US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris sworn in at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

2021 January 20– Joseph R. Biden today took oath as the 46th president of the United States. Kamala Harris also took oath as the Vice-President at the West Front of the US capitol during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

 

The inauguration took place amidst extraordinary political, public health, and national security crises, including outgoing President Donald Trump’s attempts to invalidate the 2020 United States presidential election. On Wednesday, January 7, 2021, the riot incited a violent attack of the United States Capitol, led to the evacuation and lockdown of the Capitol and five deaths.

Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed ahead of the inauguration, further stoking anxiety among Americans and concerned observers.

Festivities were also sharply curtailed by efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the potential for violence near the Capitol.

The pandemic has placed limits on the crowd’s size that would typically gather in the US capital for the ceremony. The live audience was restricted to members of the 117th United States Congress and, for each, one guest of their choosing.

Public health measures such as mandatory face coverings, testing, temperature checks, and social distancing were used to protect participants in the ceremony.

Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga added some show-biz glitz to the ceremony, which took place at the West Front of the US Capitol, looking out on an empty Mall.

 

— Tess de Jesus, FWH