That of the 46th president of the United States is an inauguration without a crowd, in a cold and empty Washington, reminiscent of the assault on Congress on January 6 and where a bomb threat caused the evacuation of the Supreme Court. Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended the ceremony. All participants were wearing masks, keeping their distance from one another.
On the stage of the oath also Lady Gaga, who sang the American national anthem before Kamala Harris was sworn in, and Jennifer Lopez, pop star of Puerto Rican origins, who performed in ‘This land is your Land’. Lopez then spoke in Spanish shouting: “Freedom and justice for all!”.
The Young poet Amanda Gorman read her poem “The Hill we climb”, written after the January 6 violence on Capitol Hill. The 22-year-old was the youngest poet at a president’s swearing-in ceremony in addition to her title of National Youth Poet Laureate, a sort of Nobel Prize for young American writers. The young poet mentioned her personal experience as a “skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” who can dream of being president one day, “only to find herself reciting for one.” A common touch with Joe Biden, who was a stutterer as a child: as a child Amanda had to overcome a speech impediment that prevented her from spelling the “r” of “poetry”, for example. To choose Gorman for the occasion was Jill Biden who had recently admired her during a reading at the Library of Congress.
Kamala Harris, the first female Black and Asian American vice president of the United States, has been sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the nation’s highest court, with her hand on two bibles – one from the late Thurgood Marshall, the first Black supreme court justice, and one from family friend Regina Shelton.
“In tears watching this extraordinary moment for women in the US and the world,” said Oprah Winfrey.
“Today we are not celebrating the victory of a candidate but of democracy, which is precious and fragile, but today it has won” Biden commented in his first speech as president. He asked to stop “the uncivil war” to prevent a civil war, he urged “unity because without that there is no peace”. He has once again celebrated the Americans who lost their lives from Covid-19 by promising new measures to get out of it as soon as possible.
President Biden immediately broke with the past: 17 executive orders reversing Donald Trump’s legacy on public health, immigration and climate change. One of the first interventions includes the US re-entry into the climate agreement and The new administration also intends to enter into other international agreements and restore relations with WHO, the World Health Organization, considered “essential” in the fight against the Covid pandemic.
Another important chapter concerns the abolition of the Muslim ban which currently limits access to the United States for security reasons to citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, in addition to those from Venezuela and North Korea. Finally, another action taken is the halt to the works to widen the wall on the border with Mexico, with the immediate cessation of the state of emergency, which until now had allowed Trump to access special funding for the construction of the barrier.
Trump, meanwhile, left the scene after a short farewell speech, breaking the tradition of the outgoing president of taking part in the oath of his successor. “We’ll be back, somehow”, he assured before getting on the helicopter, already evoking his return to the political scene.