KUNM

A Young Republican On The Inauguration And Future Under President Trump

Jan 21, 2017
Originally published on January 21, 2017 12:27 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And back to inaugural news. We're joined now by Will Estrada. He's chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee in Virginia. Mr. Estrada was at yesterday's inauguration. Thanks very much for joining us.

WILL ESTRADA: Thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: Well, help us understand how you felt to be there.

ESTRADA: You know, it was incredible. It was, I believe, history in the making. As you can tell from my voice, I lost my voice yesterday, first cheering on our elected leaders and the peaceful transfer of power and then later on at the inaugural ball. But just to see so many tens of thousands - probably hundreds of thousands - of my fellow Americans. And then when President Trump said, this is about giving power back to the people, taking it away from D.C., I think that really resonated with everyone from what they heard about on the campaign trail.

SIMON: Yeah. You heard the inauguration speech, where - it sounded like a campaign speech. Were you - did you want something else, too, at the same time?

ESTRADA: You know, it actually sounded very different from a campaign speech. I had been at one of the campaign speeches, the one that he held on August 2 in Ashburn, Va., right here in my county. I'd watched many other speeches online and in the news. And I think this was a speech where he didn't speak to political parties. He spoke to all of us as Americans. He talked about a vision of helping everyone, whether it's our school kids who are suffering in failing schools or whether it's our minorities communities in the inner city or whether it's people in the Rust Belt.

And that was a message, I believe, of hope, of - I've heard you. And I believe Washington, D.C., has heard you, as well. And we are going to never forget you. And so if you're looking at it that he wasn't talking either Republican or Democrat but talking to Americans, it was an incredible speech, an incredible moment, I think, in American political history.

SIMON: Mr. Estrada, I have to ask you as a young, conservative, Latino Republican - and I happen to know you have an interracial family - how do you feel about the fact you've got all these people in President Trump's cabinet and not a single Latino?

ESTRADA: Well, you know, as a Latino, I always love to see other Latinos in government. But at the end of the day, I'm an American. I'm a conservative. I don't want people to be measured and selected because of their nationality or race or gender. I want people to be selected...

SIMON: But, I mean, surely, there were a lot of very qualified and intelligent and capable Latinos.

ESTRADA: Oh, absolutely.

SIMON: Yeah.

ESTRADA: And there are many of my friends who are being hired in positions as we speak, who are, I think, in the next couple of weeks going to be coming up for Senate confirmation - maybe not cabinet-level positions but other high-ranking positions. But at the end of the day, I want to see the best people that can work with this administration. They can work for America's, you know, best in the position. And that's more important to me than nationality or were race or where you come from.

SIMON: Do you agree with what President Trump said about borders?

ESTRADA: I do. Now, my family history is Puerto Rican. So we're U.S. citizens. I have many friends who are of Mexican, of Cuban descent. But ultimately, my wife is of Korean descent. Her mom was born in Korea, came here legally. You know, we want to welcome people to come to our country. But if we don't start with the rule of law - if we don't start with respect for our laws - I think it gets people off on the wrong foot.

Now, ultimately, you know, how you handle immigration reform - and I think we'll be seeing something from the Trump administration shortly - there's a political process in our country. We'll figure out what's best. But I think it's important that we remember that a nation has borders.

SIMON: Give me another issue that you hope President Trump takes on in the next hundred days.

ESTRADA: Well, my other two top issues and, in fact, why I voted for Mr. Trump in part are repealing Obamacare. I know so many people who have seen their premiums go up, who - health care is basically out of reach for them financially, despite what President Obama had promised. So that's a huge issue. And then getting a conservative justice who doesn't look at politics but who looks at the U.S. Constitution on the Supreme Court - those are other - two other incredibly important things for me and, I think, for many Americans.

SIMON: Will Estrada, who's chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee in Virginia, thanks so much for being with us.

ESTRADA: It was a pleasure, Scott. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.