HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - While members of the public weren’t allowed at the inauguration, Hawaii’s congressional leaders were among those who got to attend.
Before Joe Biden was sworn in as president, US Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted a photo of himself with US Sen. Mazie Hirono. “Today we start a new chapter,” he wrote.
“It’s a good day for Hawaii and our country.”
In an interview after the swearing-in, Schatz said he was moved by the ceremony in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol.
“I think today, especially, we recognize the miracle of American-style democracy,” he said.
He added that the new presidency will give the country a chance to prioritize ending the pandemic, improving the economy and other key challenges.
“Joe Biden is a different kind of President. He speaks plainly. He wants to unite the country,” Schatz said. “I think he’ going to try his best for all of us.”
In a statement, Hirono said the inauguration “offers a profound moment to turn the page, reflect on the challenges we face, and steel ourselves for the hard work to come.”
“As this work begins today, I draw strength from the challenge President Biden issued to all of us to defend the truth and unite to confront the multiple crises facing our country,” she said.
“Working together, I am hopeful that we can defeat this pandemic, reinvigorate our economy, combat the climate crisis, and confront systemic racism in our country.”
U.S. Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele also attended the inauguration ceremony.
Case tweeted photos of himself alongside Kahele and former Congressman Charles Djou.
Instead of the inaugural crowds, 200,000 flags filled the national mall.
“It was unprecedented in how the inauguration was handled given the COVID pandemic and everything our country and our nation’s Capitol went through just a few weeks ago,” Kahele said.
Case called the absence of a crowd “eerie.”
But he said the ceremony left him with a renewed sense of unity and a deeper appreciation for democracy. “A lot of us breathe a sigh of relief just to see the president and the vice president being sworn in and knowing we are definitely turning a page,” he said.