New President, New America

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Erin Schaff/The New York Times

President Joseph R. Biden Jr and his wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden

Lucy Friedl, Staff Writer

On January 20, 2021, the United States of America welcomed a new president and vice president. At 12 PM ET, Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the oath of office to become the nation’s 46th president. Moments earlier, Kamala D. Harris became the first woman, the first woman of color, and the first woman of Asian descent to become the vice president of the United States.

Due to the pandemic, much of the usual festivities enjoyed during a normal inauguration did not occur. On the balcony, people were separated and told to wear masks.

Former President Donald Trump did not attend the inauguration, but former Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance. Others in attendance included former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, as well as former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn did not attend the inauguration but sent President Biden and Vice President Harris congratulations. This marks the first inauguration in 44 years that Jimmy Carter did not attend.

During the ceremony, there were performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks. Reading a poem during the inauguration was 22-year-old Amanda Gorman performing a poem she wrote entitled “The Hill We Climb.” Gorman was inspired to write the poem after the attacks on the capitol on January 6, a mere two weeks before Biden’s inauguration.

Shortly after the ceremony ended, President Biden and Vice President Harris and their spouses, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, were presented with gifts. First, they were shown a painting that a black artist painted at the time of the civil war entitled Landscape with Rainbow. It was on loan from the Smithsonian. Next, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) presented President Biden with a commemorative vase with the White House on the front and Vice President Harris with a commemorative vase with the United States Capitol on the front. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented Vice President Harris with a flag flown during the inauguration. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, also presented President Biden with a flag flown during the inauguration.

The first family then walked the mall to the White House. They posed for photos and went inside, ready to go to work. Shortly after, the second family followed suit and walked the mall towards the White House and posed for photos before going inside.

A few hours later, President Biden signed into law 17 executive orders in attempt to get the virus under control. ”

A few hours later, President Biden signed into law 17 executive orders in attempt to get the virus under control. By signing the executive orders, the president stopped funding for Donald Trump’s border wall. He also reversed Trump’s attempts to withdraw from various international agreements, such as the Paris Climate Accord. The United States has since rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and has stopped the United States’ departure from the World Health Organization. Dr. Anthony Fauci will lead the United States division of the organization in attempt to get COVID-19 under control.

The first action he took as president was to order a mask mandate. Any time someone is on federal land, they must be wearing a mask. With President Biden signing a mask mandate, he is going in a different direction from former President Trump to deal with the coronavirus. The president’s plan for vaccine distribution is 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office.