It was a day for the ages in the lives of the liberal media. With Wednesday’s inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, one could have been mistaken if liberal journalists deemed January 20, 2021 the greatest day of the lives, topping anything they’ve ever experienced. Over on MSNBC, they completed their transformation from a network of hate for the President to one of unflinching admiration and promises of uncritical analysis.
Following President Trump’s 2017 inauguration, MSNBC insisted that it reeked of anti-Semitism, “Hitlerian,” and it was “hard to hear” “very few olive branches.” It also fantasized about killing son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
So going from wanting to kill Kushner in 2017 to demanding blood in the form of defeating the “Old America” in 2021? Amazing.
Below is a Notable Quotables-style compilation of the worst moments from the first 35 minutes after they began speaking following the formal inauguration ceremony, presented in no particular order.
Biden Is Like Lincoln Who Will Rise Up, Punish the ‘Old America’ to End This ‘Civil War’
“[T]here is an old America and there is a new America, and the new America and the old America essentially went to war in 2020, physically in the same Capitol. And New America won because new America got 80 million votes and old America got 72 million votes. And we're still basically at war. And you have a new President now who wants to declare peace. It is really incredibly fascinating to me how history moves because we do have sort of another person trying to do what Lincoln did, trying it again, and we're going to take a second shot at trying to end this civil war, you know, between an America that feels that some people are captors and some are captives and an America that, you know, Grant believed in, you know, and that the radical Republicans believed in in Lincoln's time. And we have to try to do this again. God bless Joe Biden. This is truly deeply religious man with incredible compassion, and he's got a great partner in Kamala Harris, you know, who's a stepmom, you know, and sort of accessible kind of human being that you can recognize. This is new America. And I hope that — I hope new America wins the war.”
— ReidOut host Joy Reid, 12:38 p.m. Eastern.
Biden Gave the ‘Speech of His Life’ That Was ‘Astonishing,’ ‘Poetic,’ ‘Realistic’
“Joe Biden had to deliver the speech of his life, and he did. In my lifetime, I have never seen a more challenging inaugural address. Joe Biden's message had to be about unity, and it had to be delivered at a time when unity was — it seemed impossible in this country. He had — he talked about unity in detail, but he also framed it realistically....And so the unity Joe Biden was talking about was both poetic and realistic at the same time. What he did in about 21 minutes was absolutely astonishing under these incredibly challenging circumstances[.]”
— The Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell, 12:41 p.m. Eastern.
Isn’t It Great America Got It’s ‘Happy Ending’ With Democrats in Power?
“I think we've got two book ends on the last four years. I think what President Biden suggested, and I think this is going to be the view of history, is that for four years, history was hijacked by Donald Trump...[U]nlike Franklin Roosevelt facing a Great Depression or a Lincoln facing the civil war, Joe Biden has got about five crises at once. He's got to deal with them all right now. And that's exactly what he was saying. But the three words in the speech will be known for are democracy has prevailed. So nice to have a happy ending.”
— NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss, 12:40 p.m. Eastern.
Joe Biden Gave an ‘American’ and ‘Patriotic Speech,’ ‘Not a Politics-First Speech’
“[What really struck me is that after four years of having a President who made everything about himself and everything about his own political future, that this speech that we heard from Joe Biden it was not a campaign speech. It was not a politics first speech. It was an American speech. It was a patriotic speech and it was aimed at not just all the people here but people across the country who, frankly, have been hurting in all kinds of ways from the coronavirus pandemic, losing their own family members, economic hardships and what we have all gone through as a country the last two weeks as we watched this temple to democracy get overrun by a violent mob.”
— NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt, 1:02 p.m. Eastern.
America ‘Is Back and Under New Management!’
“America and the world just heard the new American President declare democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, democracy has prevailed. 32 minutes ago, while Joe Biden spoke, the power of the presidency slipped from the grasp of a twice-impeached private citizen in Florida. Joe Biden left no doubt he is here to serve all Americans. He gave kind of inaugural address our Presidents used to give, as hopeful as the man delivering it, yet an honest reflection of a great country at its modern-day low point: Beset by two viruses, one a pandemic, the other a sickness that has flowed into our politics....[T]he message has gone out that the United States is back and under new management.”
— 11th Hour host Brian Williams 12:32 p.m. Eastern.
Irony Alert: Sharpton Demands ‘Accountability’ for Those Who Incite Violence
“You can't have unity without accountability because what are we united around. I think you can befriend your enemy but your enemy must be accountable for their deed. I don't think one is in conflict with the other. In fact, to have unity without accountability is to really destroy the unity that you claim that you want to see....I think they have to be held accountable including the Ted Cruz’s and those that sat there today smiling and acting as though they were happy to see the new administration to come in when they did everything they could to dismantle democracy just two Wednesdays ago.”
— PoliticsNation host Al Sharpton, 12:58 p.m. Eastern.
GOP Should Be Blessed by ‘Joe Biden’s Grace’ He Didn’t Ban Them From Attending
Wallace: “The reason that the Republicans who after criminal sedition was carried out in the Capitol came out and voted to disenfranchise the voters and not certify the electoral vote count, the reason they are allowed to mull about so comfortably today even after that act is because of Joe Biden's grace. The President-Elect displayed such grace and it should not go overlooked that grace and his commitment to unity is what allows the Republicans, who should be ashamed of themselves, and ashamed of their conduct on that day, it allows them to move about comfortably in their workplace today. Joe Biden's grace.”
Reid: “You know, and Nicole, I was thinking the exact same thing. I kind of feel a certain way about them being there, seeing Ted Cruz there. Just kind of something kind of blood boiling about it. These people tried to reverse the election and then show up for the sober ceremony as if they are statesmen. Joe Biden clearly is a much better person than I because I would not have had them there. It doesn't seem appropriate.”
— Conversation at 12:51 p.m. Eastern.
Having Crushed Republicans, Thank Goodness Biden Restated American ‘Values’
“I heard a declaration of war against white supremacy and against the lies that brought our democracy to the brink and I've been involved in a couple of inaugural addresses, and lines like the following are there almost in a pro forma way, but today they were not. I'm thinking of these lines. I will defend the Constitution. I will defend democracy. I will defend America. American presidents say those things to be heard around the world as just a reupping of our values. I think everyone needed to hear those words today.”
— Wallace, 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
Lyin’ Brian Demands Republicans ‘Have a Whole Lot of Explaining to Do’ For Their Lies
“A whole lot of people have a whole lot of explaining to do as history bears down on them. History, of course, always in a footrace with our kind of uniquely American desire to fuzz up memories and gloss over all kinds of sleights. This one may stay with us for a while.”
— Williams, 12:49 p.m. Eastern.
Harris Being Sworn in Sent ‘This Surge of Energy Go Through Those Assembled’
“[N]ow to have Madam Vice President sworn in, the first woman elected to national office, you could feel this. This was the first moment in the inaugural where you felt this surge of energy go through those assembled. This sort of release moment, recognizing the struggle of those who went before and the achievements in history today.”
— Maddow, 12:57 p.m. Eastern.
2017 Inauguration vs. 2021 Inauguration Marked a ‘Full Character Arc of the American Story’
“I will say that today I feel like we've gone through almost a full character arc of the American story. I mean, we've gone from indecency to decency. You know, Joe Biden is a decent man....I mean, we've gone from what can only be called idolatry and false religion under Trump, this worship of greed and this lust for conquest, one American over another, to really what the religion, the true religion is supposed to be, at least when I grew up in church. We heard that in those last two statements, this idea that, you know, whether or not you think it's realistic, we try to love our fellow man, we try to be brothers and sisters, we try to care about the poor, the immigrant, we try to care about those in need. That's the creed. That is the Christian creed. It's what it was supposed to be before it was about stealing the children of migrants.”
— Reid, 12:37 p.m. Eastern.
Unlike Trump’s Speech, Biden’s Inaugural Will Be Beloved by a ‘Vast Majority’ of Americans
“It's quite a contrast. I remember vividly what it felt like when this ceremony was over four years ago. I remember walking back into the Senate chamber and talking with some of my Republican colleagues who were in shock over the President's speech, the dystopian carnage that seemed to be front and center in an address that typically is supposed to be uplifting. Now, fast forward, and you have our new President leading the country in a moment of silent prayer for all of the losses that had been suffered from this deadly disease. It's quite a contrast and I think it's one that will sit well with a vast majority of Americans.”
— MSNBC contributor and Former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), 12:44 p.m. Eastern.
STOP THE PRESSES! Joy Reid Has a Fashion Update for Al Sharpton!
“I have to say before Rev goes, I have an update. I do have a breaking news update. And this is specifically for you rev as well as for Rachel Maddow. I have consulted with the expert Bevy Smith, who is, of course — and you know her very well, Rev — she is a fashion empresario and knows everything. So apparently, Michelle Obama was wearing Sergio Hudson who is an African-American designer and she does love to pick designers of color. Lady Gaga was in Schiaparelli. So for those who want to wear a similar sort of balloon skirt outfit with a big pen, Schiaparelli is where you need to go. And J-Lo, who looked stunning by the way as well, she was in Chanel, FYI. The breaking news you need. Bevy would know.”
— Reid, 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
Hunt Complains Republicans Are Preventing ‘Unity,’ Implies They Dislike New Races in Office
“The way and the kind of people and the backgrounds of the people who hold power is changing in this country. It's part of why we have had such a struggle for unity. But what Joe Biden did was open the door to say both to those people who, many of whom are in his political party, but also to Republicans on the other side of the aisle, let's take a stab at fixing this. Let's try. Let's try to figure out how to make this new mix, this — this changing face of power in America work in a way where we can all feel like we are part of the same big project. And we'll see how Republicans receive that....He talked about how this has been the hardest thing we have grappled with as a country, that it has been imperfect and long been this tension. And I've been texting with members who have been listening to a speech on both sides of the aisle, I think the reaction was really a sigh of relief as we try to move into an era that has a distinctly different tone and feel or at least goal, I guess is the best way to put it. Joe Biden wants us to be different than we’ve been the last four years. And I think that there's a lot of people on sides of the political aisle who feel the same way and willing to give it a chance.”
— Hunt, 1:04 p.m. Eastern.