On Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States. This was a historic moment, as Kamala Harris became the first woman and person of color to hold Vice Presidency. Inauguration day this time around looked starkly different because of the lack of cheering crowds and heightened security due to the recent violent riots at the Capitol. Approximately 1000 guests attended the ceremony, socially distanced in light of the pandemic. Among these guests were former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton; Donald Trump did not attend the ceremony, even though he was seen several times around the White House before he left at 8 a.m. ET. This makes him the first President to be absent at the successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson, a century and a half ago.
The former President spoke at Joint Base Andrews before heading to Florida, ensuring the listeners that he would “always fight”. He also wished the incoming administration “great luck” but failed to address President Biden by name.
After attending mass at the Cathedral of ST. Matthew the Apostle in DC with their family, the Vice President and her family, and congressional leaders of both parties, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived at the US Capitol at 11 a.m. Biden greeted the former President Barack Obama on his way to his seat. The Vice President also shared a moment with former President Obama, double fist bumping him. This was heartwarming and a great moment in American history, as Obama and Harris made history as the first African Americans to serve as President and Vice President of the United States, respectively. Harris also fist bumped the former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Shortly after, President Biden signed his first proclamations which included the Inauguration Day Proclamation, nominations for Cabinet positions, and nominations for sub-Cabinet positions. Biden also finalized 17 executive moves. Beginning with signing executive orders to address COVID-19 in order to undo Trump’s policies. “I am going to start by keeping the promises made to the American people,” he told reporters in the Oval office.
Stopping construction of the US-Mexico border wall, lifting the travel ban on largely Muslim countries, and acknowledging and accepting progressive environment and diversity related policies was just the beginning. Biden also undid many of Trump’s attempts to withdraw from international agreements. He started the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord and stopped the US’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization. He also introduced a mask mandate on federal property and bagan a hired response coordinator to manage vaccine and medical supply distribution out of the White House.
Furthermore, President Biden has drafted a calendar that outlines a specific focus for each day in January. This week, the President will be working on the coronavirus on Thursday, economic relief on Friday. Next week’s plans include “Buy American” which will increase requirements for government purchases of things from US companies, equity, removing regulatory actions that amended the President’s Council of Advisory on Science and Technology and fighting climate change, healthcare, and many other plans.
On the first day of a new administration, the next four years look like prosperous ones.