Iowa Republicans are among the revelers streaming into Washington, D.C. today to witness Donald Trump’s inauguration tomorrow. This is a “bucket list” event for Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake, the Republican speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives.
“If you’ve never been to one, I think it is,” Upmeyer says, adding with a laugh. “You don’t want to put things off for too long.”
Upmeyer had chances to go to inaugurations when Republicans won the White House in the past, but it never worked out.
“I still had children that I had to keep track of and some of those sorts of things, so this is just a better time in my life that I can make a trip to D.C. and my husband’s going to join me,” she says, “and so that’ll be nice for us.”
Tomorrow’s weather forecast for Washington indicates temperatures will be in the 50s as Trump takes the oath of office, but there is a chance of rain. Upmeyer packed a rain poncho, just in case she needs it during the outdoor ceremony.
“It’s going to be fun,” Upmeyer says. “It’s going to be a nice opportunity.”
Upmeyer has heard Trump’s inaugural address will be “bold and brief.”
“I’m really hopeful that it’s one that is a message about bringing the country together, something that people can see as a unifying theme, a unifying message,” Upmeyer says. “There’s going to be a different way of doing business. We’ve never had a president that tweeted before, at least with any regularity, but nonetheless, I think there are so many opportunities where Americans want to be together moving forward, with a really aspirational message.”
Upmeyer and her husband arrived in D.C. early this afternoon. They are attending the reception Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are hosting this afternoon for Iowans who are in Washington for the inaugural.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says this is the first time she’s had the opportunity to attend an inauguration and, like Upmeyer, she’s expecting to hear a unifying message from Trump.
“He’s going to be focused on creating an environment where Americans can be successful, about serving Americans as a whole,” Reynolds says. “…I hope it’s focused on that. I hope it’s focused on the future. I hope it’s focused on opportunities for not only Iowans, but for this country.”
Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad are already in Washington. The governor’s son, Eric, has been in D.C. for weeks, helping to plan the event. Eric Branstad was state director of Trump’s presidential campaign and the younger Branstad will have a role in the Trump Administration, too.
“He’s going to be the liaison between the Department of Commerce and the White House,” Governor Branstad says. “My son is very excited about the opportunity to serve the country in that capacity as well. He did a phenomenal job. Not only did he help Trump carry Iowa — 93 of 99 counties — but he was also sent to Wisconsin three times and they pulled off Wisconsin, too, so he’s learned a lot and I think he did a great job and I’m real proud of him.”
Governor Branstad does not yet know when he’ll be called before a senate committee for a confirmation hearing on his appointment to be U.S. Ambassador to China.