Biden supporters relieved: ‘It’s like someone lifted a 1,000-pound weight off the world’
By Lateshia Beachum, Samantha Schmidt, Justin Wm. Moyer and Harrison Smith
Only a couple of hours had passed since President Biden was sworn into office, but Debbie Padilla already could feel a difference in her day.
“Don’t you feel it? It’s lighter,” she said from the patio outside Harry’s Bar in Washington alongside her husband, Luis Santiago. The couple, both 62, had flown in from California to witness the inauguration and enjoy this moment of levity. “It’s like someone lifted a 1,000-pound weight off the world,” Padilla said.
Across the city, Biden supporters sighed in relief as he took the helm of government.
Mary Lou Delaney, 59, had driven from New Jersey and clinked mimosas with her daughter at Commissary in the Logan Circle neighborhood. Mother and daughter watched the inauguration on a cellphone. They had launched a countdown on the Trump presidency in January 2017, the day of the Women’s March in D.C. Today, Delaney said, felt like “having a dark curtain pulled away. It’s almost indescribable.”
At the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, Traci Bhagat watched for a glimpse of Biden. She had long been a Harris supporter, but it was Biden’s speech that made her hopeful.
“My blood pressure probably went down 20 points,” she said. “It’s been so stressful for the past four years. … I felt like I could believe what he said.”
Just as she had for Barack Obama’s inaugurations, Olayinka Akinola-Hadley, 46, headed toward the National Mall on Wednesday with her two young daughters.
“I feel like it’s just a reset button,” Akinola-Hadley said. “I feel very happy to have some normalcy. I’d like to read the paper and not have shock value. I want to be bored. I don’t want shock and awe anymore — I’m glad the show is over. ”