Biden-Harris era begins: Some key ‘firsts’ of the new US administration
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn-in as the 46th President and 49th Vice President of the United States of America, respectively, on Wednesday. At 78, Biden, who succeeds Donald Trump in office, is the oldest person to assume US presidency.
As the Biden-Harris era begins, here’s a look at some key ‘firsts’ of the new administration:
1. Harris is the first-ever woman to hold the office of US President or Vice President. Daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, she is also the first Vice President of African-American and Asian-American descent.
2. Avril Haines was on Wednesday confirmed by the US Senate for the position of director of national intelligence, making her the first official member of President Biden’s administration. Haines will also be the first woman in that position.
3. Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for treasury secretary, will be the first woman in that office, if confirmed by the Senate. Yellen was also the first female chairperson of the Federal Reserve, from 2014 to 2018.
4. General Lloyd Austin, nominated for defense secretary, will be the first African-American secretary of defense, if confirmed by the Senate. Deb Haaland, who has been nominated for interior secretary, will be the first native American to hold a cabinet position.
5. Pete Buttigieg, a hopeful for presidential nomination from the Democrats which was eventually clinched by Biden, has been nominated for transportation secretary. If confirmed, he will be the first publicly gay person to be a cabinet secretary.
6. The Biden-Harris administration will also have the White House’s first all-female senior communications team. The team includes Kate Bedingfield as Biden’s communications director and Jen Psaki as the White House press secretary. Psaki has already held the first press conference of the Biden administration.
7. Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff is the first ‘Second Gentleman’ of the US. Emhoff, whom Harris met in 2013 and married a year later, is a lawyer and also the first Jewish spouse of a Vice President.
8. Donald Trump is the first outgoing President to not be at the swearing-in ceremony of his successor, since 1974, when Richard Nixon, the only US President to resign from office, missed the oath-taking of Gerald Ford. Total seven outgoing Presidents have not attended their successor’s inauguration.