The United States Inaugurates Its New President And Vice-President

With a heavy military presence and a limited crowd, President Biden and Vice-President Harris take their oaths and get to work


photo courtesy of wikimedia

Due to safety concerns, Inauguration Day 2021 meant smaller live audience and a larger military presence.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala were sworn into office Wednesday, January 20. This month has been an eventful one in U.S. politics. The United States Senate flipped to a Democratic majority, the Capitol building was attacked, and former President Trump was impeached for a second time. In addition, COVID-19 cases have reached 25 million and led to 400,000 deaths with a slow vaccine roll-out.

Following the Capitol riots and attack on Congress on January 6, Trump was almost immediately impeached by the House as many people believed he incited this attack, during a rally earlier that morning. Trump is cited as saying, “you’ll never take back your country with weakness” and stating his disappointment in Mike Pence if he did not object to the results, a power the Vice President does not have.

Many believe these comments and claims of election fraud for the past three months have been inflammatory to a vulnerable audience; subsequently Trump has become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. This impeachment has much more Republican support than the last, with potentially up to 20 Republicans expected to join in the effort. 67 senators are needed to convict the former President.

Last week,Trump was impeached on a single article of impeachment: incitement of insurrection. Every single Democrat in the House of Representatives voted in support of impeachment, with 10 Republicans crossing party lines and voting to impeach. The Senate is setting a date for a trial in early February.

Adam Kinzinger is one of the 10 Republicans who crossed party lines in this impeachment vote. Kinzinger represents Illinois U.S. House District 16, neighboring Illinois U.S. House District 14, which includes St. Charles. 

Kinzinger wrote in a tweet following his vote to impeach President Trump: “It was a sobering moment to vote in support of impeachment today; to walk over to the U.S. Capitol, our symbol of democracy, and recall the violent insurrection we witnessed here just one week ago. This is not a vote I took lightly, but a vote I took confidently. I’m at peace.”

Formerly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), now Minority Leader, plans to begin hearings following the inauguration. News sources say he is looking to begin in February.

Some suggest this will cause debate and tension in Washington, and may also delay key Senate confirmations of Biden nominees, such as the Cabinet. The formerly Republican-led senate delayed the confirmation process of Biden’s nominees, starting only one day before inauguration. As CNN writes, Jen Psaki, a Biden spokeswoman, says, “Our expectation and hope and belief is that we can walk and chew gum at the same time…We are urging fast action on getting these nominees into place … as close to day one as possible.” 

On top of this process, three new Senators were sworn in following Biden’s inauguration: Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who won their races in run-off election victories against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, as well as Alex Padilla of California, who has replaced Kamala Harris’ senate seat.

With these Senate seat flips, Democrats will take control of the senate and the White House, maintaining their control of the House of Representatives. This full government control for the Democrats will make it much easier for Biden’s nominees to be confirmed. It will also be easier for Biden to pass his legislative agenda, at least for the next two years.

The inauguration on Wednesday had the most military presence in history with over 20,000 National Guardsmen present Following the Capitol attack, many experts worried of more riots and protest during the inauguration, leading to the fortification of Washington during the event.

Matthew Miller is the special agent in charge of the Secret Service Washington Field Office. Miller said in a press conference with the Mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, prior to the inauguration that “There’s a great deal of very concerning chatter, and it’s what you don’t know that we’re preparing for. So I don’t know if anyone has raised their hand to say, ‘We are coming. We will be there.’ But we are preparing as if they are.”

Biden, plans to roll back several Trump-era policies through executive orders and other actions immediately in his first few days in office. As of now, Biden has rejoined the Paris Climate Change agreement, rolled back Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, and has required masks on federal property and interstate travel.

The administration also plans on completing actions to reopen schools and businesses safely during the pandemic, using his Cabinet agencies to deliver financial relief to working families, and also expanding equity to communities of color, taking action on climate change, and to “restore dignity to our immigration system and our border policies.”

President Biden has also made it clear that containing the virus is a priority as well.