Before becoming the most powerful man in the world, Joe Biden lived through 14 Presidencies, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt through Donald Trump. When he took the oath of office on the West Front of the Capitol as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, Biden, 78, became the oldest Commander-in-Chief ever inaugurated.
As an effort for Americans to not see themselves as solely Democrats and Republicans, Biden set a tone of unity during his inauguration address,” the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On ‘We the People’ who seek a more perfect Union. This is a great nation, and we are a good people. Over the centuries through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we have come so far. But we still have far to go. We will press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and possibility.”
Just the second black woman ever to serve in the Senate, Kamala Harris, with her husband Doug Emhoff by her side, was sworn in as Vice President by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The theme of the inauguration was “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union” to emphasis the peaceful transition of power. Notable figures who attended the ceremony included: outgoing Vice President Mike Pence, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Presidents Barack Obama, Georgia W. Bush and Bill Clinton along with respective First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Sonia Sotomayer, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Barret in additional to numerous members in both chambers of Congress.
A meme of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sitting with his legs crossed in a chair wearing mittens instantly took over the internet. Within hours, he put the viral image on a black crewneck sweater and sold it for $45. All of the proceeds, over three million dollars and counting, will go to Meals on Wheels Vermont which is an initiative that serves hot meals to individuals under 60 with disabilities or chronic conditions.
An impressive lineup of celebrities also participated in the inauguration: Country musician Garth Brooks, pop icons Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez as well as activist Amanda Gorman, among others.
When Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, the US population was approximately 210 million. Today, that number hovers around 330 million. As of Wednesday morning, there have been approximately 425,000 COVID-19 related deaths. President Biden has warned that it will take months to turn around the pandemic trajectory.
The first tweet he sent out on January 20 said, “There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.”
So far four of President Biden’s cabinet nominees have been confirmed by the Senate: Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
In the coming weeks, the Senate will decide either to acquit or convict Donald Trump for his role in the Capitol Hill Riots. President Biden is on the record saying, “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”
President Biden signed 30 executive orders within his first 72 hours on the job. For the first time ever, when Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, there will be two women behind a Commander-in-Chief: VP Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Salem native Chris Thomas, 34, says he never thought he would see such a day in American politics. “I am experiencing history in real time,” he said. “I will be able to tell my grandchildren in vivid details the monumental significance of this moment.”