Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as President of the United States on Wednesday (January 20), assuming the helm of a country reeling from deep political divides, a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.
Shortly after the inaugural ceremony, Biden signed nomination papers, his first official act as President. He and Vice President Harris then received gifts from bipartisan leaders of congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell gifted them with a pair of U.S. flags that were flown over the Capitol during the inauguration. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer presented photos of the President and Vice President taking the oath of office, Senator Amy Klobuchar presented the President and vice President with Lennox vases and Senator Roy Blunt presented a painting on loan from the Smithsonian to the First Couple.
Biden, 78, became the oldest U.S. president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president after she was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member.
(Production: Kia Johnson)