! It was a last minute deal,” he said. “We started calling people, we started working on it, and everybody came.”
Trump’s speech struck a chord with Yoder and Hickling, as both were excited to see actual change in the government thanks to Trump.
“If you can spell it, ecstatic. I am so happy,” Yoder said. “We dodged a bullet in electing Trump over Hillary Clinton. Games are won by points, not by how many yards you rack up.”
The atmosphere was light as everyone celebrated the day. On three separate occasions, the outside TVs suddenly switched out, much to the disdain of the viewing party. Yoder jokingly called them “Democrat TVs.”
It didn’t take long for protests to break out shortly after Trump’s inauguration as protesters spilled into the streets in Washington to demonstrate their opposition to Trump’s presidency, but as Yoder said, there will be always be critics.
“People are so stuck in their ideology. When (Abraham) Lincoln was inaugurated, it split the country geographically. With Trump being elected, it split the country,” Yoder said. “It’s been a long time coming. People will just have to wake up and realize that if there’s less government, less regulation and lower taxes and put America first, you can make America great again.”
Hickling chuckled at Yoder’s comment about the country being split during Lincoln’s tenure as president, and said that instead of a civil war, it’ll be a “war of incivility.”
As for the Republican Party as a whole, Friday was the first of many victories it hopes to see with a new president in the Oval Office.
“It’s very encouraging,” Yoder said. “It gives us the realization that we can go forward in 2018 and 2020 and finally start seeing some conservative Republicans back in office and finally turn the tide of big government.”