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SIOUX CITY | Morningside College students took in the inauguration of President Donald Trump over lunch Friday, airing differing views on the content of the 45th president's speech and his ability to ably govern over the next four years.

Fans and critics of Trump watched the proceedings in Washington, D.C. live on numerous screens in the Olsen Student Center cafeteria. Some of the more politically-attuned students said they would also later watch commentaries of Trump's speech and the day's events, which also included some protests.

There were no protests at Morningside, a college that a few people said seemed to be more populated by supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton than Trump, a Republican who won his position by winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote in November.

Trump, a billionaire businessman and reality TV star, stopped at the Sioux City college for a public event on May 15, 2015, more than a month before he formally announced his candidacy for president, and nearly eight months before Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses, where he finished second.

Jacob Holck, a freshman from Merrill, Iowa, is part of the loosely-affiliated Morningside College Republicans and volunteered for the Trump campaign by making phone calls and knocking on doors. Holck saw Trump at three Iowa campaign appearances while in high school and moved to support him after his first choice, U.S Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, faded in the nomination process.

"(Trump) is different. He doesn't follow what people want to hear, he follows what he wants," Holck said.

Holck liked Trump's inauguration speech.

"The one thing that got me was how he put a lot of faith in the American people. To me, that wasn't a ploy...That was 'Let's stand up and make our country whole again, let's make America great again,' " Holck said.

Holck said he thinks Trump can create a good agricultural policy, while he doubts efforts to deport an estimated 12 million people without legal status will work.

"I don't necessarily like Trump 100 percent...but you're not going to like any candidate 100 percent," he said.

Holck said whether the U.S. will be better off in four years depends more upon the majority Republican federal lawmakers than Trump. Elizabeth Boell, a sophomore from Carroll, Iowa, said she knows women and minorities fear policies that Trump could pursue during his term that runs to January 2021.

"He is not having the best interests of people like that right now... I am just a little woeful to what he represents and the negativity towards minorities of late," said Boell, who voted for Clinton.

Boell said Trump's plan to build a barrier at the Mexican border to reduce illegal immigration is "ridiculous."

At one point of his speech, Trump said, “The forgotten men and women of this country will be forgotten no longer. This is an historic moment, the likes of which we have never seen before... Hear these words, you will never be ignored again.”

Kyle Fowler, a sophomore from Elk Point, South Dakota, said he has both conservative and liberal views and voted for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

"I have a lot of hope for (Trump). I really, really want him to do well," Fowler said.

Fowler said he thinks Trump is a good orator, but his main takeaway from the inaugural address was an assertion that Fowler found interesting as a religious person.

"(Trump) has made a couple bold statements, like we will get stronger with God," Fowler said.

Fowler said it was fascinating to observe the history made on an inauguration day. He recalls three inaugurations previously, the two most recent for former President Barack Obama and for George W. Bush's second term in January 2005.

"It is a celebration for some. It is something that others don't care for, you can tell by the rallies," Fowler said.

The cafeteria had a notable addition Friday. There was a dispenser for cotton candy, and by noon more than half of the 265 holders for the treat had been used. There was one likeness of Trump placed at the table with pink cotton candy in the place of the hair.

Also in the student center, the nonpartisan Morningside Civic Union had a table set up. The group had performed a voter registration drive in 2016 and member Celia McGaffey, a freshman from Sioux City, said students on campus had been politically dialed in.

McGaffey said the campus seemed to have more Clinton supporters.

"The mood definitely changed Nov. 8. It just seemed gloomy," she said.

McGaffey said minority students and the lesbian gay bisexual transgender community still look askance at the Trump presidency.

"People are still scared. There is still an element of Not My President," McGaffey said.


County and education reporter

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