Biden, Harris Sworn-In during 59th Inauguration

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Biden sworn-in as 46th President of the United States. Photo: Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

The afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 20, a centuries-long tradition of the peaceful transition of power continued as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President, respectively. 

“This is America’s day, this is democracy’s day,” Biden said shortly after taking the oath of office on the Capitol Steps, surrounded by family and friends. 

Biden emphasized his intention to serve as a President for all, and said he hopes to leave the partisan divide behind as he enters office. 

“To all those who did not support us, let me say this; hear me out as we move forward, Biden said. “Take a measure of me and my heart. I pledge this to you: I will be a president for all Americans.” 

The event also featured musical performances by the United States Marine Band, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.

It concluded with the prayer, after Amanda Gorman, the youngest Inaugural Poet Laureate in history, recites her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” in part saying:

“If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy; and change our children’s birthright.”

The President is expected to issue 17 executive orders today which will reverse policies such as the ‘Muslim Ban’ put in place by the Trump administration and implement new public health policies to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Police and National Guard at a gate in fencing around the Capitol, 11:15 am Jan 20, 2021. E. O’GOREK/CCN

The ceremony took place under unprecedented security in the wake of the Capitol insurrection and threats to the District and other state capitals from right-wing extremist groups. More than 25,000 National Guard troops, police from several surrounding states, the DC Metro Police Department and Secret Service were all in attendance at the event and will remain present in the District for several days following the ceremony. 

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said “we have to be smart” but emphasized the importance of reopening the city after the inaugural events. 

“We don’t want fences or armed troops in our city and longer than we need them to be,” Bowser said. 

Former President Trump left the White House early this morning and hosted a rally at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force 1 for the last time. Trump will be the first President since Nixon to not attend his successor’s inauguration. Former Vice President Michael Pence attended the inauguration.

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected]m.