2021 Inauguration

2021 Inauguration

Julia Barth

No matter your political beliefs, the 2020 election was on the minds of almost everyone. This election ensued some of the most controversial opinions, beliefs, and debates, as the world has been so highly immersed in American politics since 2016 all the way through to the very last minute of the 2020 presidency. 

The 2020 election was, of course, between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Throughout Trump’s 2016 presidency, many Americans began to pay more attention to politics, as multiple controversies ensued. According to The Washington Post, a record-high number of Americans voted in the 2020 election with the eligible voting population casting their ballots. This shattered previous highs in the 2008, 1960, and 1908 elections.

Leading up to the election, millions of people cast their votes either in person or through the mail. However, in the end, Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris beat Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, becoming the 46th President and VP of the United States. Biden won the election-winning 306 electoral votes and winning the popular vote 51.3% to 46.8%.

Even in the final months of the term, scandals ensued as many Republicans questioned the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, including Trump himself. In the end, the votes were recounted and the results were the same with very little voter fraud detected. The Washington Post calculated a 0.0025% of possible voter fraud.

In the very last moments of Trump’s term, he was impeached for the second time, becoming the first president to ever be impeached twice. After beating his first impeachment case and remaining in office, he was impeached again after ensuing violence on the nation by condemning the riots that led to the raid of the nation’s capital. Trump’s second impeachment case on the basis of “incitement of insurrection” will presumably begin on February 9th.

On the last day of his presidency, President Trump used his pardon powers pardoning 73 people and 73 commutations. Some of the popular names pardoned include Albert Pirro Jr, Steve Bannon, Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, and others. Some were surprised neither Trump himself, his personal attorney Rudy Guiliani and popular tv star Joe Exotic were not on his pardon list.

Kamala Harris became the first woman, first black, and first Asian-American Vice President in this election, giving hope to thousands of young girls across the nation. Again with the firsts, President Trump became the first president in 152 years to not attend the inauguration of his successor president. He is only the 4th president ever and follows Andrew Johnson in 1869. However, Mike Pence was in attendance at the ceremony. President Trump did leave Biden a letter at the oval office. Biden said he would not speak on the contents of the letter for President Trump’s privacy but he did say it was “very generous…”. 

At the inauguration ceremony, things kicked off with Kamala Harris being sworn in shortly after President Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden attended church. In her first speech as Vice President Harris offered an optimistic reinforcement and said:

“…We shoot for the moon and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless, and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up….”.

Following her groundbreaking speech, Joe Biden was sworn in and gave a powerful inauguration address. He began with a reassuring testament: “…This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve… ” and later on focused on the hopes of his Presidency: “…Much to repair. Much to restore. Much to heal. Much to build. And much to gain….”. 

Lady Gaga performed the national anthem, and there were other celebratory performances from Jenifer Lopez and Garth Brooks. Youth poet Amanda Gorman read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the ceremony that gave everyone goosebumps with its powerful message and portrayal of America. The young lady at just 22 years old also made history as the youngest ever youth poet to perform on the national stage.

 The newly sworn-in executives then joined with their spouses, conducted the historic review of the military troops before being joined by former presidents for the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Obamas, Bushs, and Clintons were all present.

Then, the inauguration parade kicked off, looking a little different this year. The new President and VP, and their families were military escorted from 15th Street to the White House. Similarly, the National Mall displayed the “Field of Flags” artwork where over 200,000 flags were set up to imitate the Americans who couldn’t be there due to Covid-19 or other measures.

Finally, the historic day ended with “The Celebrating America” program run by Tom Hanks which featured multiple celebrities including Justin Timberlake Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, and more. 

Besides the historic events that took place, millions of people went crazy over the outfits at the event. Former First Lady Michelle Obama arrived at the inauguration stunting a plum overcoat, turtleneck, wide-leg pants, and an oversized gold belt cinching the waist. President Obama arrived in a slick black suit with a long black overcoat. And of course, the couple rocked some plain black masks similar to the others present.

Jill Biden wore a white dress and coat embroidered with flowers from every state to symbolize unity. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden kept it simple and classy wearing a purple dress with her signature pearls, and a navy suit and powder blue tie. Finally, the media erupted over Senator Bernie Sanders’ outfit. I am sure you have seen the iconic picture, and now a meme, however, Sanders rocked a pair of upcycled mittens!