Kentuckians were among the hundreds of thousands of people who traveled to Washington D.C. this weekend. Some attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and others were there for the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, protesting Trump’s attitudes toward women and minorities.
As the first weekend of the new administration is in the books, I checked in with a couple Kentuckians who traveled to the events for very different reasons.
Listen to the audio in the player above.
Ashley Bruggeman works in commercial construction and sits on the board of the Fayette County Republican Party. She says she attended Trump’s inauguration to witness history in person.
“You get to know everyone around you,” Bruggeman says. “It’s just people from different walks of life and different generations and you get to experience a patriotic event together.”
Bruggeman is one of the 1.2 million Kentuckians who voted for Trump. He won the state by nearly 20 percentage points on Election Day.
In his address, Trump promised to transfer power from Washington political elites to the people.
“…a small group in our nation’s capital reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said.
And that resonated for Bruggeman. She says Trump’s inaugural address was one of his best-delivered speeches.
“It was very true to everything that he’s stood for through his entire campaign,” she says. “So I don’t know that anything should’ve been a surprise to anyone, whether you support him or don’t.”
She said she hopes over the next four years Trump puts more money into the military and moves forward with reforming the Affordable Care Act.
And though Bruggeman disagrees with the hundreds of thousand of people who filled the National Mall Saturday for the Women’s March On Washington, she counts at least one of them as a friend. Her host for the weekend attended the march.
“I think it’s just a testament to how fabulous America is that I could go stay with a friend to go to the actual event that he then protested against the next day,” Bruggeman says. “And yet, we’re friends.”
One of those marchers was Maria Whitley. She owns a fitness studio in Louisville and went to D.C. for the event.
“As soon as we came up out of the Metro, there were pink hats everywhere, signs everywhere and people all walking down the middle of the street together,” she said. “And it was really emotional and wonderful.”
Whitley says she showed up because she was worried that women, minorities and LGBTQ people wouldn’t be treated fairly under the new Trump administration and wanted to send a message.
“I don’t want this to be dismissed as sour grapes; this is the American people speaking and wanting our voice to be heard,” Whitely says.
She says she hoped the march would galvanize a movement of progressives that would take the message back to their home states.
“For me as a Kentuckian, I feel like if we keep talking, they’re going to have to hear us,” says Whitely. “That’s my prayer.”
Only two of Kentucky’s 120 counties went for Hillary Clinton on Election Day.
An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people attended Women’s March rallies in both Lexington and Louisville on Saturday.