For the nearly three dozen GOP women and men gathered at the Auburn Area Elks Lodge, the moment held nothing of the despair seen in the Bay Area and much of California, where more than 60 percent of its voters backed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. For them, this was a victory that's been all too long in coming.
"I'm very moved," said Bev Bowen of Auburn, a member of the Auburn Area Republican Women Federated, which hosted the lunchtime gathering. "I love (Trump's) confidence, the change he's going to do for us and his throwing government back to the people. He's just a genuine person."
The delayed showing of Trump's inauguration and speech was a rerun for the GOP faithful at the lunch, most of whom had been up early to watch the new president take the oath of office live at just past 9 a.m. Pacific time. But it's impossible to have too much of a good thing, said Leah Cavanaugh of Foresthill, the club's president.
"I watched this at home in my slippers and robe, but now I can see it surrounded by friends sharing my joy and optimism of what's ahead for the country," she said.
Members applaud after watching a taping of the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump during a meeting of the Auburn Area Republican Women Federated, at the Elks Lodge in Auburn, Ca., on Friday Jan. 20, 2017. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Members applaud after watching a taping of the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump during a meeting of the Auburn Area Republican Women Federated, at the Elks Lodge in Auburn, Ca., on Friday Jan. 20, 2017.
The Auburn club is the picture of grassroots Republicanism. A GOP organization since the 1930s, it brings together a group of mostly older members who meet in a hall featuring two huge stuffed elk heads and an aging wooden clock featuring the outline of an elk.
Murriel Oles, the club's treasurer, spoke of the group's comfortable $3,852 bank balance, an anticipated $500 check from their fundraising for Wreaths Across America that will put the organization in the black by about $250 for 2016 and the annual dues notices that will go out this month or next: $25 for regular members and $10 for associates.
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President Donald Trump waves after taking the oath of office as his wife Melania holds the Bible, and Tiffany Trump looks out to the crowd, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Bourg/Pool Photo via AP)
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President-elect Donald J. Trump arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, for his presidential inauguration ceremony. (Doug Mills/Pool Photo via AP)
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For years, the Auburn club and others like it across the state have provided the foot soldiers for GOP campaigns, with members who stuff envelopes, make phone calls and knock on doors for Republican candidates.
The deep Republican red of Placer County, even combined with its GOP-leaning neighbors in the state's far north, the Sierra and the Central Valley, wasn't nearly enough to overcome the Democratic domination of the population centers along the coast. But Trump's triumph gave his California backers the last laugh.
More than 51 percent of the county's voters backed Trump, compared with 39 percent for Clinton. That's not a surprise, since the GOP holds a 45 percent to 29 percent registration advantage over Democrats in the county in the conservative foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
Still, it's frustrating for the inland Republicans to know that they're always going to be outvoted in California by the far more liberal coastal counties. Many of the GOP faithful in Placer County spent hours of campaign time on the phone trying to cajole swing-state voters to support Trump, rather than on the hopeless task of trying to turn California red.
Not all the Placer County Republicans started out as Trump supporters.
"I liked (Ohio Gov. John) Kasich," said Cavanaugh, who admitted that Trump's win over Clinton came as a total surprise.
"I was working at the polls all day, so I couldn't keep up on what was going on," she said. "But when we were closing up, I checked my phone and saw that Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and others were going for Trump. I couldn't believe it. It was a very pleasant shock."
Oles, a Loomis resident, was with Trump from the start, saying that his book "The Art of the Deal" convinced her years ago that he was someone who could get things done.
"I didn't even care what his political affiliation was back then, but I started following his career," she said.
Oles wasn't surprised at Trump's election, since she had heard from plenty of people — regular people, not political junkies, she emphasized — who were disgusted with the gridlock in Washington and the Democrats and Republicans in charge. They wanted change, and Trump was their vessel.
"I had people tell me that they wouldn't put on a Trump bumper strip or put up a yard sign, but they were going to vote for him," she said.
Cari Dawson, (center) and Ann Schueler, (right) discuss the Inauguration of Donald Trump as they watch a replay of the event during meeting of the Auburn Area Republican Women Federated, at the Elks Lodge in Auburn, Ca., on Friday Jan. 20, 2017. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Cari Dawson, (center) and Ann Schueler, (right) discuss the Inauguration of Donald Trump as they watch a replay of the event during meeting of the Auburn Area Republican Women Federated, at the Elks Lodge in Auburn, Ca., on Friday Jan. 20, 2017.
When the video of the inauguration was played, the upbeat crowd took advantage of the offer to "feel free to applaud at the appropriate time."
The cheers started when Trump recited the oath of office and heard "Hail to the Chief" played for him for the first time. It continued during his 16-minute speech, as he promised to rebuild the country and vowed that he wasn't moving power from one administration or party to another, "but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people."
There were mutters of "That's right" when Trump proclaimed, "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people."
There was more applause for the new president's call to buy American and hire American as two new rules for the country.
But the loudest applause came when Trump said that Americans shouldn't fear the future, because the country will not just be protected by its military and law enforcement, but "most importantly, we are protected by God."
For most of the folks in the room, Republicans to the bone, the inauguration — video repeat or not — was a joyous moment, marking the end to eight years of Democratic rule and the start of what promises to be a new, more conservative future.
The expectations in Auburn weren't much different from what Trump and Republicans said throughout the campaign: a more conservative Supreme Court, an end to Obamacare, a focus on jobs and the economy, new respect from countries around the world.
But underlying it all was the hope that Trump will be able to bring the change he promised, that the man who prides himself in not being a politician can change the country's political atmosphere.
"I wish him good luck and hope he does what he says he will," said Bowen.