History was made during the swearing in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden officially became the 46th President of the United States on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
Vice President Harris’ swearing in made her the first woman to hold the second-highest position of power in the country. She is also the first black person and first south Asian person to hold the position of Vice President. Harris’ husband also made history as the first ever “Second Gentleman” of the United States.
Former President Donald Trump did not attend the inauguration of his successor. According to CBS News President Trump left the White House that morning and pulled into his Florida estate about 30 minutes prior to the swearing in of Biden.
At a farewell rally to a small group of his supporters Trump said he wished “the new administration great luck and great success.” He also promised his supporters that he would return to the national stage, but did not provide details.
In his inaugural address, Biden said “today is democracy’s day” on the same steps that just a week earlier had been the scene of an insurrectionist riot. “It’s America’s day. It’s a day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve,” Biden said.
“So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries,” Biden said.
The newly sworn in President also took aim at the COVID-19 pandemic. “Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now; A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country.”
Another theme of his speech focused on the unrest that swept the country this summer in the wake of police-involved shootings of black citizens. “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden said.
Shortly after his swearing in, President Biden began signing executive orders aimed at rolling back changes made during the Trump administration. The executive orders addressed the COVID-19 crisis, climate change and immigration.
President Biden and Kamala Harris also went to Arlington National Cemetery where they placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They were joined by past presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Vice President Harris’ day also saw the appointment of new members of the Senate, Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California. The two Georgia Senators led to a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. This means Vice President Harris, the presiding officer of the Senate will be the tie-breaking vote which means Democratic lawmakers will control that chamber. The move shifts the title of Senate Majority leader to Senator Chuck Shumer, D-New York.