/Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president
Graphic by Bell Jackson

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president

Wednesday, January 20, Joe Biden took the oath of office and was sworn into presidency.  

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts conducted the ceremony, which took place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, on the same stage that was stormed by pro-Trump riots just two weeks prior.  

His hand on his family Bible, Biden took officially took office at 11:49 a.m.  

“This is America’s day,” said Biden in his inaugural address. “This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages.”  

Biden’s inauguration was like no other before it, between the security measures and the coronavirus precautions.  

Due to limited in-person attendance, there was a field of flags on the National Mall to represent the people who could not attend.  

Several high-profile guests were in attendance including former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and Biden’s challengers in Democratic nomination, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  

Additionally, traditionally presidents use their inaugural address to thank their predecessors for a peaceful transfer of power, Biden did not because President Trump did not attend, breaking tradition of almost every departing president.  

Biden continued in his address, “Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found the time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” referencing spikes in coronavirus cases and spiking death rates.  

A sentiment during campaigning also reappeared in his address. 

“I [Biden]pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans.” 

President Biden repeatedly called for unity during his address and called on the American people.  

“Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things,” he said. 

Also, notably, both Biden and Harris attended a national COVID-19 memorial in remeberence of the 400,000 Americans who have died in the pandemic. 

He highlighted this loss several times in his address and even included a moment of silence for those people. 

Many Republican lawmakers praised Biden’s speech. 

Former Republican presidental nominee Mitt Romney stated that Biden’s speech was “very powerful.” Romney was the only Republican that voted to impeach Trump in early 2020. 

Following Biden’s address, his running mate, former California senator Kamala Harris was also sworn into office as the 49th Vice President of the United States. 

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor conducted the swearing- in using two Bibles, one that belonged to Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court justice and civil rights advocate.  

Harris is now the first woman, South Asian person and Black person to serve as Vice President.  

Policy matters including the coronavirus, economy and climate change are high on Biden’s agenda in his first days in office, and Harris may cast a decisive vote in crucial moment with a split Senate.  

One of Harris’s first acts will be to swear in three senators, including Alex Padilla, her replacement as senator from California and first Latino to hold the position. 

Following the conclusion of the swearing in ceremonies, Harris took to Twitter where she tweeted, “For the people—always.” 

Several world leaders also congratulated Biden and Harris, including Pope Francis, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Kahn. 

After the inauguration was the presidential escort to the White House and an inaugural parade, though mostly virtual.  

In the evening, a program was hosted by Tom Hanks. Performances included John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi and more, to celebrate the inauguration. 

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Ariel Hall is a writer for The Alabamian. She is a senior communication studies major and enjoys reading and photography in her free time. Previously, Zoe has acted as lifestyles editor and advice columnist.