WASHINGTON – All but one of Minnesota’s congressional delegation watched in person as President Donald Trump was inaugurated Friday.
Republican Rep. Tom Emmer brought his whole family to the swearing-in ceremonies for the new administration on the National Mall. Emmer said he’s optimistic that his party, finally in full power in Washington, will accomplish its agenda at a rapid clip. That includes repealing the Affordable Care Act and trying to build an economy with 3 or 4 percent growth every year, he said.
“He’s already shown us, whether people want to give him credit for it or not, that it can happen,” Emmer said of Trump. “You’ve got major companies in this country announcing they’ll be expanding and bringing jobs back to the U.S.”
Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who has sparred in recent days with several of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, said in a statement on Friday that the peaceful transition of presidential power is one of the “cornerstones of our democracy.”
“For over 200 years, from George Washington to Barack Obama, presidents have voluntarily passed the power of their office on to their successors,” Franken said. “That’s bigger than any one person and it’s something to be proud of.”
His fellow Democrat, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, tweeted a photo of herself standing with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Arizona Sen. John McCain. As a member of the Senate’s Democratic leadership, Klobuchar attended the joint congressional lunch at the Capitol with President Trump. So did Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, who is the ranking Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
“We will never be done working towards a more perfect union, and that work continues,” Walz said.
Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen called Friday a “fresh start.” Asked whether Trump will challenge congressional Republicans — even though they’re all in the same party — Paulsen said he thought that could be constructive.
“With his cabinet appointees you’ve seen that, they have given different remarks opposite of [Trump’s] viewpoint. It’s a good signal that they’re not just yes people,” he said.
Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents St. Paul and surrounding suburbs, was also at the inauguration. She’ll rush back to Minnesota Friday night to join in Minnesota’s women’s rights march on Saturday, happening simultaneously with marches in Washington and around the country.
“I completely reject President Trump’s disturbing vision for our country,” McCollum said, in a statement after the inaugural address. “We are already a great nation and we must protect our future from this president’s dangerous policies.”
Rep. Keith Ellison, running to lead the Democratic National Committee, boycotted the speech and instead spent the day back in Minnesota “organizing,” his staffers said.
Newly elected Republican Rep. Jason Lewis called Friday’s festivities “a unique American experiment.”
“Today was a time when no matter our differences, we come together to celebrate,” he said.