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Conflicted US capital prepares to host Trump's inauguration

Agencies | Updated: 2017-01-20 10:48

Conflicted US capital prepares to host Trump's inauguration

Carolyn Hanna, a supporter of US President-elect Donald Trump from the Bahamas, smiles during an Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, US, January 19, 2017, one day before Trump's inauguration as the nation's 45th president. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Rob Cortis calls it the "Trump Unity Bridge" - a bulky, metal 45-foot structure welded to two wheels and bedecked with red, white and blue signs echoing President-elect Donald Trump's campaign themes.

He has towed it more than 20,000 miles (32,000 km) across the country. But as he arrived in Washington on the eve of Trump's inauguration on Friday as America's 45th president, he struggled to navigate the city's crowded potholed streets.

"I've been on dirt roads that are smoother," said Cortis, who lives in Michigan.

Things are no smoother for Washington - a city with a history of welcoming its White House occupants - following one of the most polarizing elections in modern US politics. Nowhere in the country did the Republican Trump get less support, winning just 4 percent of the vote in the District of Columbia in the Nov. 8 election.

On K Street, best known for its well-heeled lobbyists, about 200 protesters chanted: "No Trump ... no fascist USA." Nearby, Trump supporters - some draped in red, white and blue shirts, hats and jackets - declared their unwavering support for the New York businessman.

Denise Hendrickson, 51, a nurse who moved to Washington when Democratic President Barack Obama took office eight years ago, walked the streets on Thursday with a sign thanking him for his service and proclaiming: "We Already Miss U." As she moved down the sidewalk, she invited Trump supporters to talk, promising hugs to anyone who was willing.

One man wearing Trump's signature red "Make America Great Again" hat just smiled, took a picture and moved on. Then a middle-aged woman, also in Trump gear, approached to talk. After a few minutes, the two women hugged.

"This city is bummed out, it's a Democratic city," Hendrickson said.

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