Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar gave a rousing speech on the steps of the Capitol before the inauguration of Joe Biden, promising “never to take our democracy for granted” two weeks after the violent riot at the Capitol.
“This is the day our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America always does, goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” Ms Klobuchar said.
As she spoke, snow fell over Washington, DC, just like it did when she announced her candidacy for the presidency on February 10 2019. After she dropped out, she endorsed then-candidate, now President Joe Biden.
The ranking member on the Senate Rules Committee and co-chair of the inaugural committee asked in her speech: “Have we become too jaded, too accustomed to the ritual of the passing of the torch of democracy to truly appreciate what a blessing and a privilege it is to witness this moment?”
“I think not. Two weeks ago, when an angry violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans," she said.
As numerous lawmakers did in the following the Capitol riot, Ms Klobuchar quoted Abraham Lincoln.
“When Abraham Lincoln gave his first inaugural address in front of this Capitol, the dome was only partially constructed, braced by ropes of steel. He promised he would finish it. He was criticized for spending funds on it during the Civil War. To those critics, he replied: ‘If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on.' And it did. And it will," Ms Klobuchar said.
Like Mr Biden did during his entire campaign, Ms Klobuchar struck a chord of optimism.
“Now it falls to all of us, not just the two leaders we are inaugurating today, to take up the torch of our democracy, not as a weapon of political arson, but as an instrument for good. We pledge today never to take our democracy for granted as we celebrate its remarkable strength. We celebrate its resilience. Its grit," she said.
Shortly before Vice President Kamala Harris was inaugurated by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Ms Klobuchar said “When she takes the oath of office little girls and boys across the world will know that anything and everything is possible”.
Ms Klobuchar ended her speech by saying that America is “a country of so much good”.
“And today, on these Capitol steps and before this field of flags, we rededicate ourselves to its cause,” she said.