LANSING, N.Y. — A group of local Republicans is hosting a ‘Make America Great Again’ party Friday morning in Lansing in celebration of President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States of America.

“This country — we’ve got to give him a chance,” Lansing organizer Chuck Reed said. “You’ve got to give a guy a chance.”

Reed, like many Trump supporters, said he does not stand with everything Trump said while he was on the campaign trail — he even voted for former presidential candidate Ted Cruz in the primary.

“He (Trump) has said some things I don’t agree with…not defensible,” Reed said.

But when election day rolled around, he cast a ballot for Trump, never genuinely thinking the candidate would get elected.

So he and a group of about two dozen conservative friends decided to have a patriotic-style election night watch at Flynn’s Roadhouse Cafe on 1928 East Shore Drive in Lansing. The group watched results roll in and blasted patriotic music.

Reed — a Gulf War Marine Veteran — is especially fond of the song “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, the first song he heard while exiting a plane as he came back stateside from Germany after being in Saudi Arabia in 1991.

“We didn’t think it was actually going to happen,” he said about Trump’s win.

But kicking the Democrats out of the White House is the “end of an era” for a Democratic party that he says has been hijacked by extreme leftists.

Reed, 55, is originally from Massachusetts and was a Democrat for nearly his entire life. But about 15 years ago, he became a Republican.

“The Democratic party is not the Democratic party I grew up in,” he said.

Reed said he recognizes major problems in the country, such as an inadequate minimum wage, crime in low-income urban areas and immigration.

But he says Democratic solutions, like increasing minimum wage by about 50 percent and creating Sanctuary cities — is unrealistic.

He said he understands people’s concerns about Trump. He first joked about laughing at liberal tears, but acknowledged that he knows there are minority groups of people who fear for their safety and the revocation of their rights.

“I understand their worries, but a lot of their worries are unsubstantiated,” Reed said. “We have to have a real conversation.”

For instance, he pointed to a recent segment by liberal commentator Rachael Maddow, who questioned (or joked?) whether Trump would put her or others in an internment camp.

He said that kind of talk is just fear-mongering by the left.

Part of the real conversation he hopes to have, though, is going to be holding Trump to task over the next four years. Reed said he doesn’t mean the flip-flopping that has happened by multiple candidates during the campaign. He said he’s concerned with what Trump is actually going to do.

On Friday, Reed said, “I’m going to look for a lot in that speech…”

He said that regardless of who won the election, the first thing any new president should focus on doing is the same: “They were going to have to bring this country back together.”

The Make America Great Again party kicks off around 11:30 a.m. Friday at Flynn’s Roadhouse Cafe on 1928 East Shore Drive in Lansing.

Featured photo courtesy of Flickr.

Correction: This article initially incorrectly reported Reed’s age. He is 55, not 57. 

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.