Congressional leaders presented newly inaugurated President Biden and Vice President Harris with gifts, a long standing tradition.
Sen. Roy Blunt presented Biden with a painting by an African American painter from the Civil War, Robert S. Duncanson, “Landscape by Rainbow.” Blunt noted that first lady Jill Biden helped pick out the piece.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar presented Biden and Harris with Lenox crystal vases. The company is based in Pennsylvania, Biden’s home state.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and presented the President and Vice President with American flags.
McConnell took a moment to also offer a few encouraging remarks to both Biden and Harris, noting how both are not only a son and daughter of the Senate, but that they both managed to skip serving the House altogether. A humorous remark that garnered laugh and applause from those in attendance.
“It’s my honor and privilege to help present these flags of our nation that were flown over today’s event here at the Capitol,” McConnell said.
“The Star Spangled Banner is our greatest symbol of endurance of the American idea. It flies over this building on triumphant days and tragic ones. For all factions and all parties. And today, this flag flew over our former colleagues inauguration as the very first female Vice President of the United States to our very distinguished colleague, Madam Vice President, please accept this flag with the highest compliments and congratulations of the United States Senate,” he said.
Pelosi presented Biden with the same flag that was flown when he was sworn in. “It’s my privilege to extend the flag flown the moment, the early moment that you were sworn in as President of the United States.”
GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who had supported efforts to challenge the election outcome, and Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer welcomed Biden and Harris and presented them with framed photographs of their swearing-in ceremonies.
“Today, Vice President Harris made history and all America should celebrate that. But, we should also remember that this is not the end but just the beginning. As leaders, we’re judged not by our words but by our actions. So, let’s go forth from here together, accomplish great things for the American people and every time you look at this photo, remember the beginning of the job we have to do. Congratulations,” McCarthy said.