WXMI — President Biden was officially sworn in on Wednesday, not in front of the large crowds that typically attend inaugural ceremonies but instead under the watchful eye of 25,000 National Guard troops amid security concerns.
The Capitol, which found itself under attack two weeks ago to the day, set the backdrop for an historic transition. Kamala Harris became the first female, Asian-American and Black American to be sworn in as Vice President.
Biden and Harris inherit a deeply divided nation, one battling a raging pandemic. The National Mall – which typically serves as a viewing gallery for the throngs of attendees – was instead covered in flags representing the over 400,000 Americans who lost their lives to the coronavirus.
“We are entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus,” said Biden after his swearing in Wednesday. “We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation.”
With the Capitol attacks still fresh on the minds of many Americans, Biden preached unity, even among those who did not vote for him.
“To restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,” he said. “I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.”
Biden and Harris will hit the ground running. Already, their administration has drafted executive orders reversing the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and providing a possible pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Some of his policies will need the approval of Congress, but with the swearing in of Democrats John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Democrats control both houses of Congress. That should also make it far easier for Biden to get his cabinet pick confirmed.