New Zealand Herald social media producer Cam Carpenter was in the United States as Donald Trump was sworn in. He shares his take on the mood of California.

I touched down in America just a few days before Trump was sworn in and the magnitude of the division his presidency has caused was clear from the outset, especially between rural and urban California.

Driving between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Make America Great Again billboards scattered the countryside. The number of working poor in this area has risen in recent years in part because a drought has hit the farms and produce-packing factories. Trump won the support of these people as he vowed to divert more of the state's water to the farmers.

On the talkback radio station, callers spoke out about how Trump's presidency marked a new era for their America. They had bought into his promises of economic prosperity and jobs. The callers were truly hopeful about Trump's potential to turn their struggles into a fortune.


Just a few hours up the road from the drought-stricken struggle in rural California is the prosperity and glamour of Silicon Valley and San Francisco. It's a true democratic state and it was impossible to ignore the grim feeling towards Trump in the area.

This was most evident the day after Trump was sworn in when millions of people across America marched against Trump as part of the women's march.

I'd never seen anything like this protest. Despite it being freezing cold and pouring down with rain, more than 100,000 people left the comfort of their homes to march against their newly-elected president. The rain wasn't going to stop them and only appeared to pull people closer together.

Everyone had their own unique way of protesting. "Build bridges, not walls" was a common slogan for both signs and chants. Several more chanted "we want a leader, not a creepy tweeter".

What struck me most about the protest was the diversity of the crowd. There were families, suits, university students, all taking comfort in knowing they were not alone when it came to their views on Trump as president.

And the protests have not been limited to the traditional leftist groups. Recently big businesses including Apple and Twitter have spoken out about Trump's ban on refugees and citizens of majority Muslim countries.

As the days went by it became clear that Trump was committed to seeing through his election promises. Executive orders were signed and in a whirlwind two weeks he called for mass deportations and continued to unveil plans for his "big, beautiful, wall".

The Americans I spoke to in this true blue state were not surprised about any of this. They saw it coming and the animosity towards him is only growing. People were anxious about what was next, angry that he was their leader and frustrated that this was their new reality.

Trump said in his victory speech that "it's time for America to bind the wounds of division". However, since his election, the divide across the country only appears to be growing and Trump's promise to unify is showing no sign of ever happening.