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Jenkins congratulates newly inaugurated President Joe Biden

| Wednesday, January 20, 2021

University President Fr. John Jenkins commended President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States in a statement Wednesday.

“I congratulate Joseph R. Biden Jr. on his elevation today to president of the United States, becoming only the second Catholic in American history to assume the presidency and, like the nation’s first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, a recipient of Notre Dame’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal,” he said in the release.

Jenkins recounted his comments when he presented Biden with the award, a decision that sparked controversy when announced in 2016. The Medal is annually awarded to American Catholics who uplift the ideals of the Church and service society.

“In awarding the Laetare Medal in 2016 to then-Vice President Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner, I said, ‘Vice President Biden reminded his fellow Democrats that those in the other party are “‘our opponents, not our enemies,”’” Jenkins said. “May his leadership help quell the venomous enmity so prevalent in our nation today.”

In addition, Jenkins expressed hopefulness in the spirit of bipartisanship Biden could bring to the White House.

“We can only be encouraged by the auspicious beginning to inauguration day for President Biden, when he attended Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in the company of the House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders,” he said.

Jenkins urged all Americans to pray for the new president and the country.

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