By Sandra G. Leon
Joe Biden was sworn-in this morning as the new President of the United States, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, is now the first woman to ever serve as Vice-President or President.
Although Washington, D.C., was barricaded and secured like a war zone, Biden and Harris still held their inauguration on the steps of the US Capitol that just two weeks ago was assaulted by an angry mob incited by Donald Trump’s lies that the November election had been stolen.
Today, only invited guests, media, and throngs of security personnel attended the inauguration and lined the streets to the White House to watch the new President make his way to the Executive Mansion. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, exited their armored limo and walked the last short distance to the entrance of the White House.
President Biden’s speech was a call for unity after four years of Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and the last two weeks of healing after the Capitol riots, and he vowed to get to work immediately to address important issues, including climate change, immigration, COVID-19, and the Census.
Within hours of assuming office, President Biden is expected to sign Executive Orders to reverse or correct Trump Administration actions, including rejoining the historic Paris Accord environmental agreement, cancelling the Keystone oil pipeline, mandating use of face masks in all federal buildings and asking everyone to wear a mask for 100 days, rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO), and expanding the federal response to COVID.
Biden is also expected to sign orders asking Congress to grant Dreamers permanent status and a path to citizenship, cancel the national emergency declaration that diverted military funding for the border wall, refocus ICE enforcement on violent criminal aliens, allow all residents to be counted for the Census regardless of legal status, and end the “Muslim” travel ban.
The new president is also expected to provide more COVID-19 relief by extended rent and mortgage moratorium until at least March 31st and continuing student loan payment pauses until September 30th.
Biden was joined on stage at the inauguration by Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, who will now be referred to as the Second Gentleman; former Presidents and former First Ladies Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George W. and Laura Bush. Former President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter did not attend due to COVID-19 concerns. Other family members, high ranking officials, and close friends also attended the event.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Biden, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore-in Harris as Vice-President.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had left Washington, D.C. a few hours before the inauguration, becoming the first sitting President in 152 years to skip the swearing-in of his successor. Trump landed in Florida aboard Air Force One for the last time less than two hours before his time as President expired at noon.