The long awaited inauguration of 46th President Joe R. Biden and history-making Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off this chilly morning on Wednesday, January 20.
So far the inauguration proceedings have gone off without a hitch, compared to the absolute unrest that gripped the Capitol during the insurrection incited by former President Donald Trump two weeks ago. Tighter security has certainly helped the unusually small and socially distanced crowds maintain a sense of peace during the lavish ceremonies.
After a short speech around 8:30 a.m. this morning, Trump and his wife departed by plane without incident or further instances of violence. His last official act as president was to grant clemency to 143 people late last night, including strategist Steve Bannon and rapper Lil’ Wayne.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, like other former U.S Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, did attend the inauguration of Biden later in the day. Biden and Harris were officially sworn in just before noon surrounded by celebrities and other local politicians.
“The will of the people has been heard,” said Biden from Capitol Hill. “I will be a President for all Americans, for people who did not support and for those who did.”
U.S. Rep Hakeem Jeffries (NY-Central Brooklyn, Queens), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-Brooklyn, Manhattan), weighed in on the inauguration, ongoing impeachment proceedings, and increased security measures. It’s also an exciting day as one of New York’s own, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), will be sworn in as Senate Democratic Majority Leader to a now mostly Democratic Senate.
“Rioters, insurrectionists, white supremacists, and domestic terrorists tried to prevent the transfer of power. They were incited by none other than the President of the United States. They have failed,” said Schumer on the Senate floor yesterday.
Schumer took a second to recognize the death of Capitol officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed in the line of duty, and said that extra precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the inauguration.
Unfortunately, the resulting violence, deaths, and federal crimes of the Capitol Hill riots have put many law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD, on extremely high alert around government buildings, media headquarters, financial institutions and Trump-associated properties, reported NY1. Since January 7, the NYPD has had clashes with anti-Trump protesters which resulted in eight arrests, and marchers celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day this Monday that left dozens arrested and several cops injured. No reported deaths or shootings of protesters or officers.
“Senate leadership has been in close and constant communication with the Secret Service, the FBI, the National Guard, the DC police. As we speak, there are more troops around the Capitol than there are in Afghanistan. No force—no force—will prevent tomorrow’s Constitutional proceedings from taking place,” said Schumer.
Nadler doubled down on this wave of increasing security and joined colleagues in announcing the introduction of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) of 2021, which strengthens the federal government’s efforts to prevent, report on, respond to, and investigate acts of domestic terrorism.
“As Congress moves to hold the President accountable, we must now also take immediate legislative steps to address the rising menace of white supremacy and extremist violence,” said Nadler. “It is painfully clear that the current approach to addressing the threat posed by white nationalism and similar ideologies is not working.”
Schumer went one to speak about the coming weeks and how the Senate will deal with balancing impeachment and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“The Senate must accomplish three essential items: a second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the confirmation of President Biden’s cabinet and other key officials, and legislation to provide much needed, almost desperately needed, COVID relief,” continued Schumer, “On impeachment, the Senate has a solemn responsibility to try and hold Donald Trump accountable for the most serious charge ever levied against a president: the incitement of an insurrection against the United States of America.”
Jeffries added to this sentiment that he did not come to Congress to impeach Trump, but the level of constitutional crimes couldn’t be ignored.“Donald Trump is a living, breathing impeachable offense. It is what it is,” said Jeffries.
Jeffries said the inauguration marked a day of renewal that will hopefully restore the values that people hold sacred as Americans.
“President Biden is going to bring confidence. He is going to bring integrity. He is going to bring leadership. He is going to bring unity to the Oval Office because we don’t have Democratic problems or Republican problems,” said Jeffries. “Together, we will crush the virus, provide direct relief to everyday Americans who are struggling and supercharge our economy so that we can create prosperity in every single zip code. That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve, and that’s what the House Democratic Caucus is going to work to achieve.”