Missouri’s U.S. senators may have been on opposite sides during the 2016 presidential contest, but both plan to be present when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20.
Sen. Roy Blunt, a fellow Republican, is overseeing the proceedings as chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference Thursday, Blunt recalled his earlier career as a history teacher. He said that the United States’ peaceful transfer of presidential power is a momentous and historic undertaking.
"Ronald Reagan said in 1981 during his inaugural address that what we do here is both common place and miraculous,” Blunt said.
Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said she will be honored to be on stage with other members of Congress from both parties – even though she had backed Hillary Clinton for president.
McCaskill said it was important for national officials from both parties, past and present, to be present when Trump is sworn in. “I think it’s my important, duty, obligation and honor,’’ she said.
Among other things, Blunt is overseeing the distribution of tickets for people seeking seats for the ceremony, which is expected to be held outdoors on the west side of the Capitol.
The bulk of the 250,000 tickets are being doled out Monday and Tuesday to members of Congress, who will then give them to constituents in their districts or states.
McCaskill said she has had few requests for them, and she is offering to give any extras to Blunt so his office can distribute them. “Everybody’s who’s asked for one has gotten one.”
Blunt emphasized that Congress has the been the official host of the presidential inaugural festivities for over 100 years. Before 1981, the swearing-in was on the east side of the Capitol.
In modern times, it has been held outside except in 1985, when Reagan’s second swearing-in was moved indoors because of the poor weather. Blunt said he hoped the weather will cooperate so that the 2017 version featuring Trump will be outside.
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