The event itself is relatively empty — there are no excited supporters gathered beneath a platform at the Capitol. Many of the roughly 1,000 guests in attendance are members of Congress and their guests, and former presidents, vice-presidents, and first ladies.
The Jan. 6 rampage on Capitol Hill only made event-planning matters worse. Up to 25,000 National Guard troops were in place by Wednesday in response to further security concerns that followed the riot by a pro-Trump mob.
The event is considered the largest security presence of any inauguration in U.S. history.
Biden and his vice-president, Kamala Harris, were inaugurated shortly before 12 p.m. ET, making Harris the first Black and first East-Indian American woman to assume the role.
Biden delivered his inaugural address shortly after being sworn in. It was the new president’s first chance to lay out an official agenda to Americans watching from home.
He vowed to end the “uncivil war” in a deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and grappling with a historic pandemic.
“Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge,” Biden said in his inaugural address.
“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy…At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
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— with files from the Associated Press and Reuters