The inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President on Wednesday took place amid a slew of firsts: Unprecedented security, in the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol on January 6; an audience without people, barring dignataries; the swearing in of the first African-American, Asian-American, and first Asian Vice President; and the inauguration ceremony of the oldest President in US history.
Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman, who bravely diverted a mob from the House chamber during the attack on January 6, escorted Kamala Harris to the Capitol on January 20, as the Vice-President elect arrived to take her oath of office—becoming America’s first Black, first South Asian, and first female, Vice President.
Justice Sonia delivered the oath of office to Harris. “I, Kamala Devi Harris, do solemnly swear, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
In a purple dress, designed by two Black designers, Harris arrived for the historic moment. Former Presidents and their families were also present, including Barack and Michelle Obama, the Clintons and the Bushes. Missing, in a breach of tradition, was the outgoing president, Donald Trump, who boarded an Air Force One flight to Florida on Wednesday morning after leaving the White House for the final time.
Lady Gaga sang the national anthem. Unlike inauguration past, there were no large crowds of supporters, instead, a field of flags represented the people who could not be present due to the necessity of social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jennifer Lopez performed a rendition of Ray Charles ‘America, the Beautiful’.
Biden, 78, will take the oath of office as the 46th President of the United States while Harris, 56, will be sworn in as the 49th US Vice President.
Over 25,000 National Guard troops are guarding the venue and nearby areas to ensure that the nation’s transfer of power can take place peacefully.
Biden, who is set to be the oldest president in American history, will succeed President Donald Trump, 74, who has decided not to attend the swearing-in ceremony. Harris will take over the office of the US Vice President from 61-year-old Mike Pence.
The President-elect is wearing a navy suit and a navy overcoat, both designed by American designer Ralph Lauren. His wife Dr Jill Biden is wearing an ocean blue wool tweed coat and dress by emerging American designer Alexandra O’Neil of Markarian.
Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant from Chennai, will create history by becoming the first-ever woman Vice President of the United States. She would also be the first female, first Black and first South Asian American vice president.
Her husband Douglas Emhoff, 56, will be the first Second Gentleman’ – the first male spouse of a vice president in the US.
Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to Biden just after the clock strikes 12 (local time) at the West Front of the Capitol – the traditional location for presidential inaugural ceremonies.