By Our Reporter
True to his naughty self, former American president Donald Trump has written a very cheeky letter to his successor Joe Biden, whose inauguration ceremony was held on Wednesday January 20th, 2021.
Trump’s stunning letter which welcomed Biden to the White House is made of only one sentence; “Joe, You Know I Won.”
However, Trump’s letter becomes the shortest letter to ever be written by an American president, following former president Richard Nixon’s resignation letter after he was impeached in 1974 which read;
“Dear Mr. Secretary,
I hereby resign the office of the President of the United States.”
Key Takeaways From Biden’s Inauguration Day
These are the key takeaways from President Biden’s inauguration day;
It Was A Day Of Historic Firsts
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 – Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman, and as the first Black and South Asian American woman to become vice-president. She was sworn in by the supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the nation’s highest court. It was an emotional moment for many across the country. “In tears watching this extraordinary moment for women in the US and the world,” said Oprah Winfrey.
Soon after her inauguration, Harris swore Democrats Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff and Alex Padilla into the Senate. Warnock is the first Black senator from Georgia, and Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from the state. Padilla, who was appointed to take the California Senate seat vacated by Harris, is the first Latino senator to represent a state where Latino residents make up 40% of the population.
“As I traveled to Washington from Los Angeles, I thought about my parents and the sacrifices they made to secure the American dream for their son,” Padilla said.
“It’s a new day, full of possibility,” said Warnock, who has the unique title of “senator reverend” – his last job was pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr used to preach.
A new Senate later voted to confirm Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence – and she became the first woman to hold the post.
The pandemic cast a pall over the day
This inauguration day was also historic in that it took place amid a historic, tragic pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans. We saw Biden, Harris, and their guests – including former presidents and other dignitaries – wearing masks, keeping their distance from one another. An event that would normally have been attended by hundreds of thousands, or more than a million, was tempered by a respiratory infection that has prevented Americans, and the world, from gathering for big celebrations.
In lieu of an inaugural ball, Biden and Harris held a virtual celebration, which the Guardian’s arts writer Adrian Horton describes as a “seamless Zoom compilation” of speeches and performances. There were cheery, even joyful moments. Harris was escorted to the White House by the famed Showtime Marching Band of Howard University, her alma mater.
But there was a heaviness hanging over the day. In his inaugural address, Biden asked: “ I would like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those we lost this past year to the pandemic.
“To those 400,000 fellow Americans – mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We will honor them by becoming the people and nation we know we can and should be.”
Reversing Trump’s Legacy Was Biden’s First Order Of Business
Just hours after taking office, Biden signed a stack of 17 executive actions aimed at reversing Donald Trump’s legacy on public health, immigration and climate change.
His first move was to mandate masks and physical distancing in federal buildings, and on federal land – in a sharp contrast to his predecessor, who denied public health research and refused to don masks, Biden did so while wearing a mask.
The 46th president halted Trump’s travel ban aimed at Muslim-majority countries, ended emergency funding for the construction Trump’s border wall and moved to rejoin the World Health Organization.
He also signed an order allowing the United States to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and end the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census data used to determine how many seats in Congress each state gets. “I think some of the things we’re going to be doing are bold and vital, and there’s no time to start like today,” he said.
There was a return to presidential norms
The idea that the US could – or should – get back to norms after a tumultuous year defined by a deadly pandemic and a racial reckoning has been rightly met with dismay by activists, journalists, and many Americans who contend that normal wasn’t working.
“In the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice,” poet Amanda Gorman said at the inauguration.
But at the very least, Biden is reinstating some traditions – small and big. He’s bringing dogs back to the White House after his predecessor became the first president in a century to refuse a presidential pet. He had his executive orders fully vetted by the Office of Legal Counsel, as presidents are meant to.
One of the most significant norms to return: daily press briefings. During a cordial first briefing, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, answered some questions, obfuscated a bit, and promised to return the next day. After weeks and weeks without a coronavirus update from top health officials, Psaki promised that those become a regular affair as well. Journalists will still have to maintain their skepticism. But after the hostile, fantastical – and ultimately absent – press briefings of the Trump era, hearing Psaki say, “I’d love to take your questions,” came as a relief to many in the press corps.
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