Republican leaders are responding with guarded praise to President Joe Biden‘s stated desire to have a much less contentious political discourse going forward while vowing to oppose him when they think it’s necessary.
During his inauguration on Wednesday, Biden implored everyone to turn down the rhetoric that has been building over the years, culminating in the riot at the Capitol.
‘We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature,’ Biden said during his speech. ‘Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.’
GOP Congress members appreciated the gesture toward unity and less divisiveness, but were also ready to contest the agenda Biden has laid out.
Joe Biden called for unity and a stop to the political shouting on Wednesday
A spokesperson for Rep. Madison Cawthorn wants to see Biden deliver on his promise, though
‘The president must fulfill his promises,’ a spokesperson for Rep. Madison Cawthorn said on Fox News. ‘He calls for unity, we must see if he will deliver on his promise.’
‘I look forward to working with the Biden administration when we can find common ground for the good of Montanans,’ Sen. Steve Daines said. ‘But I will also vigorously work against their agenda when I think it will harm our great state.’
Biden doesn’t necessarily need Republican support to push his agenda through, since Democrats control both chambers of Congress.
However, they only enjoy a razor-thin advantage in the Senate, where a 50-50 split will be broken by a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, however, is already looking for ways to seize political gains from Biden
‘We firmly believe that what unites us as Americans is far greater than anything that may ever divide us,’ Rep. Beth Van Duyne wrote in a letter to Biden along with 16 other new GOP representatives.
‘In that spirit, we hope that we can rise above the partisan fray to negotiate meaningful change for Americans across the nation and maintain the United States’ standing as the best country in the world.’
Rep. Cawthorn is among those who signed the letter.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne is one of many GOP freshmen looking to ease the political tension
Sen. Mitch McConnell released a statement congratulating Biden, a personal friend
Sen. Pat Toomey released a statement on Twitter commending Joe Biden’s speech
‘I commend President Biden for his call for national unity, and his assurance to those who did not support him that he will nevertheless be president for all Americans,’ Sen. Pat Toomey wrote on Twitter.
‘I urge the president to follow through on this commitment by working with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to pursue policies that will lead to peace and prosperity for all Americans.’
‘I congratulate my friend from Delaware and look forward to working with our new President wherever possible,’ Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a statement. ‘Our country deserves for both sides, both parties, to find common ground for the common good everywhere that we can and disagree respectfully where we must.’
Outgoing President Donald Trump didn’t have much to say after the inauguration, although he left a ‘very generous’ letter for Biden, the new president claimed.
Still, some Republican leaders were already looking for paths to battle Biden and his agenda.
‘I am praying for President Biden and his success in leading out country forward’ Toomey said
‘Looking ahead, I know we will be tested,’ Rep. Kevin McCarthy said. ‘But I also know there will be many promising opportunities for us to seize.’
Biden has already enacted a number of policy shifts via executive order on his first day in office, including reversing Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The executive actions, signed at a ceremony at the White House, included immediately lifting a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reversing a Trump order preventing migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted for congressional districts.
Biden also signed a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. attorney general to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects migrants who came to the country as children from deportation, and reversed Trump’s executive order calling for stricter immigration enforcement away from the country’s international borders.
Biden’s DHS also issued a memorandum calling for a 100-day moratorium on some deportations.