Photo by the White House
President Joe Biden made history as he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, Jan. 20. Plans for the event were complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and national security threats triggered by the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The event went smoothly, as the National Guard reported no security issues during the inauguration.
Vice President Kamala Harris also made history as the first Black, first South Asian and first woman to be sworn in to the office of vice president as the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants.
Jill Biden is also making history as the first First Lady to hold a job outside of the White House, as she will continue teaching at Northern Virginia Community College while simultaneously carrying out her duties as first lady.
Notably, former President Donald Trump chose not to attend Wednesday’s ceremonies; the culmination of an election he could not bring himself to believe. Instead, he flew off to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort home, hours before Biden was sworn in. It was the first time in 152 years that an outgoing President chose not to attend the inauguration of his successor.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all were in attendance. Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 96, chose not to attend because of his age and COVID-19 concerns. President Biden said Carter called him the night before the inauguration to offer his best wishes.
Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, the second time just a week before the inauguration. He is accused of inciting the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, smashing windows and threatening death to the vice president and members of Congress.
The Senate must now simultaneously implement vaccine rollout plans and handle the spread of COVID-19 while conducting an impeachment trial.
About 25,000 members of the National Guard were called to duty in Washington after the attempted insurrection. An additional 10,000 security personnel also were on duty for the inauguration.
The theme of Biden’s inaugural address was unity, and he stressed the need to bring together the 81.2 million who voted for him and the 74.2 million who voted for Trump. How that unity will come to be will be the political news in the coming term.
In Butler County, Trump received 111,601 votes and Biden got only 67,697. Statewide, Trump won Ohio by more than 475,000 votes. On Wednesday, Biden promised to act as the president for all of them.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine activated nearly 1,000 National Guard troops from Ohio for the inauguration. Two of those troops were removed from duty after being flagged by the FBI.
“We do not have all the facts related to why the FBI flagged them, but it is our understanding at this time their removal was not due to criminal or threatening actions or activities,” a statement released by the Ohio National Guard said.
A total of 12 National Guard troops from various states were sent home from Washington out of an abundance of caution stemming from information found during background checks.
President Biden’s speech was very clearly addressed to all Americans, including the nearly 75 million who voted for former President Trump.
“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify,” Biden said. “I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did.”
Biden also addressed the threat of right-wing extremist and homegrown domestic terrorism, in addition to mentioning the other battles his administration will face: the coronavirus, rooting out systemic racism, saving the climate and providing security and prosperity to all Americans.
The President was followed by poet Amanda Gorman, who at 22 is the youngest poet ever to deliver a reading at an inauguration, and the nation’s first youth poet laureate. She recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
Following Gorman’s inauguration poem, fans rushed to pre-order her books “The Hill We Climb: Poems” and “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem,” which are not set to be released until September. The art for “Change Sings” was done by Cincinnati-based children’s illustrator Loren Long.
Following the inauguration ceremony, President Biden signed 17 executive orders which aimed to immediately reverse some of the policies put in place during the Trump administration.
The orders include a mask mandate on all federal property, reinstating ties with the World Health Organization, ending the so-called Muslim ban — which blocked travel to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries, halting construction of the border wall with Mexico, re-entering the Paris climate accords, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, temporarily prohibiting some evictions and foreclosures and deferring federal student loan payments and interest due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A full list of priorities for the Biden-Harris administration can be found at whitehouse.gov.