Politics & Government

South Mississippians say Trump is off to good start

R.J. Tanner of Lucedale, middle, and friends await the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday in Washington.
R.J. Tanner of Lucedale, middle, and friends await the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday in Washington. Medill News Service

Mississippians from the Coast expressed hopes for national unity as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday and said Trump should be able to promote business in the state and around the country.

“I’ve been a follower and fan of Donald Trump a long time,” said Mark Cumbest, a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention. “I’m a businessman and I feel so strongly that the office of the president needs to be occupied by a businessman. Donald Trump, whether you like him or not, has been very successful.”

Justin Skinner, who served as chairman of the Trump campaign in Harrison County, agreed with Cumbest and said Trump was right to stress unity in his inaugural speech.

“I think that it was the intention of his speech to unify the country and give a good understanding of where he stands and what he’s looking for our future,” Skinner said. “I think his speech was absolutely amazing.”

Trump pledged in his inaugural address the country “will start winning again (and) winning like never before.” Under his administration, Trump reaffirmed his intent of carrying out many of the ideas he had discussed on the campaign trail.

“If the people of the United States would start to realize the true passion and love” Trump has for America, Skinner said, “then maybe we can start to unify.”

In the speech, Trump called for restoring American jobs lost to overseas workers and for securing the country’s borders.

Mark Schloegel, a Gulfport native, said much of Trump’s address had repeated themes he’d mentioned during the presidential campaign.

“I think he just recounted what he’s being talking about on the campaign,” Schloegel said. “I don’t think he said anything new, but it’s basically what he’s been promising on the campaign.”

Schloegel said Mississippi businesses should also benefit under the Trump administration.

“Air, space, defense, shipbuilding,” he said. “I think all of those … will benefit on having Trump. He’s a hospitality guy, he owns a lot of hotels. We’ve got a big tourism hospitality industry. He gets that. He’s visited Mississippi personally on several occasions.”

Guy King is a student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is covering the inauguration for the Sun Herald.