ICYMI: Your TPM Weekend News Roundup

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January 22, 2021 4:59 p.m.

The 46th President

  • A 12 p.m. E.T. Wednesday, our four-year national nightmare came to a close. Joe Biden took the oath of office and became the 46th President of the United States.
  • The raging pandemic already promised a scaled-down inauguration. And that was before the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, which prompted the deployment of more than 20,000 National Guard members to secure the ceremony and city.
  • Lady Gaga, J-Lo and Garth Brooks were all good. But Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, 22, stole the show at the inauguration with her vivid verses. She finished writing the poem, titled “The Hill We Climb,” after the deadly violence on Capitol Hill earlier this month. Watch her full reading here.
  • President Biden, as expected, delivered a message of unity. Democracy is fragile, he said, but it had “prevailed.”
  • Shortly after the inaugural ceremonies, Vice President Harris swore in Sens. John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Sen. Alex Padilla of California (who is filling Harris’ seat), giving Democrats effective control of the Senate.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki held a briefing Wednesday evening, her first as one of the most public faces of the administration. It was a stark contrast from Sean Spicer’s belligerent performance four years ago when he falsely claimed President Trump attracted the largest inauguration crowd ever.
  • The next day, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci joined the White House briefing. He told reporters it was a bit “liberating” to no longer have to refute President Trump’s coronavirus nonsense.

Trump Slinks Off To Florida

  • After four boisterous years, President Trump’s departure from Washington was relatively low key.
  • Trump struggled to attract a high-profile audience to see him off at Joint Base Andrews. But the outgoing president managed to pay himself a few compliments and told his supporters to “have a nice life.” Trump pledged that he would be back in some form. We shall see.

The Pandemic Is Far From Over

  • The night before Biden assumed office, the United States hit a grim milestone: 400,000 coronavirus deaths.
  • Biden held a memorial for the lives lost to the pandemic, with 400 lights representing the staggering death toll.
  • “To heal, we must remember it’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal,” Biden said at the memorial. “It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.”
  • On his first full day as President, Biden issued a flood of executive orders focused on combating the pandemic.
  • We’ve been saying it for months, but it has only become clearer after Trump’s departure: the previous administration had no vaccine distribution plan.
  • The Biden administration must now pick up the pieces and forge ahead with a national response. White House chief of staff Ron Klain told MSNBC Thursday evening that the administration is making an effort to create a federal clearinghouse for vaccine information.

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