Joseph Robinette Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, marking the end of four years of turmoil under outgoing President Donald J. Trump.
“This is America’s day,” Biden said to the socially distant and masked crowd. “This is democracy’s day. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.”
And in a history-making moment, Kamala Harris was sworn in alongside Biden as vice president—the first woman and woman of color to hold the position.
The scene at the Capitol on Inauguration Day was strikingly different than two weeks prior, when thousands of enraged Trump supporters infiltrated the complex in an effort to stop the certification of the election results. Five people were killed in the attack. In the weeks that have followed, dozens of the rioters have been arrested, and the House of Representatives impeached Trump a second time.
But none of that chaos was on display at Wednesday’s ceremony, which was blissfully traditional in comparison to what Americans have witnessed in recent years. In a speech that pointed to the many challenges still ahead—conquering the COVID-19 pandemic, fixing our flailing economy, seeking racial justice, and extinguishing white supremacism and radical extremism—Biden called for unity and asked for those who did not support him to give him a chance.
“On this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation,” Biden said. “And I ask every American to join me in this cause.”
Most of Colorado’s congressional delegation was present for the ceremony, including Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, both of whom posted photos of the day’s celebration on Twitter.
It’s a great day to be an American. pic.twitter.com/7sznrBnvQ8
— Michael Bennet (@SenatorBennet) January 20, 2021
— Senator John Hickenlooper (@SenatorHick) January 20, 2021
Democratic Representatives Jason Crow and Joe Neguse, as well as Republican Ken Buck also attended the event, although Buck—who doubles as the outgoing chair of the Colorado Republicans, spent the day tweeting about his displeasure over the security measures and the incoming administration’s plans.
Line to register for the pleasure of freezing for four hours. If Dems can't run an inauguration how are they going to run a country? pic.twitter.com/lwrWcWvvGz
— Ken Buck (@BuckForColorado) January 20, 2021
Democratic Representatives Diana DeGette—one of two Coloradans named as House impeachment mangers, alongside Neguse—and Ed Perlmutter, as well as Republicans Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert did not attend the inauguration. Lamborn and Boebert were a part of Republican efforts to falsely question the legitimacy of Biden’s election, which in part spurred the violence at the Capitol on January 6. Boebert instead attended Trump’s send-off at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning.
Despite warnings from the FBI that “armed protests” could occur at state capitols across the country on Wednesday, here in Denver, such demonstrations did not come to pass. On Tuesday, Governor Jared Polis said he had activated the Colorado National Guard in anticipation of such events, but as of early afternoon, their services were not needed.
Instead, the only organized demonstration came from those aligned with the Antifa ideology, who met at Cheesman Park and marched to the Colorado State Capitol, shutting down Colfax Avenue and the surrounding streets. Some of the demonstrators burned an American flag in front of the Capitol building, which law enforcement officers stepped in to extinguish.
— Kevin Beaty (@KevinJBeaty) January 20, 2021