Maryland preps for a busy inauguration and protest weekend in January

In the Carroll County community of Manchester, Christopher Tomlinson is planning his trip to Washington Jan. 20 to see the inauguration of Donald J. Trump.

The 30-year-old went to four Trump rallies in 2016, and "thought I should be there to complete the journey."


In the Mount Washington neighborhood of Baltimore, Jennifer Downs is helping to organize four busfuls of women to go to the Women's March on Washington, a demonstration scheduled for the day after the inauguration to promote inclusion and multiculturalism — values they say are under attack by Trump and his supporters.

"We feel we're making a strong statement," she said.


Marylanders on both sides are heading to Washington this month.

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are scheduled to take the oath of office at noon Jan. 20 before the Capitol. Trump is scheduled to deliver an address, attend a luncheon, then parade up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Inaugural balls follow in the evening.

Some 800,000 are expected to attend the inauguration, according to planners. A record 1.8 million are estimated to have attended President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009.

More than 150,000 people have indicated on Facebook that they plan to attend the women's march the next day. Organizers hope it "will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights."

Melissa Deckman, a political scientist at Washington College, expects more people in deep-blue Maryland to turn out for the women's march.

"I don't know if I see a lot of people lining up to go to the inauguration," Deckman said. "My sense from social media is that a lot of people are coming in to protest. I would suspect that there's going to be a heavy presence of progressives going to D.C. for the march."

Joe Cluster, the former executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, expects a large turnout in general for the inauguration.

"I believe there will be a lot of enthusiasm for that day," he said. "It was a very interesting election. It wasn't a traditional election."


As in past years, weather could help local people decide whether to attend the events.

Tomlinson, who volunteered on the Senate campaign of Maryland Republican Kathy Szeliga, said he brought his girlfriend, his grandmother and others to Trump's rallies, where he said he thrived on the energy.

Going to the inauguration has been "an idea in my head since it looked like he was going to win the primary," he said.

Tomlinson plans to go to Washington the night before and stay with a friend or get a hotel room. He plans to wear his "Make America Great Again" hat.

"This is the first presidential election that I've been involved in and have actually seen a Republican win, so I'm pretty excited about that," Tomlinson said.

The MARC train, which operates on a first-come, first-served basis, is running a special schedule on Jan. 20. MARC is also adding extra train cars on the Penn Line for the 21st.


The Washington Metro is selling commemorative one-day passes for people planning to attend the inauguration and special round-trip passes for $20. The one-day passes cost $10 and are good for unlimited rides on Inauguration Day. Metro is urging people to buy them in advance to avoid the possibility of long lines at station vending machines.

Charter bus companies in the Baltimore area say they've seen a bump in bookings for that weekend.

Kangaroo Coach in Halethorpe has booked five buses to go to the women's march, company President Richard Nadolski said. Nadolski speculated that the women's march would attract more local attendees, and the inauguration would attract more people from around the country.

"Our customers are our customers," Nadolski said. "We're not going to make any judgments."

Area hotels are filling up. Judy Wilbur, the director of sales and marketing at the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor, said the hotel was fully reserved for the 20th and the 21st.

Downs, who is organizing women in Mount Washington to attend the march, said more than 200 people are set to ride four buses to Washington on Jan. 21.


Some women are elderly and will come with walkers, she said. Others are young. They plan to make signs that are "clever and make a point without attacking or damaging."

"We're excited," said Downs, 64. "We want to be a strong voice for what we feel are basic ways of being civil, honoring diversity. We want to model what we're looking for."

Caroline West, a 19-year-old student at the Johns Hopkins University, plans to take the MARC down to the Women's March. She hopes to link up with like-minded people there.

West, who is from Chattanooga, Tenn., attended an anti-Trump protest after the election and said it energized her.

"I feel like this election, possibly more than other elections we've had in the past, has revealed a very ugly side of our political system," she said. "I really want to show the world and show fellow Americans who no longer feel safe ... that we are not a country that stands for bigotry."

Al Mendelsohn, the chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, has attended inaugural events in the past. He plans to attend Trump's as long as the weather isn't too severe.


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"There's a real energy and people just want to be part of history," he said. Those protesting Trump's presidency probably feel a similar sense of history, he said.

"I think that's why a lot of protesters protest, not so much because they hear about the actual cause, but because they want to be at the big party," he said. "There's nothing inherently wrong with that."

Tony Campbell, a political scientist at Towson University, said he will drive and then take the Metro to the inauguration. As a professor, he said, attending will be an "intellectual exercise."

He called Trump's election "historic."

"For some folks it was historic in a good way," he said. "For some folks it was historic in a bad way. But it's historic."

The Associated Press and Tribune wire services contributed to this report.