“Oh Happy Day,” tweets Lt. Gov. Barnes as Trump remains banished from social media.
“(Breath of relief)”
That simple message on Twitter was all Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) needed to express his feelings Wednesday morning when President Joe Biden was sworn in.
Biden would go on to issue an immediate call to action for all Americans to come together, a stark difference from former President Donald Trump’s musings on “American carnage” four years ago. Biden said the nation must end the “uncivil war” of the previous four years, which culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that Trump himself incited.
“This is a great nation,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “We are good people.”
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) proclaimed that Wednesday would be the day “we start rebuilding the soul of our nation.”
State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, a potential Democratic Senate candidate in 2022, said Biden’s speech “shows us the path forward.”
“I know Wisconsin families will soon start to see real healing and relief with a president who cares in the White House,” Godlewski tweeted.
Biden plans to take quick action on what his chief of staff, Ron Klain, dubbed the nation’s “four overlapping and compounding crises”: the COVID-19 pandemic, the faltering economy, climate change, and racial injustice. Within the first week of his presidency, Biden is expected to make a flurry of executive actions designed to undo many of Trump’s policies and make further progress on these crises.
“Today marks a new chapter, and I want to congratulate @POTUS on his historic inauguration today,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a tweet. “We are facing unprecedented struggles across our state and nation, but I’m confident we can and will overcome them together.”
Trump made the rare—but not unheard-of—decision to skip the inauguration, something a sitting president has not done out of spite since Andrew Johnson refused to attend Ulysses S. Grant’s swearing-in. Hours before Biden’s ceremony, Trump left the White House in a helicopter and headed to Florida.
Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor didn’t seem to mind. He could hardly contain his excitement as Trump departed from Washington, DC.
“Marine One has departed,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes wrote in a tweet accompanied by a jovial clip of the song “Oh Happy Day” from the Whoopi Goldberg movie “Sister Act 2.”
Shortly before the swearing-in, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin put on a pair of aviator sunglasses—Biden’s eyewear of choice—and tweeted a selfie to declare she was “Ready for Joe Biden.”
Reps. Mike Gallagher and Scott Fitzgerald were Wisconsin’s only Republican House members to make a public statement after the inauguration. Neither congratulated Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, but both said he will try to collaborate with the new administration.
“Despite our political disagreements, I stand ready to work with them on the enormous challenges facing our country and my family will be praying for them and their families,” Gallagher said in a statement.
Fitzgerald, who voted to reject election results from Pennsylvania and Arizona on false claims of election fraud, said Biden and Harris must “ensure the liberties enshrined in the Constitution remain a solemn promise for all Americans.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, who spent months after the election baselessly claiming Biden’s victory was illegitimate, tweeted a statement: “I wish President Biden well and encourage him to follow through on his pledge to be a president for all Americans and act to unify our divided nation.”