Welcome back to The Panther’s 2020 Vision Election Blog!
On Jan. 20, President Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the U.S. in Washington D.C. His inauguration comes exactly two weeks after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an effort to overturn the election results.
In his inaugural address, Biden discussed the coronavirus pandemic and his plans for the future. However, one of the most important parts of his speech emphasized the need for unity between Americans and celebrated the triumph of democracy in our country.
As dictated by the U.S. Constitution, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts administered the Oath of Office to President Biden. Alongside President Biden, Kamala D. Harris was sworn in as the first African American, South Asian and female vice president. Harris chose Justice Sonia Sotomayor (the first Latin American chief justice) to administer the Oath of Office of the vice president to her.
Notable attendees of the inauguration included former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Vice President Mike Pence and Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. President Donald J. Trump did not attend the inauguration, making him the first president since Andrew Johnson to skip a successor’s inauguration. Trump left Washington D.C. early on the morning of the inauguration to begin his post-presidency life at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Musical performances at the event included Lady Gaga singing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Jennifer Lopez singing “God Bless America” and Garth Brooks singing “Amazing Grace.” Other performances included National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reciting a poem called “The Hill We Climb.
After the inauguration, President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice President Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, participated in a pass in review, which reflects a peaceful transfer of power in military tradition. The new president and vice president also traveled to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia where they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Former presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama joined Biden and Harris at the ceremony. On the night of Jan. 20, actor Tom Hanks hosted an Inauguration Concert with performances by John Legend, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and many other popular artists.
As previously mentioned, the inauguration came exactly two weeks after the insurrection at the Capitol. In response to this incident, security was heightened at the inauguration. About 25,000 National Guard troops received orders to protect the inauguration and Washington, D.C from any violence or riots. Prior to the event, the Pentagon vetted these soldiers to ensure they had no ties to far-right extremist groups or engaged in any behavior associated with the Capitol riots. As a result of this vetting, 12 National Guard members were relieved of their duties.
Ahead of the inauguration, President Biden and his wife attended a church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in D.C. with Vice President Harris and her husband. Current Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also joined the president at the service.
On the days before the inauguration, several events took place around the country to honor the new administration. The Presidential Inauguration Committee installed around 191,000 U.S. flags to represent all of the Americans that could not be at the inauguration ceremony. 56 flags from all of the U.S. states and territories also stood on the lawn of the National Mall to reflect the Biden Administration’s commitment to unity and inclusivity.
In his first days in office, Biden has announced his plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement, send an immigration bill to Congress and issue a mask mandate on federal lands, in federal buildings and on federal employees.