During his final weeks as president, Donald Trump faced many challenges in office such as the Capitol riot and his second impeachment. Attempting to recover from a damaged legacy following a strenuous time, Trump publicized a farewell address to America on his final day in office. On the eve of inauguration day, Trump delivered his final official presidential speech in which emphasized the “hard work” of his “family” and proceeded to “thank the American people” (ABC). Breaking presidential tradition, Donald Trump promptly left Washington D.C. hours prior to Biden’s inauguration. Although former vice president, Mike Pence, attended the ceremony, Trump and former first lady Melania Trump flew to an estate in Florida. With Trump’s departure from the White House, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20th, 2021. Explaining the “challenging time” caused by the devastating effects of COVID-19, Biden called for the “unity” of democracy in his inauguration speech. The newly sworn-in president encouraged the American people to come together and “open our souls instead of hardening our hearts”, stating that “politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire” (The New York Times). Hours after his inauguration, Biden set straight to work by signing seventeen executive orders Wednesday afternoon, beginning his presidential term with urgent action. Included in Biden’s first executive orders are rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and terminating Trump’s travel ban on Muslim and African countries.
Along with President Biden, Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president, making history as the “first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to hold the nation’s second highest office” (ABC). Harris’s role as second in command marks a major milestone in the American legacy, as many citizens are eager to have someone in power who represents a new demographic. On Wednesday afternoon, Vice President Kamala Harris swore in three newly elected senators: Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and Alex Padilla of California. With three additional seats, the democratic party now holds a narrow majority in the Senate with fifty seats, as VP Harris wields tie-breaking power.
Among a grandiose ceremony, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman delivered her poem at the inauguration on Wednesday, becoming the youngest inaugural poet in history (The New York Times). In previous weeks leading up to January 20th, Gorman struggled to finish her poem since she faced the challenge of writing lines that would both address the truth while bringing unity to a nation that is currently vulnerable to a pandemic and political divide. Finishing her poem on the night of the political riots on January 6th, Gorman recited a poem on Wednesday that would be influential and inspire hope during an unprecedented time.
Kickstarting the next four years with a new presidential team and immediate executive orders, President Biden pledges “to restore the soul and secure the future of America” (ABC).