Biden is in the building 😎

Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY
·6 min read

President Joe Biden sure has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Welcome to the White House. Now, let's get to work.

It's Ashley, ready to get this show on the road. Let's talk news.

But first, I demand to know what's in the letter: Former President Donald Trump has maintained the tradition of the outgoing president leaving a letter for the incoming president. But none of us know exactly what he wrote.

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Joseph R. Biden is president of the United States of America

Biden was inaugurated Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, marking the start of an administration that now must confront a deadly coronavirus pandemic, economic turmoil and deep divisions over American leadership. Forty-eight years after he entered Congress as the junior senator from Delaware, Biden stood at the U.S. Capitol and recited the oath of office in the Constitution – words that have been spoken by his predecessors, dating back to President George Washington. When he was finished, Biden grinned and kissed his wife Jill — officially the first "Professor FLOTUS."

In his first speech as commander in chief, Biden called on Americans to unify the nation: “We shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity, not division, of light, not darkness,” Biden said. The president promised to repair alliances with other countries, confront and defeat the rise of political extremism and combat the raging coronavirus pandemic as one nation.

The whole world watched on Jan. 20, 2021, as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president.
The whole world watched on Jan. 20, 2021, as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president.

Introducing Madam V‪ice President

You did it, Kamala Harris. Harris has officially become the first woman, the first Black woman and the first woman of South Asian descent to hold the office of vice president. Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a trailblazer in her own right as the first Latina justice on the high court. Harris has risen higher in the country's political leadership than any woman before. And her ascension marks a pivotal moment in women's pursuit of power and voice. It's a historic moment, but just the beginning.

Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office in a barrier-breaking ceremony on Jan. 20, 2021, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first South Asian American to hold the office.
Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office in a barrier-breaking ceremony on Jan. 20, 2021, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first South Asian American to hold the office.

Biden's first day in office: Let's get down to business

In a flurry of orders billed as "historic action on Day One," Biden plans to sign 15 executive orders and other directives in the evening, followed by several more over the next 10 days:

  • Immigration: Biden will end construction of Trump's signature wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, according to the president-elect's transition team, by proclaiming the "immediate termination" of the national emergency declaration Trump used to fund it.

  • Climate change: Biden has called climate change "an existential threat to the health of our planet and to our very survival." On his first day, Biden plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change, a treaty the U.S. formally exited in November after Trump withdrew in 2017. Also on his first day in office, Biden will cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

  • COVID-19: He will also take action to end Trump's withdrawal from the World Health Organization, which Trump abandoned in July. And, he's expected to issue a mask mandate on federal property as part of his efforts to combat the pandemic.

  • Racial justice: The president is likely to sign an order launching a governmentwide initiative directing every federal agency to review its state of racial equity and deliver an action plan within 200 days to address any disparities in policies and programs, according to Susan Rice, Biden’s domestic policy chief.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.

What everyone’s talking about

'Being American is more than a pride we inherit – it's the past we step into and how we repair it'

Amanda Gorman may only be 22, but she's just made history. Dressed in a bright yellow suit in front of the U.S. Capitol, Gorman performed her show-stopping original poem, "The Hill We Climb," making her the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Gorman celebrated the beauty of the country's diversity and called on Americans to rise to the occasion and leave their country better than they found it. ⁠"One thing is certain: If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children's birthright," Gorman recited. Read the powerful poem here.

Amanda Gorman, the nation's first national youth poet laureate, made history again Wednesday as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.
Amanda Gorman, the nation's first national youth poet laureate, made history again Wednesday as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.

What do you get when you mix blue and red? Unity

There's a standout color at the inaugural events this week: purple. Kamala Harris donned the color on Inauguration Day as she became vice president, and Jill Biden, the incoming first lady, wore it for Tuesday night's COVID-19 vigil. Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also wore the color Wednesday. But why? Onlookers are pointing to the color - a combination of red and blue - as a symbol of unity. Others add that the color represents women's suffrage.

Onlookers are pointing to purple – a combination of red and blue – as a symbol of unity.
Onlookers are pointing to purple – a combination of red and blue – as a symbol of unity.

You may need a tissue for this one

While Biden gave his inauguration speech, a lone man in a blue uniform kneeled at the grave of Biden’s son, Beau Biden, in Delaware. The solemn man kept his head bowed before and after the speech, saying nothing. Beau Biden, the former Delaware attorney general and a member of the Delaware National Guard, died of cancer at 46 in 2015. Biden has said his son should have been running for president instead of him.

While Joe Biden gave his inauguration speech on Wednesday afternoon, a lone man in a blue uniform kneeled at the grave of Biden's son Beau Biden at St. Joseph on the Brandywine church in Greenville, Del.
While Joe Biden gave his inauguration speech on Wednesday afternoon, a lone man in a blue uniform kneeled at the grave of Biden's son Beau Biden at St. Joseph on the Brandywine church in Greenville, Del.

A heroic escort for the vice president

Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer hailed as a hero following the riots earlier this month, escorted Harris at the inauguration Wednesday. Goodman went viral earlier this month after a video showed him leading a violent mob of white men away from the Senate floor, potentially saving lives. Goodman is the acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms, which is why he is escorting Harris.

Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman arrives in the Crypt of the US Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.
Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman arrives in the Crypt of the US Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.

Former President Trump has left the building

Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed from the White House ahead of Biden's inauguration, breaking a century of tradition by skipping the ceremony. But what can I say, he never fails to keep things interesting. Trump bid farewell to supporters for one final time as commander-in-chief in a speech recalling his administration's successes over the last four years. "What we’ve done has been amazing by any standard," Trump said, recounting the highlights of his administration — the creation of Space Force, changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the 2017 tax bill. Where to next? He's headed to his Palm Beach, Florida, club, Mar-a-Lago.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021.

In other news:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Joe Biden inauguration, Trump, Kamala Harris: Wednesday's news