What They Are Saying About the Inauguration of President Joe Biden

January 20, 2021 by Dan McCue
President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

WASHINGTON – The swearing in of President Joe Biden went off without incident Wednesday, despite fears that false claims of election fraud by President Donald Trump and others would cause armed demonstrations to erupt across the country.

In the end, massive deployments of National Guard troops and local police appeared to tamp down on any desire to protest, and as Biden took the oath of office at 11:48 a.m. Wednesday, the District of Columbia and cities across the nation were spared a repeat of the scenes that transpired at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.

According to the Associated Press, fewer than a half-dozen demonstrators showed up outside the capitols in Concord, N.H., and Lansing, Mich.

A lone protester wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat stood outside a chain-link fence surrounding the California Capitol in Sacramento, as dozens of police officers and National Guard troops guarded every entrance.

Three protesters were outside the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln, one waving a flag that read “Biden is not the president.”

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Ga., not a single protestor materialized outside the state capitol.

Michigan lawmakers canceled a session scheduled for Wednesday out of caution. But in Wisconsin, legislators planned to move ahead with a committee hearing that was to be open to the public.

So what did people have to say about the inauguration of the 46th president? We offer a sampling below:

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

Today is a day of renewal and rededication, a day when our new president has called on each of us as Americans to summon our resolve in the face of multiple crises and to confront them with unity and common purpose. 

In his address to the nation, President Biden urged an end to the divisive politics that have torn our country apart for years, reminding us that there is nothing we cannot achieve if we do so as one. No one is so naive to think that our deep divisions will now yield to full cooperation and consensus, but I am hopeful that the tone our new president has set will make the next four years a time of healing and reunification after such a period of conflict, crisis, and confrontation. 

All of us must play a part in making them so – especially those of us charged with representing the American people in Congress, because our constituents will be looking to us, keen to see whether we are able to set bitter partisanship aside and work together for the good of our nation.

This transfer of power, while not peaceful – as we saw in the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by armed insurrectionists incited by former President Trump – is nevertheless a reminder of the strength of our Constitution and our democracy. 

Today, the winner of the election was sworn into office and will exercise the executive authority entrusted to him under the law. Though our system of government was tested unlike at any time in its history, America has demonstrated once again that our Constitution works and our democracy is resilient.

This inauguration comes at a moment of mourning, loss, and anxiety for the future. More than 400,000 Americans have now died from a disease whose spread could have been prevented. The economic crisis created by this pandemic has left tens of millions of families struggling.The inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris today ought to bring a new confidence and reassurance to the people of our country that the days of failure and of haphazard decision-making will be replaced with experienced leadership and a science-based and fact-based response to these challenges.

I hope all Americans, no matter who they voted for last year, will join in praying for the success of our new president and vice president as they begin to confront the challenging tasks ahead, working in service to our country and in defense of our Constitution.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.

In this truly American moment, we begin anew. Democracy has won the day, and President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have met the moment.

Symbols matter. Words matter. Actions matter.

Today, this newly installed administration has declared a new day in America. They will lead by precept and example and restore the calmness and courage needed to lead us out of this era of crisis and combat.

Elected leaders on both sides of the aisle have come together today to celebrate this moment, and I am hopeful that is indicative of the days to come.

Now, it is time to begin moving again toward “a more perfect Union.”

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

After a year unlike any other – one that challenged each and every American – today, we begin a new chapter.

We join Americans nationwide in celebrating the resiliency of our democracy and an administration committed to uniting and uplifting a nation deeply scarred by divisiveness, extremism, and a pandemic that rages on after already claiming the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.

But today we feel hopeful. We are hopeful that we can get a life-saving vaccine to every American who still needs one. Hopeful that we can get much-needed assistance to the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy but struggling to make it to the other side of this pandemic.

We are hopeful that we can answer the call of heroes like Congressman John Lewis and redeem the soul of America by seeking justice and equal opportunity for all and replacing extremist beliefs with compassion and empathy. We are hopeful that with the support of the most diverse and inclusive cabinet in American history, we can ensure every American has the tools they need to succeed – what we in DC call a fair shot. And, finally, we are hopeful that we can fulfill the long overdue promise of democracy to generations of Washingtonians by making Washington, DC the 51st state.

Today, the 712,000 residents of the District of Columbia welcome President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy

Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Now we must get to work to solve the challenges facing our country. We are all Americans, and together we will succeed, as we have for more than 230 years.

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, D-Mass.

Today is a new beginning for America. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris represent the strength of our democracy and an opportunity to repair and rebuild our nation. 

After four years of conflict, corruption and chaos, the American people chose hope and healing. The new administration, in partnership with a Democratic House and Senate, will bring solutions and an end to the great suffering afflicting our nation, from the devastation wrought by the pandemic to the deep pains of injustice.

Our work begins to rebuild a stronger, more just America where every family has a fair shot and where every person is treated with dignity and respect.

 While there are obstacles ahead of us, we will unite around progress. We will unite in action for climate justice, gender justice, and racial justice. We will unite in bringing to life America’s great promise: freedom for all.

 Let today stand as a clear message that if we honor truth and justice, democracy will always prevail.

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., chair of the New Democrat Coalition

Today begins a new chapter in American history. After a stormy, unpredictable, and at times dangerous period, today brings new light and hope for our future. This will be a future we can all share in. President Biden pledged to be a leader for all of America, just as the presidency was intended, and that should bring us all comfort. We must also celebrate the historic nature of this administration with the first woman, first Black American, and first American of Indian descent sworn in as vice president today.

This administration arrives at a moment when the United States is being tested like never before. We are facing a deadly pandemic that has gone unchecked and killed 400,000 Americans, an economic crisis that is disproportionately shouldered by communities of color, women, and rural Americans, disinformation from those both foreign and domestic that seek to disrupt our democracy, and a global climate crisis that threatens future generations and the future of our planet.

President Biden and Vice President Harris are the leaders we need in this historic moment, not only to tackle these challenges with facts, experience, and integrity but also to build us back better than before and renew the American dream that so many have been shut out of for decades.

 As the chair of the New Democrat Coalition, I am ready to partner with this administration to move our country forward. I encourage all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to commit to working together in good faith for our collective future. The road ahead is long and difficult but we all took our oaths of office to leave our nation better than we found it.

 It’s time to get to work.

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass.

After four years of division and chaos, dignity and empathy have returned to the White House.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will lead us out of the darkness of this moment, by bringing us together to fight the coronavirus pandemic and heal the soul of our nation.

In the years ahead we will make historic progress and build a safer, stronger, more equitable country. I’m looking forward to all that lies ahead for America under the Biden-Harris Administration.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

We have two things to sustain our nation this morning from our new president.

First, disagreement cannot lead to disunion.

Second, we will get through this together.

What we needed on this sunny morning in our nation’s capital, we have received.

Congratulations, Mr. President.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott

I want to extend my sincere congratulations and best wishes to the president and vice president on their swearing-in to lead our nation.

The challenges we face are great: confronting a global pandemic and its economic fallout; strengthening America’s position in the world and our alliances; combating systemic racism; addressing climate change; building a stronger and more diverse economy that reduces economic inequality for all Americans in every community; and so much more.

But perhaps the most challenging task before them will be healing our deeply, and dangerously, divided country. President Biden campaigned on bringing people together, working across the aisle and uniting our nation – that is how he earned my vote.

After years of intentional division and polarization, driven by the extremes, it is essential that he delivers on that promise – even in the face of the very hostility he has pledged to address. We simply cannot go on like we have if we want America to remain ‘the last best hope on Earth.’

I wish the new administration success and will do whatever I can to help move our country forward.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Today marks a new chapter for our country as we welcome President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the White House.

It is an especially extraordinary moment for our nation to celebrate the historic swearing-in of our first female, Black and Asian vice president — and the incredibly diverse cabinet that President Biden has nominated.

Our government should be reflective of the people it represents, and now Americans across the country will see themselves in the people holding leadership positions.

We have waited a long time to have a strong, competent and trustworthy partner we can work with at the federal level — and now more than ever, we need that federal leadership to help states beat COVID-19, once and for all.

As we still face what could be the darkest days of the pandemic, President Biden has laid out a strong vision and clear plan, based on science, for how the federal government will help the American people, and governors across the country — starting with the announcement of a much-needed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

I look forward to working with the president, vice president and Congress on getting this ground-breaking package across the finish line.

I also look forward to working with the new Congress on their For the People Act, which would establish Vote-By-Mail and Automatic Voter Registration nationally.

Election after election, here in Oregon, we set the example for our country. Our 30-year-old Vote-by-Mail system took a turn on the national stage as states across the country shifted to voting by mail, and voting early, to enable people to vote safely and securely.

Now, the work begins to make that permanent. I am so very proud that Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Amy Klobuchar have crafted this comprehensive legislation, which will be the first bill taken up by the new Congress.

If passed, this bill will require the reforms we started in Oregon to be adopted by every state in the country. Automatic Voter Registration and Vote-By-Mail should be available to every citizen in this country.

I hope that all of you will join me in supporting the passage of the For the People Act in the Senate. Because, the right to vote is fundamental — and it is sacred.

While there are many challenges ahead, on this historic day I remain hopeful. We are determined as ever to rise, rebuild, and reinvent a more just and equitable country.

The Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairs Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.

Today, the Problem Solvers Caucus congratulates Joe Biden on being sworn in as our 46th President. Our nation is at a critical juncture: after a horrific assault on our Capitol, a raging pandemic, and families and small businesses hurting, millions of Americans are looking for our country to come together.

These historic circumstances have left the country vulnerable and divided. Restoring faith in our democratic institutions and rebuilding our economy will require all of us — regardless of party and at every level of government — to set aside our differences, bind our wounds, and commit to doing the hard work of bipartisan lawmaking. This means standing up against political extremism and putting country ahead of party.

The Problem Solvers Caucus stands ready and eager to work with President Biden on this effort. If we can commit to working across the aisle and collaborating on a genuine bipartisan agenda, the opportunities are endless.

Congress is narrowly divided in both the House and Senate. Bipartisan solutions will be the only way to enact meaningful legislation and address the many challenges plaguing our country.

We congratulate and look forward to working with President Biden and his team to unite the country, defeat COVID-19, and create new economic opportunities to help our country recover and grow. The American people deserve no less.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas

Today, the world watched as our nation peacefully transferred power to a new president,” Burgess said. “I will continue to work to ensure that the priorities of the 26th District of Texas are accomplished as I hold President Biden and his administration accountable. I hope this administration will pursue bipartisan policies.

In the coming days, Washington needs to renew its commitment to the American people and end the partisan fighting.

NewDem Action Fund Chair Brad Schneider. D-Ill.

Today is a monumental day. Today, under President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we usher in a new era of American progress, one where everyone has the opportunity to earn a good life for themselves and their family.

Although the past year has been marked by significant loss and devastation for so many Americans, we now have the chance to heal and the opportunity to build America back better than ever before.

The challenges ahead are unquestionably great, from ending the pandemic and rebuilding the economy to combating climate change, addressing racial inequity, and reestablishing American leadership abroad. Thankfully, President Biden and Vice President Harris have the vision, courage, and experience to meet these challenges and lead us into a brighter future.

In November, voters elected pragmatic Democrats up and down the ballot because they were tired of the chaos and the gridlock. Our role as New Dems is to finally turn that page, ending the division that has held America back for far too long. New Dems look forward to working with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and a Democratic Senate to make real, bold progress for the American people.

Progressive Policy Institute President Will Marshall

Presidential inaugurations are usually festive occasions in which Americans celebrate the orderly and peaceful transition of power to new political leaders. With the coronavirus pandemic raging and thousands of troops on guard to deter violence by deranged followers of Donald Trump, that’s not exactly the mood in Washington today.

Overshadowed by these grotesque legacies of Trump’s presidency, the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris is a somber affair. Nonetheless, it’s a day of deliverance, and fresh hope, for America.

We are delivered from a pathological liar and demagogue who likely will go down in history as the most deformed character ever to occupy the White House. Our democracy has survived, though by an unnervingly narrow margin.

There will be much talk in the days ahead of healing, as there should be. President Biden wisely resists pressure from within his own party to govern in the same corrosive, zero-sum way that Trump and his Republican enablers have. The last thing America needs is for Democrats to join Republicans in fanning the flames of civil strife.

But before there can be reconciliation, there must be truth and accountability.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez

It’s a new day in America. At the same site where a violent mob attacked our democracy two weeks ago, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris just swore a solemn oath to serve this country to the best of their ability – a testament to the endurance of the greatest democratic experiment in the history of the world. And I have every confidence in the success of this new administration.

The challenges before our nation are many: We have a pandemic to battle, an economy to rebuild, a nation to unite and heal. The time has come for real leadership in the White House. The time has come to put the American people above partisanship.

The time has come for a presidency grounded in hope and compassion, facts and science; a presidency that celebrates our nation’s diversity and fights for our nation’s most vulnerable.

That’s what the American people voted for in November in record numbers. And that’s what we are going to see over the next four years. Grace. Dignity. Empathy. Under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian American woman to serve as our nation’s vice president, we have already made history, and now we will begin to build our nation back better.

Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y.

With all the pain, suffering, and loss we find ourselves in the midst of as a nation, I pray we can also find hope and inspiration in the new day brought forth with the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Today, little girls and children of color in America watched an Inauguration Ceremony and saw themselves being sworn in to lead our great nation into the future. Vice President Harris’ swearing-in is a testament to the promise of our nation and the ongoing perfection of our union.

I congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their historic swearing-in and look forward to working with their administration to end the coronavirus pandemic and build America back better. 

Residents of New York’s 19th district are counting on the Biden Administration to deliver federal COVID-19 relief to local governments, create good-paying jobs, provide affordable health care, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and protect our planet. As I continue to fight for upstate families, farmers, and small businesses all across NY-19, I’m eager to work with the White House to meet the challenges ahead, and in doing so, build a better future for all.

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