Today at noon, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. He assumes the office at one of the direst moments in recent memory, with thousands of Americans dying of COVID-19 daily. The economy is in shambles due to the pandemic, and partisan infighting among both politicians and citizens is at an all-time high. The January 6 attack on the Capitol laid bare for all the see the deep divisions that run in the country.
That very attack is largely to blame for the current appearance of the US Capitol. At present, the seat of democracy is chopped up by fencing, marked by military checkpoints and patrolled by National Guard members, Capitol police and other law enforcement personnel. The FBI has had to remove numerous personnel from the security detail, citing the possibility of an insider threat from those sympathetic to the outgoing president.
Biden doesn’t plan to waste any time on his first day in office. He has announced plans to sign a flurry of executive orders, flexing his muscles and showing the strength of his position immediately. He plans to revoke the presidential authority of the Keystone Pipeline, a controversial oil pipeline that drew widespread outcry from the Native American community due to its placement over sacred land.
Biden also plans to get the United States back in the Paris Climate Accords, an agreement Trump was quick to sever early in his only term. Even as Biden is still getting reacquainted with the White House, he’ll be penning executive orders on everything from a federal mask mandate to reversing Trump’s much-maligned “Muslim travel ban” order.
Already, some Republicans on social media are grumbling about how Biden is preaching “unity” while getting behind legislation they feel is divisive. However, Republicans’ recent complicity in the Trump Administration, arguably the most divisive presidency in the past 100 years, makes any complaints about decorum feel a bit flat. As the GOP itself was fond of saying during the Trump era, “elections have consequences.”
In four short years, Trump lost Republicans the House of Representatives, the White House and even the Senate. This is going to have massive political ramifications for the party, which has already struggled to win the popular vote in presidential elections for the past 20 years. As Biden is ascendant, Republicans are now scrambling, trying to find an angle by which to obstruct the newly sworn-in president.