Two weeks after riots, President Biden takes office

President+Joseph+R.+Biden+was+sworn+into+office+just+two+weeks+after+the+capitol+riots

Photo by Claire Gallagher

President Joseph R. Biden was sworn into office just two weeks after the capitol riots

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. officially took the oath of office in the nation’s capital Jan. 20, making him the 46th president of the United States. Alongside him, Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and Black person of South Asian descent to hold the position of Vice President.

But while the two swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States surrounded by friends and family, the ceremony was also overlooked by over 25,000 members of the National Guard. 

Following the insurrection on the Capitol by Trump supporters Jan. 6, the increased security allowed the tradition of the presidential inauguration to continue as peacefully as possible.

However, not all traditions of the inauguration were met this year. Trump did not show up to the inauguration, the first time the inauguration by has been missed the leaving president since Andrew Johnson skipped the ceremony for Ulysses S. Grant in 1869.

Despite the claims of voter fraud Trump made against his opponent, President Biden did not mention former President Donald Trump at all in his address, and instead called for unity.

“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people and uniting our nation,” Biden said. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

Associate professor of political science Paul Nolette said that this inauguration runs parallel with continuing calls for racial justice and COVID-19’s impact on both American lives and the economy.

“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward,” Nolette said. “Given the various crises, it is unlike most inaugurations.”

As Biden approaches his first full week as president, Rob Miller, chair of Marquette Democrats and a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he is looking forward to a sense of unity coming back to the executive office.

“With the many conversations, I’ve had with people … there was a common theme or concern,” Miller said. “Partisanship has been to the detriment of America … the people I’ve spoken too have given greater importance to the vision and mission of (America) and not so much their own party. I think in Washington, that mentality has to be restored and I think Joe Biden has what it takes to move America in the right direction.”

Biden spoke of this unity a multitude of times during his inaugural address.

“The presidency is not a one-person job,” Miller said. “It’s rather a collective effort.”

In response to the Capitol riots Jan 6. that left multiple dead, Miller said the insurrection does not reflect the values of the Republican party. As a result, Trump’s invitation to the violence is what lead to the overrunning that day.

“The vast majority of Republicans are good people,” Miller said. “It was unfortunate that … President (Trump) has brought out the bad in us.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, Miranda Spindt, chairperson of Marquette’s Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom and junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she is “more curious than anything” about a Biden presidency, especially after Georgia senators John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were sworn in, shifting the power of the Senate over to the Democrats.

“I just can’t even imagine the type of fighting this is going to cause (in the Senate,) … and how much more divisive it’s going to be,” Spindt said. “Republicans did really well down the ballot in Georgia … I was kind of expecting people to reject Trump and not the GOP platform.”

But Spindt said she had some concerns about there being a potential divide in the Republican party between pro-Trump and anti-Trump Republicans, especially after the insurrection at the Capitol, which she said could have damaged Trump’s legacy.

“I was so upset to see (the events at the capital),” Spindt said. “These crazy people decided to break windows and take over the Capitol and break windows was just ridiculous.”

Both Marquette Democrats and Republicans posted releases on Instagram that condemned the riots, and Spindt said that YAF also agrees with these statements.

This story was written by Benjamin Wells. He can be reached at benjamin.wells@marquette.edu.