The Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday, January 20, marked a monumental change in leadership, with former-President Trump leaving and President Biden and Vice President Harris being sworn into their new positions. Standing in stark contrast to the insurrection at the Capitol just two weeks prior, the inauguration demonstrated the strength of US democracy. Despite widespread fears of a repetition of the January 6 insurrection, the ceremony was conducted smoothly, but under strict security measures and military supervision.
Trump’s farewell speech on the morning of the inauguration, delivered to a small crowd of his family members, political allies, and some supporters, was filled with superlatives and compliments about his family, administration, and base. He did not mention Biden or Harris by name during the speech, alluding to them only when he said, “I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they'll have great success, they have the foundation to do something really spectacular.” In contrast to former Vice President Mike Pence and the former Second Lady Karen Pence, Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump did not attend the inauguration.
The ceremony took place just before noon, after a morning replete with musical performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks, and a much-lauded poetry recitation by the first National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. Biden’s speech centered around his plea for national unity. A Politico article called his speech “surprisingly effective”, as it “preach[ed] respect to a country that’s become addicted to contempt.” However, Fox News host Sean Hannity attacked Biden’s remarks as being “forgettable, [...] worn-out, liberal cliches.”
Biden followed through with some campaign promises in the first few days of his term. Within 24 hours of being inaugurated, he signed 17 executive actions, all of them reversals of the previous administration’s policies. They included some stricter COVID regulations, a pledge to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change, and a revocation of the permit for the highly controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Still, Biden will eventually have to move past issuing blitzes of executive orders and onto issues that require Congressional approval, like an economic stimulus package and the $2,000 cash payments he’s promised to most Americans.