CINCINNATI -- Despite the atypical (for him) addition of a teleprompter, President Donald Trump’s inaugural address sounded very much like any speech his supporters might have heard at a campaign rally - - rife with aggressive promises to rebuild a country he believes is crumbling, disavowal of the political establishment and apocalyptic images of "American carnage" and "rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones" across the nation.
For Shamone Spikes, the familiarity was unwelcome: The Northern Kentucky University student said he had hoped that President Trump would be a different figure from candidate Trump.
"The world is in your hand, and you can’t say the stuff that you were saying in campaign," Spikes said. "You can’t say that in the White House."
Many students like Spikes at Greater Cincinnati’s colleges and universities paused throughout their day to watch the inaugural ceremony and celebrations on TV, and some came away with the same view of the tone struck by the new Commander-in-Chief.
"He wants to scare people," said Samuel Buettner, a student at Xavier University. "He wants people to think he is our savior."
And Steven Jones, an NKU student from Louisville, said he was scared that an unpredictable leader might mean an unpredictable future for the country.
But Austin Rizzo and Chris Riehl, both fellow NKU students, said they had hope.
"I personally didn’t vote for him, but I’m really excited to see what the next four years hold," Rizzo said.
Riehl said that wading into uncharted waters counted as a positive.
"We’re starting a new time period for America," he said. "We don’t have a career politician being president anymore."
Sean Comer, Xavier University’s government relations director for the College of Arts and Sciences, said that very rebuke of career politicians was the most surprising part of the inaugural address.
"He came in with a lot of them, shaking their hands and thanked (Obama) for how great he has been in his two-month transition, and then turned around and said, ‘You all have been terrible for eight years,'" Comer said, laughing. "He didn’t say Democrats or Republicans, he just said politicians have gotten more and people have gotten less."
As far as governing is concerned, Comer said, the country will have to wait and see how well the new president performs. But as far as public speaking is concerned, he thought Trump performed well.
"For him, it was a pretty good speech," Comer said.