WASHINGTON — President Trump was joined at a congressional luncheon on Capitol Hill after his inauguration by former President Clinton and his campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, telling lawmakers he was “very honored, very, very honored” by the former first couple’s presence.
Trump asked the Clintons to stand for a round of applause, adding, “Honestly, there’s nothing more I can say because I have a lot of respect for those two people.”
“So thank you for being here and we’re going to have four great years hopefully of peace and prosperity and we’ll be working very, very hard. Our Cabinet’s lined up and ready. I know eventually, Chuck’s gonna approve them, I’m sure,” Trump said in a nod to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), resulting in laughter from lawmakers.
“I really believe that. And we’re all dealing together — we all want the same thing, we’re all good people, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, doesn’t make any difference,” the new president added. “We’re going to get along.”
Referencing Clio, the muse of history, in Statuary Hall where lunch was served, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the marble sculpture and its clock “have reminded the men and women in these haloed halls that we’re part of history.”
“That our words and actions will face the judgment of history and that we’re part of the long and honorable heritage of our democracy. That is Clio’s advice,” Pelosi said. “We come to this sacred Inauguration Day united in respect for our democracy and determined to make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Trump “has surmounted formidable challenge getting to this moment.”
“He has been underestimated often. But he never let it stop him from succeeding,” McConnell said. “We are wishing him similar success as he turns to the charge of governing. We face many challenges, but we’ve been challenged before and emerged stronger. We live in changing times, yes, but some things endure and we celebrate one of them today.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recalled his days “being admonished for being rabble rousers in the Republican Study Committee,” a House conservative caucus, with then-congressman Mike Pence.
“I know this job makes you an officer of the Senate, but you, Mike Pence, will always be a part of the people’s House,” Ryan added. “We talk about our two bodies quite a bit, and if I had to use a sports analogy I would say, we play rugby, they play golf.”
Senate inaugural committee chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said the goal for the inauguration was “for this event to be an event where people came and when they left, the event outside, they felt like they had all the freedom that you could possibly have and still have all the security you needed.”
“I hope people left feeling that way,” he said.
Schumer, a co-chairman of the committee, presented Trump with the official photograph of his swearing-in.
“Now, Mr. President, earlier this year, Iris and I were truly blessed. We watched our older daughter, Jessica, marry the boy of her dreams. We are so happy,” Schumer told Trump. “That’s when I learned, though, that nothing’s official until there’s a photo of it. So Mr. President, now it’s official.”