WASHINGTON – Wednesday ended with a new resident of the White House.
President Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States during an inaugural ceremony under tight lockdown.
“This is America’s day, this is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve,” Biden said during his inaugural speech in a call for unity. “To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity.”
Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman—and Black and south Asian American woman—to hold the office.
Former President Trump was notable absent from the inauguration. He left the White House Wednesday morning and gave remarks before boarding Air Force One to Florida.
“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,” Trump said. “Goodbye, we love you, we will be back in some form.”
While no spectators were in attendance because of security and COVID-19 protocols, University City Native Gabe Fleisher, who just went back to college in D.C. last week wanted to get as close to the action as possible.
Fleisher also runs a political newsletter, Wake Up to Politics, which sends daily newsletters each more to its nearly 50,000 subscribers. He tried to get one of the limited press passes, but was denied.
“I saw many more military members did I see people wanting to watch the inauguration, which is very far from the norm,” Fleisher said. He attended former President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony and said although he was young, he noticed the stark differences between the two.
“There was this sense of celebration that was just not in downtown DC today,” he said.
After the ceremony and a few ritual events, a motorcade took the new administration to the White House where President Biden signed 17 executive actions, including a mask mandate on federal property.
“There’s no time to start like today,” Biden said. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”
Biden also signed to stop the U.S. from withdrawing from the World Health Organization, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and requiring non-citizens to be included in the census. Nine of the 17 actions Biden took in his first administrative actions as president were to reverse policies put into place from the Trump administration.