This Inauguration Day, when President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States later today, will be unlike anything seen before.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent violent insurrection at the Capitol have heavily impacted the inauguration proceedings, as no crowds are allowed to fill the National Mall and no large post-ceremony celebrations will take place, reported The Hill.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office as the new president and vice president at about noon (12 pm EST). Harris, who is to become the first female, first Black American and the first Asian-American vice president, will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the court.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will then administer the presidential oath to Biden, who will place his hand on a family Bible.

Biden, who is known around the world for his stint as the vice president during Barack Obama’s administration, will be the oldest person ever sworn in as president of the country. He turned 78 in November 2020.

Following the ceremony, Biden and Harris will visit the Arlington National Cemetery and will also receive a military escort from 15th Street to the White House. The escort will include the US Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard, and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and Fife and Drum Corps from the 3rd US Infantry “The Old Guard.”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump will be the first sitting president since 1869 to skip his successor’s inauguration, even though it has been customary for the outgoing president to attend the inauguration ceremony.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the inauguration on January 20th,” Trump said in a tweet earlier this month. Biden is okay with Trump’s absence, calling it “a good thing” and “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on.”

However, outgoing Vice President Mike Pence has accepted the invite and plans to attend the ceremony in support of the transition. In addition, top Republican Congressional leaders, Senator Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have also since distanced themselves from Trump and are expected to attend the inauguration, The Hill reported.

The ceremony will also be attended by former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Apart from Biden and Harris, Georgia’s two newly elected Democratic senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are also expected to be sworn in to secure a majority for the Democrats in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the security restrictions around the inauguration have been heavily tightened since a mob pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol on January 6. The Capitol complex is now witnessing the presence of thousands of National Guard members with multiple layers of tall security fences.
Most of the streets leading to and from the Capitol have been shut down, as is much of the city’s downtown core, while several Metro stations and even multiple bridges connecting Virginia and the nation’s capital will be closed today.

At least three people have been arrested in recent days for attempting to enter the secure perimeter without authorization or carrying weapons near checkpoints, according to The Hill.

The US Capitol Hill on Monday went into a temporary lockdown after a fire broke out under a nearby bridge, although the Secret Service clarified that there was no threat to the public.

After assuming the presidency, Biden is expected to take numerous executive actions, including asking the Education Department to extend a pause on student loan payments; rejoining the Paris climate accord; reversing Trump’s travel ban on several mostly Muslim countries; and issuing a mask mandate on federal property and interstate travel, The Hill reported.

He is also expected to unveil legislation that would provide a legal pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the US illegally.

In his victory speech in his hometown, Wilmington, Delaware in November, the former vice president pledged to unite the country as he called it ‘a time to heal in America’. “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify; who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States,” Biden said.

On the other hand, Harris was the first Indian-American to serve as a US senator and first woman of colour to have been elected district attorney of San Francisco. When she was elected Attorney General of California in 2010, she was the first woman and first African-American to hold the post. (ANI)