Joseph Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States during the 59th presidential inauguration, alongside Kamala Harris as vice president.
The ceremony was attended by previous presidents and their wives, such as George and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama. Donald and Melania Trump did not attend but left the White House for the last time earlier that morning. Mike and Karen Pence did attend.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar opened the ceremony by speaking about the blessings of democracy and condemning the violence that happened at the White House over two weeks ago. She said now is the time to celebrate democracy.
“Now it falls on all of us, not just the two leaders we are inaugurating today, to take up the torch of democracy, not as a weapon of political arson but as an instrument for good,” Klobuchar said.
Sen. Roy Blunt took the stand next to speak about unprecedented circumstances and the importance of the inaugural ceremony.
The invocation was led by Rev. Father Leo O’Donovan, and Lady Gaga performed the National Anthem accompanied by the president’s marine band.
Fire Capt. Andrea Hall recited the pledge of allegiance in both English and American Sign Language.
Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first African American, Asian American and first female vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Harris swore on two Bibles stacked on top of each other: one owned by a close family friend and the other owned by the late Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Jennifer Lopez then performed a medley of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” also accompanied by the president’s marine band.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Biden, who swore in using the same family bible he used when swearing-in as vice president in 2008 and 2012.
Biden then addressed the nation for the first time as president.
He spoke about the importance of unity. He pleaded with Americans to come together in these difficult times as we face unforeseen circumstances.
“And we must meet this moment as the United States of America,” Biden said. “If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together.”
To read the full speech, visit the White House website.
Garth Brooks then performed “Amazing Grace” a capella, after which Amanda Gorman took the stage as the national youth poet laureate, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, to read a poem about standing strong in the face of adversity.
The benediction was then led by Rev. Silvester Beaman.
Two televised events replaced the traditional parade and inaugural ball: “Parade Across America” and “Celebrating America,” an event hosted by Tom Hanks.
Historically, the first 100 days after a president takes office set the precedent for the rest of his term, and Biden seems to be getting a head start on his 100 days by signing over a dozen executive orders his first day in office. These executive orders include rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and establishing a mask mandate on federal property.
“These are all starting points,” Biden said to reporters before signing.
In Trump’s first 100 days, he signed 24 executive orders, only one of them on his very first day in office, according to politifact.
The end of Biden’s first 100 days will be April 30.