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For Inaugural, Congress Suspends Party Divisions

The inaugural backdrop, the U.S. Capitol, reminds us that Congress organizes the show for each new president – and afterward, the executive and legislative branches may or may not work together. In this case, lawmakers were welcoming a former member of the U.S. Senate.

For many Republicans, national pride trumped political loyalty on Tuesday.

Take Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Sen. John McCain's most outspoken advocates on the campaign trail last year. "This is a day of transition of power. ... There are millions of people out there who are just smiling from ear to ear, and it's infectious," Graham said. "The spirit of the day — I hope it lasts well beyond today. ... Hats off to President Obama. He ran a marvelous campaign, and it was no easy road for him to get here, so this is his day, and I'm going to enjoy it with him."

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich described the inauguration as "a moment of bringing the country together. I think inaugurations are very important ... as a reminder that in the end we are all Americans and that we are bound together by far more than we're divided."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.