HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In his address after being sworn into a second term Monday, Gov. David Ige criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policy and said the direction being set by Washington, D.C. is “troubling.”
“These are exciting times full of wonderful changes and great opportunities. But they are also dangerous times — not just for Hawaii, but for our nation and the principles upon which this country was founded,” Ige said.
He added, “When did it become OK to tear gas men, women and children for wanting a better future for themselves?”
Ige has been a vocal critic of President Trump, and Trump in turn has publicly seethed over Hawaii’s legal challenges to several White House initiatives.
But it is unusual for a governor to use an inaugural speech — typically a preview for the State of the State address — to criticize a sitting president.
Ige’s comments on the Trump administration were near the end of his speech, and drew applause from attendees.
Hawaii News Now has reached out to the Hawaii Republican Party for a response.
It’s worth noting that Ige never actually mentioned the president.
But he did point to the president’s widely-used campaign slogan in his remarks.
“There are some who talk about making America great again, but who do not understand the source of its greatness: its broad and diverse peoples,” Ige said. “We are a nation of immigrants, and Hawaii is one of its brightest examples of what is possible when we work together — when we celebrate our differences and our common heritage.”
He continued, “Hawaii offers a better alternative to the direction being set by our leaders in Washington. That’s why I believe our legacy will also rest on how we respond to these unsettling and troubling times.”
Ige took the oath of office around noon, followed by Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Hundreds of supporters attended the swearing-in ceremony, during which Ige also set the tone for his final four years in office.
He began by thanking his children, who missed his first inauguration in 2014.
"In so many ways, this inauguration is really about their generation," he said.
Ige said Hawaii's ability to compete in the global marketplace isn't limited by location.
"Today techinology is changing all that," he said. "Our geographic location is no longer a deal breaker."
He pledged to improve public education by empowering schools, and to continue on his goal of adding 10,000 new housing units by 2020.
"We are not just talking about numbers. We're talking about someone's son or daughter who decides to move to the mainland because they can't afford a home here," he said.
Ige touched on the state's need to be self-sufficient with clean energy and food production, while caring for the envronment.
"While the aina provides us with an an abundance of natural resources. It also comes with a responsibility to protect it for future generations," he said.
During his brief speech, incoming Lt. Gov. Josh Green pledged to be active in the Ige administration, and to work to establish free clinics for homeless people and those who can't afford healthcare.
Ige titled his inauguration speech "Moving Forward Together."
He enters his final term after a tough primary election battle against U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who gained support from top legislative democrats.
After the inauguration ceremony, Ige and State House Speaker Scott Saiki both said the focus now is on working for the people of Hawaii.
"We have some big challenges ahead of us and we need to all collaborate," Saiki said.
“I’ve always felt that if you have the people’s priorities in mind that everyone will fall in line,” Ige said.
Also Monday, Kauai’s Mayor Derek Kawakami was sworn into office along with the County Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
“I believe that as a community, we are all seeking the same goal. One way or another, we all want a better island, and a better quality of life for all,” said Kawakami, in front of a crowd of more than 450 people.
This story will be updated.