At 11:49 AM on the 20th of January, 2021, Joseph Robinnette Biden Jr. was given the presidential oath by Chief Justice of the Supreme court John Roberts. However what led up to that was nothing short of an attack on democracy. Because on Wednesday, January 6th, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, held a rally, what will now most likely be his last as president! In that rally, he spoke to voters about the election and the results of the election. He has continued to claim that the election results were fraudulent and that the Democratic party somehow managed to go behind the backs of everyone but him and cheat to make Joe Biden win the election. He talked about this at his rally.
But something more important than that rally was happening at the same time. Congress was certifying the results of the election, and the electoral college’s vote. Already, 11 senators had publicly said that they would vote against certifying the election results. They were led by Texas senator Ted Cruz, but it included both former senators from Georgia, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. however, 11 senators did not make a huge difference. What did make a difference was Vice President Mike Pence!
He had been called on by Trump to be “brave,” step up, and not verify the election results. However that day, he released a statement saying that he would not be able to do that because he had always been loyal to the Constitution, he had followed it his whole life, and he did not have the power to overturn the election results. His statement was released right before the rally, and it in part led to the total chaos that followed.
The chaos that led to the death of 5 people. The chaos that led to 179 people being prosecuted, and the chaos that led to the loss of one of the brave responders to this chaos. Because the day after the citizens of Georgia went out to vote, it was confirmed that both Jon Osoff and Raphael Warnock, the two democratic candidates, had won their races. And that meant that the senate was in democratic control! That was fresh news as the rally started, and it heated the crowd like pretty much no one had seen before at a Trump rally! As the president spoke, he did something that no president has ever done before. He incited violence through his supporters. He encouraged them to go down to the capitol and riot, so that they could stop the results of the election from being confirmed!
However, they did everything but that, as in the days following this insurrection of the capitol, where people broke into the building of the capitol, caused lawmakers to take shelter and even put on gas masks, and went so far as to steal items from the offices of the lawmakers, very few people stood by them. The politicians who did not issue statements condemning the violence were few and far between, and fortunately, they did not succeed in trying to stop the election from being approved. After congress conjoined on Wednesday, they came back together on Friday and approved the results of the election, unlike what fraudulent claims said!
Now, just two weeks after rioters scaled the walls of the capital, the National Mall had been shut down, as had most federal buildings, as many members of the government attended the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States! This inauguration made history in so many ways, however the most notable of these was through Kamala Harris. She is the first female vice president to ever have been elected, and now, the first female vice president to have taken office!
Her husband, Doug Emhoff, also made history, as he is the first second gentleman ever to be in that sort of position as well! However, the ceremony that officially made Harris the vice president was nothing short of incredible. Amy Klobuchar, the Democratic senator from Michigan, who was on the inauguration committee, welcomed the first female Latinx Supreme court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the podium that stood on the balcony of the capitol, and as Doug Emhoff held the Bible that many presidents and vice presidents before have sworn their oath to, Sotomayor repeated words that will be forever famous!
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
And following that, no one in the United States is no longer able to say that there has never been a woman vice president in office!
However, for President Biden, things were a bit different. He is the 46th president of the United States, and as Senator Klobuchar called him to the stand, his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, held the massive bible, that only three presidents have not sworn on. Theodore Roosevelt did not use a bible to take the oath, while John Quincy Adams swore on a book of the law, with the intention that he was swearing on the constitution. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on a Roman Catholic missal on Air Force One, after receiving the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated.
However, Biden was no different from the other 43 presidents. He took his oath on the bible that his wife held, and with the leader of the supreme court John Roberts prompting him, he said, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” We had the 46th president. However there was much more behind the inauguration, including guests, performances, but most notable was the security.
For much of the time, in many past inaugurations, thousands upon millions of people have attended the inauguration to arrive and either cheer or boo the new president. Many people have sat on the traditional bleachers that had been set up in previous years, that had sat on the capitol steps as well as below, so that spectators could watch. However, this year was very different. Due to the pandemic and the recent insurrection of the capitol building, the guest list was very limited.
Notably present were all 9 of the supreme court justices, including most recently appointed Amy Coney Barrett, who received a lot of attention for wearing a mask, which is unusual among the people who have supported the former president as Trump often made claims that the coronavirus is a hoax set up by the democrats. Many senators and congresspeople were also there, including senate majority and senate minority leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi! Many former presidents attended, and Biden in his inaugural speech spoke of 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, who is the oldest surviving president, who was not able to attend due to health risks.
However most notable were the Obama’s, who came the day after Michelle Obama’s birthday, to see the former vice president under Barack Obama become the president of the United States! Michelle Obama sported a popular outfit at the inauguration which was all purple, as the theme for this inauguration was unity. This represented the two political parties combined, because traditionally use Blue for Democrats and Red for Republicans, and red and blue combined makes purple!
Someone who was notably missing from the inauguration was the former president, who would usually come to congratulate the new president, however, Donald Trump announced through the White House Twitter account that he would not be attending the inauguration. This was because he has still claimed that the election results were fraudulent, and he has said that he would not congratulate someone who wrongly won an election. This comes after the former president had his Twitter and Facebook accounts shut down because he had provoked the violence at the capital through them!
However former vice president Mike pence did attend the inauguration with his wife, and he did at the end of the inauguration have the traditional ceremony where he would say goodbye to the people, however, this usually also would have included the notably absent former president, and he, unlike the president, did congratulate Biden and Harris on their win in the election, after he released a statement the day of the riots on the capitol saying that it was beyond his power to overturn the results of the Georgia election!
However, the most notable difference for this year against previous inaugurations was the security there. There was no crowd that had often cheered in the bleachers, because of Covid and the capital riots. The government simply was not going to take those sorts of risks with the new president, as they had seen what could happen if the former president provoked his supporters, or fueled violence. Many more secret service agents could be seen, and the national mall had been shut down so that no one even had the opportunity to get close to the new president!
The capitol building was guarded by 25,000 national guard members, all armored, so that there was a very quick response to any sort of threat! There was bulletproof glass that surrounded the president and his family as they spoke, and anyone who came to Washington had to go through a grueling process. Starting a few days after the capitol riots, the TSA start screening anyone who went to Washington, in hopes that they could foil an assassination attempt. They would check people’s background, see if they had gun licenses, or even owned a registered weapon, and anyone who looked suspicious was not allowed to leave their state!
Thankfully, this preparation paid off, because there was no sort of threat at the inauguration, despite the worries that there would be. And thankfully, not all of the inauguration was completely controversial, in fact when Biden gave his first inaugural address as president, he spoke of how he hoped that he could unite the country, so that it was not red and blue, so that it was not based on who you voted for, and he said that he hoped that he would be able to unite the American people under the common cause of fighting the pandemic!
More than that, the inauguration had some wonderful performances. Lady Gaga in a stunningly huge red dress sang the national anthem, while Jennifer Lopez performed a mashup of America the Beautiful and This land is your land, by Woody Guthrie. But one of the most stunning performances came after the vice president and president were sworn in, a 23-year-old African-American poet read one of her poems and spoke of the country that was divided, and a country that with work could mend, that had become united after there were the north and south, and how all 50 states could really become one country if we all tried!
And now that live coverage is over, now that the Biden move into the White House has begun, we wait for 100 million people to get the vaccine in the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency!