As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made history Wednesday at their inauguration, former President Donald Trump was already out of Washington. But outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and members of past Republican administrations were on hand for the transfer of power.
Andy Card, a native of Holbrook, Massachusetts, who served as former President George W. Bush's chief of staff, knows something about those first few hours inside the White House.
Card entered the White House in 2001, shortly after Bush was sworn in.
"It is exciting, and traumatic. It's traumatic for those who are leaving, and a bit traumatic for those who are coming in, because it happens so quickly," Card said.
Card says inauguration days are far from a day off for the White House staff as they get it ready for a new family and a new administration.
"Everybody cleared out of the White House, it was empty, an empty vessel, and workers came in and repainted walls and adjusted rugs and fixed phones and got things ready, and the new team just showed up at noon time," he said.
Card, who now lives in rural New Hampshire, says nothing beats walking up to the White House for that first day of work.
"It was tremendous, exciting," he said. "We all literally start at the same time, with tremendous obligations, and there is no learning curve, you just start doing the job."
Two weeks removed from the attack on the Capitol, and amid the ongoing pandemic, Card says this administration has its work cut out for it. Card saying he thinks Biden hit all the right notes in his inauguration speech.
"I celebrate our democracy. I come from Massachusetts, I am proud to say I am from Massachusetts. John Adams was the most significant founding father in terms of giving definition to our democracy, and he said the greatest threat to our democracy is mob rule," Card said. "We witnessed that on January 6th of this year, and it was a sad thing to witness."
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"I actually had tears in my eyes as I was witnessing what the mob was doing to challenge what was going to happen under our constitution under the U.S. Capitol, so I hope this inauguration begins the process of healing," he added.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick agrees.
"I think Joe Biden gave the best speech I've ever heard him give," Patrick said.
Patrick says Biden's overriding theme of unity was an appropriate one, even as Biden was not afraid to call out the chaos and upheaval of this past year.
"He was very clear that racial injustice is one of [his priorities], and that that was a dream that would no longer be deferred," Patrick said.