Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, in an event that was held at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.
Biden, who of course served as VP under President Barack Obama, and running mate Kamala Harris, who on Monday resigned her Senate seat, were sworn in as president and vice president shortly before noon. Biden then delivered his first presidential address to the country, with the theme “America United.”
Watch swearing-in and speech videos below.
Once the dust had settled after the November election, Biden amassed 306 total electoral college votes to President Donald Trump’s 232, while in the popular vote he collected north of 81 million votes to Trump’s 74.2 million. That victory was certified on Jan. 6 by a joint session of Congress that was temporarily halted when a mob of pro-Trump protesters stormed and infiltrated the U.S. Capitol. A total of five people, including one lawman, died as a result of the attempted insurrection.
The Inauguration Day proceedings began with an invocation by the Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan, a Jesuit priest who is a friend of the Biden family. Also as part of the preamble, Andrea Hall, the first African American female firefighter to become captain of the Fire Rescue Department in South Fulton, Ga., delivered the Pledge of Allegiance; Lady Gaga sang the national anthem (watch video); and Amanda Gorman, who became the country’s first Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, read a poem she wrote for the occasion, titled “The Hill We Climb.” Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks also sang.
Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Biden, while Harris — the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American vice president — was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court.
Former POTUSes Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all attended, with former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Jimmy Carter, at age 96, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter sent their regrets. Donald Trump was the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869, though his vice president, Mike Pence, did attend.
In what was designed as a COVID-safer event, the inaugural committee is honoring those who stay away with the “Field of Flags,” a public art display on the National Mall that features some 191,500 U.S. flags of assorted sizes. There are also 56 “pillars of light” in honor of all U.S. states and territories.