On Wednesday, Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th president and the 49th vice president of the US. The theme of this historical day was “America United,” but the coronavirus pandemic and the fears of possible terrorist outbursts following recent riots at the US Capitol altered the ceremony.
Unlike Trump, Biden hoped his live audience would be the smallest, as people would tune in from the safety of their homes. And as for Trump himself, who hit the lowest low of support in his first and final term of the presidency, he was absent altogether. Check out people’s reactions to Trump's last days in the White House in our previous post right here.
But with Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez leading the concert in Washington, and Bernie Sanders, who looked like he “clearly left the car running for this one,” winning the inauguration, people online had plenty of things to reflect on on this big day which brought many of us some long-awaited peace. Let’s see what their reactions were in our hand-picked selection below.
President Biden’s inauguration looked very different from past ceremonies. The first difference was the absence of the outgoing Trump, which made it the first time this happened in more than a century and a half. But Biden seemed to be in accordance with Trump’s decision to skip the ceremony for his one-way ticket to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Biden said it’s "one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on."
Then, following the Capitol riots, the event was run with heightened security measures and Covid-19 precautions. There were no crowds like we saw in the pre-coronavirus world, like Obama’s inauguration, which drew in more than 310,000 people.
Yet, the air was filled with heightened spirits and hope as Biden called for unity and pledged to be a “president for all Americans”—meaning those who didn’t support his campaign, too.
Some of the most notable moments of the event included a poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, who's the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate. Amanda urged people to unify, but said that the purpose of her poetry was not to highlight hope, but to show that words have power, which seemed to be forgotten under Trump’s administration.
She said: "We’ve seen over the past few years the way in which the power of words has been violated and misappropriated. And what I wanted to do was kind of reclaim poetry as that site in which we can re-purify, re-sanctify, not only the Capitol building that we saw violated, but the power of words and invest that in kind of the highest office of the land.”
Rebuilding, unifying, and healing were among the most prominent topics of Biden’s inauguration. Biden reiterated his call for unity on Wednesday evening with a primetime inauguration special “Celebrating America.”
In a speech, Biden addressed the American people. “It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words. Humbling out of respect to President Lincoln and the office we now share and humbling because of you, the American people," Biden said. "As I said earlier today, we have learned again that democracy is precious and because of you, democracy has prevailed."