President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were officially sworn into office Wednesday in a heavily-guarded, but sparsely attended, ceremony at the US Capitol.
Normally hundreds of thousands of people attend the ceremony every four years, but this year the general public was asked to celebrate at home as the US continues to find itself in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the country.
Security for the ceremony was markedly increased with 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington, D.C. to secure the area after former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to thwart a key step before Biden assumed office.
Trump departed the White House earlier Wednesday for the state of Florida, opting to break with a tradition that embodies the US’s peaceful transfer of power by not participating in the inaugural events.
Normally, the outgoing and incoming presidents ride to the Capitol building together to participate in the inauguration ceremony.
The tradition has been in place “with few exceptions” since 1837, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.