‘We’re turning the web page.’ Seattle reacts quietly as Joe Biden, Kamala Harris are sworn in


As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris swore their oaths of workplace Wednesday, Seattleites greeted the switch of energy with quiet celebrations — and a few exhalations of reduction.

Not like in November, when Biden’s win over then-President Donald Trump was declared, there have been no studies of spontaneous celebrations breaking out within the streets. And in contrast to 4 years in the past, when Trump was inaugurated, there have been no main demonstrations or violent clashes between his supporters and opponents.

Gatherings have been dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic, lingering safety worries after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Trump, and maybe a contact of exhaustion after the previous 4 years of seemingly never-ending battle and chaos.

In Seattle’s Pioneer Sq. neighborhood, a small group of masked bicycle riders gathered to observe the inauguration ceremony on a projector display screen arrange behind a transferring van parked in an alley.

“I don’t know that I used to be overwhelmed with emotion. I used to be simply relieved. We’re turning the web page,” mentioned organizer Doc Wilson, government director of Peace Peleton, a nonprofit group that helps Black-owned companies by organized bicycle rides and different occasions.

As Biden and Harris have been sworn in, individuals hugged and celebrated. Wilson mentioned “we have now a sensible expectation” concerning the scale of change the brand new administration could make, given the greater than 70 million individuals who voted to maintain Trump in workplace.

“However any glimmer of hope and recent air was welcome,” mentioned Wilson, who after the inauguration viewing led about 50 cyclists on a meandering experience from the Pioneer Sq. website close to a Black-owned bicycle restore store to a Black-owned restaurant within the Central District.

“At this time, we are able to breathe a sigh of reduction,” mentioned Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, in an announcement. “We have now lived by probably the most divisive instances as a rustic. It culminated in a raging riot led, astonishingly, by our commander-in-chief, who selected himself over his nation, and our structure.

“As we flip the web page on this presidency, we should do not forget that earlier than we are able to have reconciliation, we will need to have fact and accountability for these actions,” Durkan mentioned.

Seattle, dubbed an “anarchist jurisdiction” by the Trump administration, had confronted threats of shedding federal {dollars} for tolerating occupations and vandalism throughout protests. However with Biden in cost, Durkan hailed the “hopeful implications” of a federal accomplice who would work “to revive our communities and be certain that America is working for everybody.”

Some in Washington state’s congressional delegation have been readily available in Washington D.C. to listen to Biden’s speech calling for nationwide unity. Democrats hailed the deal with as a harbinger of higher days forward. Republicans criticized his early bulletins of government orders.

“I felt like each a part of the ceremony actually slot in with this concept of unity, of transferring ahead, and it makes me actually hopeful,” mentioned U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, in a cellphone interview. She was seated close to the inaugural stage as a part of the small crowd allowed contained in the closely fortified zone guarded by 25,000 Nationwide Guard members.

DelBene mentioned it was particularly heartening to witness Harris being sworn in as the primary lady vice chairman. “It’s so magical to see, and very long time coming,” she mentioned.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, couldn’t attend the inauguration as a result of she has been isolating after contracting COVID-19. In an announcement, Jayapal welcomed Biden and mentioned she was “deeply proud” of Harris as “the primary lady, first South Asian American and first Black lady to ever maintain this place of public belief.”

“It is a really significant second in historical past for our nation, together with for therefore many ladies, individuals of colour and immigrants,” Jayapal mentioned.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, who attended the inauguration in particular person, wished Biden “success because the forty sixth President of the USA” in an announcement.

However she additionally criticized Biden’s plans to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris local weather settlement and cancel the Keystone XL pipeline.

“There couldn’t be a worse time to double down on these government orders as our financial system recovers from the COVID-19 disaster,” mentioned McMorris Rodgers, who joined in a failed lawsuit in search of to overturn swing-state election outcomes and was the only member of Washington’s delegation to vote in opposition to impeaching Trump.

Gov. Jay Inslee welcomed Biden’s local weather agenda, which was influenced by Inslee’s personal coverage agenda specified by his unsuccessful presidential run.

“We’re getting calls from pals in Canada saying they’re glad that America is again. So are we. Notably in the case of local weather change,” Inslee tweeted Wednesday.

In Olympia, regardless of fears of assaults or occupations of state capitols, all was quiet on Wednesday as state lawmakers continued their largely digital legislative session.

Whereas the state Capitol remained ringed by a safety perimeter of chain hyperlink fence, there have been no large protests because the day wore on. And there was a notable absence of Washington Nationwide Guard members on sentry responsibility as they’ve been in latest days.

As much as 600 Washington Nationwide Guard personnel, in addition to tons of of Washington State Patrol troopers drawn from throughout the state, have been on responsibility since Jan. 6, when the U.S. Capitol was stormed. On the identical day in Olympia, dozens of individuals, some armed, made their well beyond a safety gate to trespass on the grounds of the governor’s mansion in a half-hour protest.

The price of the safety buildup has been appreciable, totaling greater than $1.6 million only for the State Patrol, not together with further yet-to-be disclosed prices for Nationwide Guard personnel who’re lodged in lodges. Karina Shagren, spokesperson for the Washington Army Division, mentioned she anticipated the Nationwide Guard’s prices to be larger than the State Patrol’s.  

Within the days forward, the safety forces in Olympia are anticipated to be regularly drawn down. However that timetable — and the way massive the reductions ought to be — stay below dialogue, in keeping with Chris Loftis, a spokesperson for the State Patrol.

Additionally unsure is the long-term strategy to safety on the Capitol campus amid heightened considerations concerning the potential for acts of violence. 

“What that new web page seems to be like as far safety posture, profile, tools, mobilization that will be wanted going ahead for a brand new setting of safety considerations is but to be decided,” Loftis mentioned. 

This week, some management in far-right teams, together with the Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys, have endorsed staying away from state capitols amid safety build-ups within the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

“Individuals really feel like they’ll get arrange,” mentioned Joey Gibson, founding father of Patriot Prayer, on Tuesday as he joined with a number of dozen individuals who attend a rally to protest COVID-19 restrictions in Napavine, Lewis County.

The Napavine rally primarily drew native residents who have been centered on grievances by metropolis planning fee members who’ve been unable to fulfill within the city corridor because of the mayor’s choice to maintain it closed.