Smucker congratulates Biden; Pa. Democrats laud new president
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker congratulated President Joe Biden on Wednesday and committed to working with the new administration.
In the past, Smucker's statement acknowledging Biden's presidency would have been a formality. But following former President Donald Trump's false claims that the election was "stolen," statements from Republicans such as Smucker are noteworthy.
"I commit to my constituents that I will work with the Biden Administration and my Democrat colleagues in Congress when we can agree on policies that will help my constituents and the American people," Smucker said in a statement shortly before Biden assumed the presidency. "I will also continue to advocate for and defend Republican principles like limited government, personal freedom, fiscal stewardship and renewing the American Dream for all."
Earlier this month, Smucker, of Lancaster, and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, were among more than 140 members of Congress who opposed counting Biden's electors from Pennsylvania. The rancor on Jan. 6 over Biden's electors, propelled by Trump's refusal to concede defeat, resulted in the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
As of 3 p.m., Perry had not issued a statement congratulating Biden or acknowledging the legitimacy of his presidency. In fact, the most recent statement issued by Perry's office was released Jan. 13, in which the lawmaker called the House's impeachment of Trump, the second of Trump's term, a "sham."
Trump faces a Senate trial about whether he incited the Jan. 6 insurrection. Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the top Senate Republican, this week blamed Trump for the Capitol riot.
Meanwhile, Democrats throughout Pennsylvania celebrated on Wednesday the inauguration of the Scranton-born Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Today a scrappy kid from Scranton will become the 46th president of the United States," tweeted Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, hours before Biden took his oath of office.
Several high-ranking Pennsylvania Democrats joined peers from Delaware, Biden's home state, Wednesday afternoon at a virtual inauguration watch party, according to a release.
Attendees included U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and former Gov. Ed Rendell, who is also a past chair of the Democratic National Committee.
"During his address, President Biden laid out a vision to heal our Nation, contain the COVID-19 pandemic and build our economy back better," Casey said in a statement. "It’s now time for us to get things done on behalf of working families."