ST. PAUL -- Despite the still-raging pandemic and size limits enforced on the ceremony, most of the Upper Midwest’s congressional delegation attended the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Jan. 20, while a few stayed home.
The inauguration came just two weeks after extremist supporters of now former-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, violently breaking into the building to disrupt Congress’s certification of Biden’s victory. On Wednesday, Biden stood before the Capitol, took his oath of office and said he aims to unite the country during a deeply polarized time.
Also standing before the Capitol on Wednesday was Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who had a particularly high-profile role in the day’s festivities: As the senior-most Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, she and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, spearheaded the ceremony’s planning and both delivered remarks.
Harking back on the Jan. 6 violence, Klobuchar said the rioters “desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans.”
“This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America always does: goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” she said to applause.
Klobuchar was the first to introduce Biden as president before he took the stage to deliver his inaugural address. And before U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered Harris’s oath of office, Klobuchar noted that the two women are, respectively, the country’s first Latina supreme court justice and first African American, Asian American and woman vice president in history.
The majority of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation attended the ceremony in Washington. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., opted to watch the ceremony on television from home in Minnesota, according to a written statement.
A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., did not respond to repeated questions on his whereabouts, and Hagedorn did not issue a congratulatory statement for Biden, instead denouncing his first-day executive orders. Hagedorn was one of two Minnesota Republicans to vote against the certification of Biden’s win on Jan. 6 (District 7’s U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach being the second).
The Republican Governors of North Dakota and South Dakota, Doug Burgum and Kristi Noem, both attended in-person. Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Tim Walz did not attend, instead staying in-state, per a spokesperson.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-South Dakota, also attended the ceremony. In a tweeted statement, he said he was praying for Biden and Harris “on this historic day.”
“I hope that we can find common ground in the years ahead and work toward an even stronger future for the country and South Dakota,” he said.
North Dakota, Republican U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer was seen before the ceremony chatting with U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, who led the opposition to certifying the 2020 election results in the Senate on Jan. 6. Cramer, who voted to certify the election, in a Wednesday written statement congratulated Biden and Harris.
“While I did not vote for him or support his campaign, I appreciate President Biden’s desire to be a President for all Americans, and I look forward to working with him on issues where we agree and to having spirited debates on policies where we differ,” Cramer said.
A historic day. Congratulations, President Biden and Vice President Harris. I look forward to building a strong partnership and tackling the many challenges ahead, together.— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) January 20, 2021
Well, that was great.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 20, 2021
"And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. We witnessed and weathered a nation that isn’t broken, simply unfinished." --Amanda Gorman pic.twitter.com/CfOigLLd5C— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) January 20, 2021
It is such an incredible honor to attend today’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with my wife Cheryl.— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) January 20, 2021
I feel hopeful and determined to do everything I can in the 117th Congress to help my constituents in #MN02. pic.twitter.com/W4slzP6ObC
At this very place fourteen days ago, I bore witness to the remarkable fragility of democracy. But today, I was reminded of its strength and limitless possibility. pic.twitter.com/gUHw64MSEh— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) January 20, 2021
The peaceful transition of power is a pillar of our republic. Today, I attended the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and am hopeful that we will find the common ground needed to strengthen the future of our nation. pic.twitter.com/XdTAglO49u— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) January 20, 2021
Thank you, President Trump, for serving our country these past four years and for always putting America First.— Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach (@RepFischbach) January 20, 2021
Congratulations, President Biden. We have much work to do on behalf of the American people.
Attending the Presidential Inauguration today with my friend @JGeorge49. For the good of this nation, I wish the incoming President the best of luck and I stand ready to find common ground with the Biden Administration when possible in order to move this country forward. pic.twitter.com/yBX5lPiACu— Pete Stauber (@RepPeteStauber) January 20, 2021
.@FirstLadyND and I are honored to be representing North Dakota with fellow governors at today’s inauguration, as we did in 2017. And we’re deeply grateful for the @NDNationalGuard’s service and presence here in Washington, D.C.— Gov. Doug Burgum (@DougBurgum) January 20, 2021
Congratulations to @POTUS and @VP.— Sen. Kevin Cramer (@SenKevinCramer) January 20, 2021
While I didn’t vote for him, I appreciate President Biden’s desire to be a President for all Americans.
I look forward to working with him on issues where we agree and to having spirited debates on policies where we differ.#Inauguration https://t.co/y3mz5IDgva
As we witness the swearing in of Joe Biden as the 46th @POTUS, we continue to pray for the success of our nation. While President Biden will bring a different agenda to the White House, we will continue to focus on advancing North Dakota’s priorities in the Senate.— Senator John Hoeven (@SenJohnHoeven) January 20, 2021
Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.— Congressman Kelly Armstrong (@RepArmstrongND) January 20, 2021
Now we must come together to tackle the challenges facing our nation and advance policies for the betterment of all Americans.
Praying for our new president, Joe Biden, our new vice president, Kamala Harris, and our entire country on this historic day. I hope that we can find common ground in the years ahead and work toward an even stronger future for the country and South Dakota. #Inauguration2021— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) January 20, 2021
My full statement on the Inauguration of President Biden: pic.twitter.com/l4nc5JY0ie— Senator Mike Rounds (@SenatorRounds) January 20, 2021