The specter of the coronavirus pandemic and fears of a recurrence of the violence that rocked the Capitol two weeks in the past mixed to offer President Biden’s swearing-in on Wednesday a feel and appear like no earlier inauguration.
As an alternative of throngs of celebrating well-wishers crowding the Capitol and adjoining areas, the grounds have been reduce off by what needed to be essentially the most intense safety ever for the occasion. Streets have been barricaded for blocks in all instructions, hundreds of Nationwide Guard troops flooded the Capitol grounds for added safety, and army autos have been conspicuous.
To forestall the unfold of the coronavirus, Biden inauguration planners imposed strict testing and social distancing necessities for the ceremony. Because of this, the often crowded inaugural platform was reserved for the principle contributors themselves. Lawmakers and different dignitaries have been relegated to fastidiously spaced seats in entrance of the platform.
However Mr. Biden and his internal circle believed it was important for the ceremony to happen as traditional exterior the West Entrance of the Capitol — an space overrun by a violent mob two weeks earlier — to indicate the American public and the world that democracy would endure within the face of even essentially the most strident makes an attempt to upend it.
President Donald J. Trump and his spouse, Melania Trump, left the White Home early within the morning. Aides walked out with containers, and a transferring truck was parked on the grounds. Mr. Trump gave a farewell speech at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland earlier than flying to Florida on Air Power One for the final time, saying in remarks earlier than the flight, “Have a great life. We’ll see you quickly.”
Mr. Biden attended a Mass on the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington earlier than the inauguration ceremony, together with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican chief; Speaker Nancy Pelosi and different congressional leaders. The Nationwide Mall was closed to guests for safety causes.
Mr. Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their households have been greeted by Senators Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, and Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. They ascended the East Entrance stairs flanked by the Capitol Police.
Artists carry out
The inauguration ceremony was crammed with performances. Girl Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks sang the nationwide anthem and “This Land is Your Land.” Amanda Gorman, 22, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. historical past, learn her poem “The Hill We Climb.”
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris take their oaths of workplace
Ms. Harris was sworn in first, utilizing a Bible owned by Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights lawyer who grew to become the primary African-American to carry a seat on the Supreme Courtroom. Mr. Biden, standing along with his spouse, Jill Biden, and kids Ashley and Hunter, used a Bible with a Celtic cross that has been in his household since 1893.
Mr. Biden proclaimed that “democracy has prevailed” and referred to as for unity in his Inaugural Tackle. “We should finish this uncivil conflict — purple in opposition to blue, rural versus city, conservative versus liberal,” he stated.
The standard parade down Pennsylvania Avenue needed to be reimagined for the pandemic and was a largely digital occasion. With no supporters capable of attend, Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris every walked a brief distance in entrance of the closely secured path to the White Home.
Mr. Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations throughout his first hours in workplace, aiming to reverse a few of the Trump administration’s actions on immigration, local weather change, the pandemic and racial equality, amongst different points. He then participated in a digital swearing-in for his employees.
Jen Psaki, the White Home press secretary, held her first briefing and promised to convey “reality and transparency again to the briefing room.”
Inauguration Day was capped off with a digital prime-time particular, reasonably than the standard inaugural balls that will have posed pandemic hazards. After star-studded performances by musicians and actors, the Biden household watched fireworks from their new house.