COMMENTARY: Donald Trump’s inauguration brings back memories of father’s invite to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan


As you’re reading this, I’ll be in Washington, D.C., as a guest of President-elect Donald Trump at the inauguration. I’m proud and honored to have made the list of President-elect Trump’s “Friends and Family.” It’s been quite a journey.

I was the first and perhaps only national political commentator to endorse Donald Trump in June 2015. I stuck with him and publicly predicted his victory in the media when no one else thought it possible.

Being here in Washington, D.C., as our new president’s guest will be an experience of a lifetime.

It brings me back to my childhood. My dad was a blue-collar butcher. But he was no ordinary butcher. David Root was a Jewish Republican butcher from Brownsville, Brooklyn who became one of the founding members of the New York state Conservative Party. My dad and his fellow Conservative Party leaders took a huge gamble and endorsed a long-shot for president back in 1980. The political experts said they were delusional. They said an old washed-up, B-movie actor could never be president. They said he was too old. The Conservative Party of New York became the first major organization to endorse Ronald Reagan.

Soon after Reagan’s election, my father the blue-collar butcher, opened the mail one day to find a formal invitation to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. It was his prized possession, his proudest achievement. It was framed and displayed in his living room until the day he died in 1992. My dad David died loving my mom Stella, his wife of almost 50 years, his children and Ronald Reagan.

Thirty-seven years after my father was invited to President Reagan’s inauguration, his son is attending the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

If you don’t think I’ll have tears in my eyes in Washington, you don’t know the Root family.

The difference is my dad never went to Reagan’s inauguration. He was the owner of a two-man butcher store. He couldn’t get away. He couldn’t imagine closing the store. His customers depended on him. He couldn’t let them down. Nor could he afford to close the store for four days to get away to Washington, D.C. He had a family to feed. So my dad settled for that framed invitation in his living room as proof that a blue-collar butcher had been invited to the inauguration of the president of the United States.

Only in America.

This time, 37 years later, history repeats. I may not be a blue-collar butcher, but I am a Las Vegas small businessman. But this next generation of the Root family wouldn’t miss this inauguration for the world. I’m taking the week off and heading to Washington, D.C. Pinch me.

My dad believed in Ronald Reagan. He taught me to believe too — in God, in myself, in America, in capitalism, in conservatism. Those guiding bedrock principles have never failed me.

Thank you, dad.

My dad was among the first to see something special in Ronald Reagan when no one else did. I saw something special almost four decades later in Donald Trump. I spent 18 months calling him “our generation’s Reagan.” Even most Republicans said I was out of my mind. They said Trump and Reagan had nothing in common.

I replied,”They have everything in common — they are both dynamic, charismatic, telegenic entertainers and communicators; they are masters at using the media to get their message out; they are master storytellers; they love America; they resonate with average, middle-class Americans; and the foundation of both of their agendas is low taxes, low regulations, pro-business, more power to the people and always America first.

When Donald Trump takes the oath of office tomorrow, it will turn around the failing Obama economy and change America forever, just as Ronald Reagan’s election turned around a failing Jimmy Carter economy and changed America forever.

Trump and Reagan will be forever linked in history … and in the history of the Root family.

Wayne Allyn Root (Wayne @ROOTforAmerica.com) is a best-selling author and host of “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 790 Talk Now. His column appears Thursday and Sunday.