On Friday, the Kansans who came to Capitol Hill to support Donald Trump got to witness his inauguration. On Saturday, other Kansans gathered in the same place to protest him on another cool, gray January day.
Kansas voters chose Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in November 56 percent to 36 percent. Those who marched among hundreds of thousands of others on Saturday, many wearing pink hats and carrying clever signs, were clearly not in the first category.
“To those who voted for Donald Trump, I just say ‘why?’” said Jerusha Lofland, president of the National Organization for Women’s Wichita chapter.
Lofland and her daughter, Chris, a student at Northeast Magnet High School in Wichita, rode a charter bus with 50 others to Washington from Kansas.
As they got ready to head back home on Saturday evening, Lofland said she’d come to Washington thinking about the future more than the past.
“I think going back to Wichita, I’ll just feel like part of a much larger movement of women taking charge and standing up for our rights,” she said.
Other native Kansans participated in Saturday’s march for much the same reasons. They don’t like Trump’s statements about women.
“I find what he stands for and how he behaves really offensive,” said Mary Linn, who now works in Washington for the Smithsonian but attended Wichita East High School, Wichita State University and the University of Kansas.
Linn, who took a break while a sea of marchers streamed past the Washington Monument and the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, said she hadn’t met any Trump supporters from Kansas who had come to watch the inauguration.
“I would ask them to really think about how he behaves and whether they can really stand behind his words and his actions,” she said. “I don’t think I would be very verbally aggressive to them, but I’m disappointed at the same time.”
One of the Trump supporters who came to Washington was Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who tweeted several photos Friday of the ceremony. Based on those, he had pretty good seats, as did former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole. Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, endorsed Trump and advised his White House transition team.
Brownback, a former U.S. senator who’s midway through his second term as Kansas governor, is considered the nation’s least popular governor. He’s thought to be seeking a job in the Trump administration, though he hasn’t been officially nominated for one yet.
“To get Brownback out of Kansas would be good,” said Louisa Delnevo, a student at Lawrence High School, and the daughter of Linn’s best friend, also a Wichita native. “But to get him into D.C. would probably not be good.”
“He’s done so much damage in Kansas, I would really hate to see him do that much damage on a national level,” Linn said. “On the other hand, I’m relieved if he’s out of Kansas.”
Lofland, who has two daughters and six sisters, said she didn’t want to see a return to the past after a campaign in which Trump appealed to nostalgia for an America of the 1950s.
“I want my daughter to have more chances than I had, more chances than their grandmothers had,” she said. “I think we need to support women. They need all the resources they can to get them there.”
And, Lofland said it “felt really good” to have the support of so many men.
“I’ve never been with this large a group before,” she said. “It felt very safe. We were all supporting the same values system.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Jerusha Lofland’s last name.