San Diego County Politicians React To Biden, Harris Inauguration
Speaker 1: 00:00 There were no crowds of people on the mall, no outgoing president on stage and hardly a face without a mask on, but despite the unusual atmosphere, the transfer of power took place in Washington, president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris took the oath of office with the traditional words and most of the traditional pomp and circumstance, one of the San Diego ones who was able to witness today's extraordinary inauguration is San Diego democratic Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Peters. Welcome. Speaker 2: 00:31 Thank you, Jay. Thanks for having me big day. Okay. Speaker 1: 00:35 I'd like to start with an excerpt from president Biden's speech this morning. Speaker 3: 00:39 I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real, but I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we're all created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism fear demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never assured through civil war. The great depression world war nine 11 through struggle, sacrifice and setbacks. Our better angels have always prevailed in each of these moments are enough of us are enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward. And we can do that now, history, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity Speaker 1: 01:49 And Congressman Peters. I'd like to get your response to that part of the president's remarks today on unity. Speaker 2: 01:56 Boy, it's so welcome. I must say, I think, uh, the greatest threat to this country has been the division among us. The fact that we think of each other as our enemies instead of, um, our fellow citizens. So I think that the president Biden set exactly the right tone and, uh, I think it inspired a lot of us to really look inside of our hearts and figure out how we can ourselves tried to bridge these gaps. And maybe he gave that same message to Americans all over the country. Speaker 1: 02:27 Former president Donald Trump did not attend the ceremony today. What do you think is the significance of that in relation to the prospect of unity and bipartisanship moving forward? Speaker 2: 02:38 Well, uh, president Trump was never one for unity. He was really, um, I mean, frankly, I thought thought more about himself than about the country and saw, um, you know, I saw, I saw his, um, fi found enemies wherever he could. And I think that the, the thing that Joe Biden said today was look, you know, we can, we can disagree. It doesn't mean we're just loyal. Um, and that we, we need to respect each other. We need to hear each other. Um, that's not what president Trump was all about, but fortunately that's what president Biden is about. And I think gives us a chance to really start healing and restoring American greatness. Again Speaker 1: 03:15 Today was a highly unusual inauguration, no massive crowds, but instead 400,000 flags representing the people lost to COVID-19 in the last year. What can you tell us about how that affected the ceremony today? Speaker 2: 03:30 Well, mostly driven by COVID. Uh, there weren't many people there, so, uh, well before, um, the additional security concerns that were prompted by the events of two weeks ago, um, where I usually had 60 tickets to give out to people I had one ticket, um, and because they wanted to space everyone out. And so indeed, uh, the crowd was much smaller. It was a bit, it was bittersweet, um, in that, um, it's, it's wonderful to participate in this peaceful transfer of power and it, but it was sad that, uh, Americans going to enjoy it in the traditional way that a lot of Americans couldn't be there in person. Um, but again, we're going to get through this pandemic. Um, we're gonna deal with these security concerns and, um, I feel that we're on a great trajectory today. I just am so encouraged by how it went today and, um, by the tone and the mood, uh, and I think, um, I got the same message from Democrats and Republicans. Uh, after the ceremony today, Speaker 1: 04:27 You know, president Biden is taking on an America, that's in crisis. What do you see as the biggest priority and what are you most hopeful for? Speaker 2: 04:35 We have to deal with this pandemic. Um, I don't think it's complicated issue, but it's an issue that requires some determination and some effort. Uh, I think we'll do that. I think that will help us, uh, with the economic recovery. Uh, and then I think we've got to restore, we've got to restore our credibility, uh, internationally, uh, America needs to be engaged and we need to be leading the world and we need to be a beacon. Uh, and as I think the president said, um, and we've got a lot of complicated issues ahead of us that need bipartisan support from climate change to national security and a whole host of things. So, um, but I think the pandemic, uh, will take center stage, um, and I'm encouraged about the promise to help States and locals get out the vaccine. I think that's, that's the biggest challenge, right? Speaker 1: 05:22 I've been speaking to San Diego, Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Peters. Thank you so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 05:27 Thanks so much for having me. It's it's a great day. Thank you. Speaker 4: 05:31 And also fresh from the Biden Harris inauguration ceremony, San Diego Congressman Mike Levin joins us now, Congressman Levin. Welcome. Thank you, Maureen. Now watching on TV, it looked like us smaller than usual, but still significant ceremony. What was it like to be there? Well, it was an extraordinary honor and it was Speaker 1: 05:53 Morning, uh, such a great American tradition of peaceful transfer of power Speaker 5: 05:58 To a new president, new vice president. Uh, and I'm grateful that, uh, we were able to have a secure ceremony, particularly after the horror, uh, the violence from two weeks ago. Uh, my gratitude is to all of the national guard, all the law enforcement, the us Capitol police and everybody that kept us safe and sound, uh, during the ceremony this morning. And, uh, I'm also happy to be back in a warm, uh, office because it was called out there Marine. Speaker 4: 06:29 Yeah, that's something we don't usually experience watching here in San Diego. I want to, I want to follow up though on the fact that it was only two weeks ago, that that same place us capital's West front was overrun with rioters. And of course today it was the setting for the inauguration. Was that on your mind and just about everyone's mind in the audience today? Speaker 5: 06:50 Well, it certainly was on my mind and, uh, what, uh, uh, crazy historic three weeks, it's been three Wednesdays in January of 21 that I'll never forget, uh, that I think have changed America forever. Uh, first with the senseless violence, the attack from domestic terrorists, uh, on our Capitol second, uh, one Wednesday later trying to hold the president to account for what transpired. And then of course, uh, this morning, the peaceful transition to the 46 president Joe Biden. Uh, our democracy has prevailed. Uh, we'll continue to, uh, advance good public policy for our constituents, uh, consistent with our values. And I'm really excited to get work with, get to work with this new, uh, administration, both, uh, Joe Biden and California's own combo Harris. I think they are competent. Uh, they are leaders who are going to serve all Americans with dignity and honor and respect as the president said, whether you were a supporter of his or not. He is a president for all Americans. And I think at a time where we are very divided, where we need to unite, we need to heal. And we're trying to recover obviously from a pandemic that has taken more than 400,000 lives tragically across this country. We desperately need competent stable leadership. And I think that's what Joe bride Biden and the Biden ministration will bring. Speaker 4: 08:19 What did you take from the president's inauguration speech? Speaker 5: 08:23 Well, I think, uh, the theme was obviously unity, but, uh, he spoke with a humility and a decency, uh, that I think, uh, is just a breath of fresh air, uh, talking about, uh, hope over fear and truth over lies and the need to get back to, uh, really, uh, uh, coming together using politics for more than just a division, but rather for, uh, solving big problems and, and let's face it. We face some huge problems right now in the United States. Uh, as I turned around and saw the national mall, which normally would have hundreds of thousands of people, uh, watching the inauguration, uh, instead there were a couple of hundred thousand flags and of course, uh, all of that to commemorate, uh, the lives lost due to COVID-19. It was just a reminder of the challenges that we're facing and, and even looking around and seeing, uh, so much fewer, uh, people, uh, than under a normal circumstance where we were all socially distance wearing masks, uh, trying to keep each other safe. Speaker 5: 09:30 Uh, all of that was just a reminder of the stark challenges that we're facing, uh, during this dark winter. And as we know from, uh, the recent weeks of, uh, trying to get, uh, vaccines distributed and trying to ensure that we can safely reopen and get through the worst of the pandemic, uh, we still have a great deal of work that has to be done. And, uh, I am, uh, very eager to, to get to work with the new administration, uh, and to continue many of the great things we have done in the past. Uh, but to really, uh, crush this pandemic, uh, get our economy back up and running again, and then doing all we can to advance the interests of our district and our region. Speaker 6: 10:11 You know, the call for unity and president Biden. The speech is a call that could be needed. Even in Congress. We've heard that some members of Congress are concerned about the intentions of other members and their possible role in the insurrection. What's your feeling on that? Speaker 5: 10:29 Well, look, uh, we have read the reports that at least a few of the members were either directly or indirectly involved in, uh, perhaps planning the rally that, that led to the insurrection. Uh, we know that at least the, the, uh, investigation is ongoing of, uh, whether one or more members actually allowed, uh, guests into the Capitol, uh, in what is alleged and what has been called, uh, a reconnaissance, uh, sort of, uh, visit, uh, we're not supposed to have visitors right now, Marine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So all of that's deeply problematic, uh, seeing, uh, several of my colleagues unwilling to even go through a magnetometer, uh, the other evening as we were going to the house floor, uh, that was, uh, uh, disturbing as well. So I think it's critically important that we try to seek out those on the other side of the aisle, uh, that, uh, want to work with us in good faith. And, and the good news is that I've got many friends across the aisle, uh, with whom I've worked on a variety of issues, whether it be on veterans or environmental issues or otherwise, uh, we need to continue to build those relationships because, uh, my experience has been there many excellent members on the other side of the aisle. I want to work with them and, and I'm willing to work with anybody Marine that is willing to work with me to advance the interests of our district and our region and congressmen Speaker 4: 11:54 11, how will you be spending the rest of this? Speaker 5: 11:57 Well, uh, we're going to be doing a couple of virtual, uh, inauguration ceremonies. I know there's one this evening that I'm looking forward to. Of course, normally this would be a busy day, uh, that we we'd be spending probably going to all sorts of interesting parties and events. None of that is happening in person. Uh, but, uh, we are doing some virtual events and of course, given that it's a stay at home order, uh, it's disappointing that, uh, you know, my wife is not here with me. I very much miss her and, uh, Mr. Being there with me this morning, but we decided it best for her to stay at home during the, the, uh, the stay at home order. Uh, so I do hope that someday we'll come Marine where my wife can accompany me, uh, 200 odd curation, but this morning we just felt it better, safe than sorry. Speaker 4: 12:41 Well, I'm glad you decided to spend some time with us. Anyway, I've been speaking with San Diego Congressman Mike Levin. Thank you so much. Speaker 5: 12:49 Thanks for agreeing to be with you.