‘I think it’s important for all Americans — regardless of party — to remember the significance of Inauguration Day, as we celebrate our nation’s rich electoral tradition and begin to move our country forward together.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor congratulating President Trump on his Inauguration, and outlining the status of Senate consideration of Cabinet nominations:
In November’s election, the American people called for a new direction, a change from the last eight years. Today, we took a meaningful step toward that new direction, as we inaugurated a new President of the United States.
I think it’s important for all Americans — regardless of party — to remember the significance of Inauguration Day, as we celebrate our nation’s rich electoral tradition and begin to move our country forward together.
It’s always an honor to participate in the historical transition of power and the ceremonies surrounding it. Today was certainly no exception.
On behalf of the Senate, I’d like to express our gratitude to each individual — from law enforcement personnel to inaugural committee staff to congressional staff and volunteers — whose efforts made this event a success. I would like to again congratulate President Trump and Vice President Pence on today’s inauguration. We are eager to work with you and the Administration in advancing policies that can improve the lives of the American people.
So today marks a new beginning. We’re faced with many new opportunities. We’re faced with some new challenges too. I’ll have more to say on that in the coming days. But for now, the Senate remains hard at work as we move forward with the confirmation process of President Trump’s nominees. We’ll have an opportunity to confirm some today.
It’s imperative to proceed with confirmations without delay, especially when it comes to key national and economic security nominees.
I urge colleagues to remember that we worked with the Administration of former President Obama after he was first inaugurated.
We confirmed seven members of his cabinet the day he took office, and nearly the entire cabinet was filled within two weeks.
The Senate should work in the same spirit with the current Administration and put the rest of President Trump’s team in place as soon as possible.
It’s very important that we confirm General Mattis and General Kelly to their critical positions as the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security. But that’s not enough. We live in dangerous times. As the Democratic Leader noted earlier today, “We face threats foreign and domestic”. It is critical for the President to have a full national security team on Day One. That includes, in particular, the Director of the CIA.
It makes no sense to leave this post open. Not for another week, not for another day, not for another hour. America’s enemies will not pause in plotting, planning and training simply because the Democrats refuse to vote. The American people expect more.
Earlier today the Director and Deputy Director of the CIA resigned. We need to confirm a new director today. We need to confirm the rest of the Cabinet quickly as well. Republicans treated a newly inaugurated President Obama’s nominees fairly, and Democrats should do so now. Our country is counting on it.
We can have as much debate time as requested by our Democrat colleagues, but at the end of debate today, we should vote.
I’d also like to offer a few words regarding our outgoing President.
As we say farewell to President Obama, I think it’s worth once again reflecting on the significance of his election and the historical achievement it represented in terms of our country’s past. That’s something both he — and our country — should be proud of.
Now, it’s no secret that President Obama and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. Over the years we’ve pursued different sets of legislative priorities. Everyone here knows that. The American people know that too.
But I think I speak for all Americans when I thank our former President for his tremendous service to our Nation. And — as can be said of all First Families — he and his family have made many personal sacrifices over the past eight years. But through it all, they’ve done so with dignity and grace.
So to our 44th President, I’d say…
For your leadership, we are grateful.
We wish you, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha all the best as you embark on this new chapter of your lives.