Both Delaware and Pennsylvania like to claim the new president of the United States, Joe Biden, as their own.
Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Claymont, Delaware, calls both states his home. And while he represented Delaware for decades as a U.S. Senator, he was dubbed the “third senator from Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania and Delaware democrats held a joint virtual celebration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration.
“He represented Delaware, but he helped people in Pennsylvania all the time. I remember his work as senator, but especially his work as vice president when he was helping people across the country,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
The Democrat from Pennsylvania said he believes the new president can tackle the several challenges at hand.
“We’re in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century, and the worst jobs-and-economic crisis in at least as many decades — some believe the worst since the Great Depression — and I can think of no one as uniquely qualified and capable to take this task,” Casey said.
“But we’re also a country that’s divided, and we have so many challenges coming at us. Joe Biden is someone who can lead with both his experience and his empathy, and his basic decency and integrity. And I think a lot of Americans are yearning for that in these dark times. Although it’s been a difficult and terrible year, and especially in the last couple of days, we’re confident Biden can lead us and help unify our country.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons from Delaware reflected on a time when Biden asked him if he should run for president in 2020. He told him he was the right man for the job.
“That’s because of the ways in which he’s rooted in his family and faith, he’s never forgotten where he’s from, he’s always fought for folks like those he grew up with in Scranton and Claymont in Pennsylvania and Delaware,” Coons said.
“As 2020 ground on, and all its challenges — the pandemic, the deep racial divisions and the Black Lives Matter protests, and the economic inequality, and the struggle to move forward from the pandemic, both in terms of our internal divisions and the infection of this pandemic — as 2020 went on and we saw President Trump fail to lead as president, and we saw Joe Biden’s decency, experience, character and vision, it became clearer and clearer he was the right person for this moment.”
His counterpart, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper from Delaware, said he believes the new president will present a drastic change from the past four years of President Donald Trump.
“We have a guy who wanted to be king, he’s gone, he’s on his way back to Mar-a-Lago, good for him. He’s being replaced by a guy whose humble, somebody who tells the truth, somebody who has the heart of a servant, somebody who treated other people the way they want to be treated, somebody who surrounds himself with the best people he can find, someone who focuses on excellence in everything we do, someone who gives credit to other people,” he said.
Former Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Randall also gave positive remarks.
“[Biden] was terrific, he came through for us when we needed him, he gave us good advice, he was a great senator and great leader, and I think he’s going to be a great president. He’s joined by an exciting new face on the political scene, Kamala Harris, who I think will be a very impactful vice president,” he said.
Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester echoed those thoughts.
“I have no doubt President Biden and Vice President Harris will be the leaders to guide America into a new and bright era,” she said. “Today’s inauguration showcases the type of administration we can expect from Joe and Kamala, one that fosters unity and works hard to improve the lives of all Americans. Joe and Kamala will listen to the science as we navigate the pandemic, they will prioritize building back the middle class and increasing job opportunities. Most importantly, they will work hard to unify the American people.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro recounted his experiences working with Harris when they were both fellows at the Aspen Institute about 15 years ago.
“All of us would gather to discuss the reading we had done, and I would spend hours preparing, hours reading, hours taking notes and getting ready, making sure I had my points ready for discussion, and every single time I showed up to that discussion, Kamala would chime in first and make a point that totally blew away anything I, or frankly anyone else, was going to say,” he said.
“She’s brilliant, capable, and perfectly suited to work with President Biden to repair our country and make America more fair and equal.”
And Shapiro has some advice for Biden: “Don’t even try to outsmart Kamala, and don’t feel bad when she makes a brilliant point that you probably haven’t thought of yet. It’s happened to all of us, and it’s why she’s going to be a great Vice President, and why you made an outstanding choice.”
To conclude the virtual event, Joe and Jill Biden offered a message to thank the public for their support.
“You just stepped up for us, and for me, and for Jill and our family through the years, and we weren’t going to let this day pass without stopping by and saying thank you to all of you,” Joe Biden said.
Jill Biden added, “from our childhoods, to our days at university, to raising our children, Pennsylvania and Delaware have profoundly shaped who we are as individuals and a family, and this is where we learned the values that have always been our guide.”
Biden promised to carry those values, such as “honesty, decency, and treating people with respect and dignity” to the White House.
“Through good times and bad, you’ve been with us. With your help, God willing, we change the course of history, together we will restore the soul of this nation,” he said. “It’s the honor of my lifetime to be your next President. Remember, there’s nothing we’re unable to do when we do it together as one.”