Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States

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Courtesy Photo

Joe Biden signs executive orders his first day in office.

Alexandra Pawlitz, Editor

As of Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden officially became the 46th president of the United States. Standing along the side of him was the first female vice president in the history of vice presidents, Kamala Harris. 

On Jan. 19, 2021, Donald Trump announced he would not be attending the inauguration. He is the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869. Even though Trump didn’t attend the inauguration, former Vice President Mike Pence attended. 

Chloe Baxter mentioned, “While I found it pretty jarring that President Trump didn’t attend the inauguration, I still felt it went off without a hitch. This was the first time I was old enough to actually understand the importance of the inauguration, and it was so interesting to see. To have people who are usually so divided by political differences come together peacefully for an event was definitely a breath of fresh air.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 inauguration was different than any other inauguration. There wasn’t the usual 200,000 special guests watching on packed grandstands at the capitol or the hundreds of thousands more flag-waving Americans filling the National Mall to bear witness. Due to the protests at the Capitol Jan. 6, the entire city of Washington D.C. was on lockdown. At the inauguration, there were 12-foot fences topped with razor wire around the Capitol grounds. Along with the razor wire, 25,000 National Guard troops were present in case of another attack. The National Mall was strictly off-limits to vehicles and pedestrians, and 200,000 American flags were planted in memory of the over 400,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19. While the inauguration was taking place, downtown Washington was barricaded and restricted to residents only. 

Only about 1,000 members of congress, governors and their guests all were tested for the Coronavirus before being admitted to watch Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take the oath of office on the west front of the capitol. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted a smaller crowd to attend the inauguration due to the pandemic and all the safety measures that have to be put in place. 

At the inauguration, Lady Gaga performed the national anthem and Jennifer Lopez performed as well. 

Normally, the day of the new president being sworn in, there is a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue as the new president travels the mile to take residence at the White House. There is also a traditional short walk for a portion of the trip by the president and first lady, but due to COVID-19 safety protocols, both of these events were cancelled this year. 

After Joe Biden got sworn in, he gave a speech to the American people. He talked of his future plans and how he hopes to make the United States of America the country he once knew. 

Biden commented, “Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonisation have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured.”