Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday and shared a message of unity that brought a sense of optimism to San Diego area Democrats and was welcomed by San Diego's lone Republican congress member.
“Today, I am filled with a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the future of our country under the leadership of President Joe Biden and, my friend, Vice President Kamala Harris," said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, a Democrat who worked with Harris in his previous time as California assembly member.
President Joe Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021
"San Diego is ready to stand with this new administration as true partners as we rebuild our nation. Now it is time for all of us to come together, heal and move forward," Gloria went on to say.
Biden's inaugural address was written with the theme "America United," which was a welcome message to Americans who witnessed insurrectionists siege the U.S. Capitol -- where Biden was sworn in on Wednesday -- leaving five dead just weeks ago.
"Few people in our nation's history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we are in now," Biden said in his address, highlighting the pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 400,000, a fight for racial justice, a rise in political extremism and a climate crisis.
"To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul, and to secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: Unity. Unity."
Democratic Congressmember Sara Jacobs (CA-53), who attended the inauguration, echoed Biden's message that democracy has prevailed.
"I take heart from President Biden’s message this afternoon, that our nation is stronger than the forces that wish to divide us. And I’m looking forward to working with him to do the hard work necessary to repair our frayed community," she said in part.
Three former Presidents attended Biden's inauguration -- Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- but notably missing was Donald Trump, who became the first president in modern history to boycott his successor's inauguration.
San Diego Rep. Darrell Issa, a staunch Trump supporter who two weeks ago was one of 147 Republicans who voted to challenge certification of the results of the Nov. 3 election, touted Inauguration Day as "a celebration of our enduring democracy."
"I have known President Biden for more than 20 years, I welcome his words of unity, and the country stands to benefit if he keeps the promises he made during the campaign to bring us together. Today is also a time to pray for our nation and its success. May God continue to bless America," Issa said in a written statement.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49) noted the tumultuous four years under a Trump presidency -- without actually naming the former president -- that made Biden's calls for unity a welcome change.
"After four painstaking years, we now have leaders in the White House who will serve all Americans with dignity, honor, and respect. President Biden will seek to unite and heal our country, which is in mourning from a pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 400,000 Americans and an attack on our democracy that tested our nation," Levin wrote in a statement. "He understands the pain that Americans are feeling, and he’s prepared to lead us out of the health and economic crises we face."
Both Levin and Jacobs also celebrated Harris' history-making swearing in, who on Wednesday became the first woman vice president and first Black and South Asian person to hold the title.
"I am proud of the many historical barriers she has shattered and know she is ready to lead and will be a critical partner for President Biden in confronting the profound challenges ahead of us," Levin said.
Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) said Biden who attended the inauguration with his youngest daughter, called Harris' inauguration " historic win for girls and women of color, who will finally see themselves represented in the White House."
He also said Biden "will work for all Americans, no matter where they came from, what they look like, or who they love. I trust that the new administration will do everything in their power to guide us to be more united and put America first."
Rep. Scott Peters, (CA-53) said the inauguration "marks a new beginning for our country."
On Biden's first day in office, he signed a series of executive actions — on the pandemic, climate, immigration and more — to undo the heart of Trump's agenda. His first 100 days are expected to be just as ambitious as he attempts to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and to address COVID-19 vaccine distribution.