In an unprecedented period in American history, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States yesterday, calling it a day of “history and hope.”
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday a little earlier than planned, around 11:40 AM. Shortly after Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in as well, making her the first woman and person of color to become second in line to the presidency.
The inauguration ceremony was not like previous years: the new president spoke his State of the Union address to an empty National Mall, which was filled with small flags representing Americans not present due to medical safety measures.
The ceremony comes two weeks after supporters of former President Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol, which led to tighter security aside from previous coronavirus precautions.
Those who were in attendance were Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and three former presidents—Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton— spaced out accordingly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump did not attend the Inaugural Ceremony but instead addressed his supporters Wednesday morning before boarding Air Force One to fly to Florida. Trump is the first outgoing president in more than 150 years not to attend the inauguration of his successor.
Biden’s inaugural address was heavy on ensuring the American people that his goal is to create a space of unity and healing as well as giving out his heart to the close to 400,000 Americans who lost their lives this past year to the coronavirus pandemic.
Festivities following the ceremony included performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, First National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and many others.
As the nation faces both an economic and public health crisis, Biden has expressed his plan for a sweeping transformation of U.S. policy, including a wave of executive action over his first 10 days.
Some of Biden’s orders include a mask mandate for all federal property as well as activating emergency resources to create community vaccination centers.