North Texas elected leaders were among those with a front row seat to history Friday, joining those gathered at the U.S. Capitol to watch Donald J. Trump take the oath of office and become the country’s 45th president.
For Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, it was an exciting time — and the first inauguration he has seen in person.
“There’s a feeling of optimism,” he said after the swearing-in ceremony. “It was a great celebration of democracy.
“It was really exciting to see the peaceful exchange of power from one party to another,” he said. “It’s a very patriotic day and it makes you proud to be an American.”
Williams is among the hundreds of mayors from across the country attending the inauguration who were already in town for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who was seated front and center, said she was overwhelmed by the excitement of the ceremony, the cheering crowds, witnessing the transition of power and seeing all the former presidents together on the stage and realizing how far the country has come.
It gives you goosebumps.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said of her inaugural experience.
Price, who also attended the swearing in of President George W. Bush, said there were many heart-warming and heart-wrenching moments.
“It gives you goosebumps,” Price said. “When [Trump] first came up to make his speech, it hit you the country is having a major shift in philosophy and power. I thought his speech was very good. He was inclusive and very patriotic.”
Tarrant County Commissioner Andy Nguyen was also in town, specifically to witness the inauguration.
Nguyen, who helped introduce Trump last year at a Dallas rally, was in the standing area only and said he had an amazing experience watching the inauguration.
“My heart pounds,” he said. “There’s an atmosphere of spirituality here. I can feel the presence of generations of Americans. The United States Presidential Inauguration is a monumental American experience that I hope all Americans get to witness.”
North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino also was in the standing room only area, right behind the section of seats.
He said he noticed that when Hillary Clinton was shown on the camera, some in the crowd boo’d her a bit. And when former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama were introduced, the crowd cheered for them.
“When Trump was giving his speech, it was like a church revival,” said Trevino, who didn’t attend the mayor’s conference but traveled to D.C. with family and friends for the inauguration. “People were clapping and saying, ‘Amen.’”
“It was extremely exciting, almost electric,” he said. “You could see people were expecting something different.”