Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead for Joe Biden when he will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, saying "it is not going to be easy." Biden enters the White House on January 20 with the top challenge to lift the country from the devastation of a raging pandemic that has killed more than 398,000 Americans and thrown millions into economic distress.
"We're going into Wednesday knowing that we're ready to do the work, and we've got a lot of work to do. It's not going to be easy," Harris told reporters at Martha's Table in Anacostia here on Monday, observing the National Day of Service.
"As we have discussed, Joe has outlined our plan for vaccinations, our plan for recovery, and in particular relief for working people, for families. And there is a lot to do.
"Some of them say that ours are ambitious goals, but we do believe with hard work and with the cooperation and collaboration of the members of the United States Congress that we can get it done," Harris said in response to a question.
Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, while Kamala Harris will take oath as the first woman Vice President on Wednesday, in the midst of growing concerns over the safety of the historic inauguration following the recent violent attack on the Capitol Hill by pro-Trump supporters.
Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to Biden just after the clock strikes 12 (local time) at the West Front of the Capitol - the traditional location - under the unprecedented security umbrella of more than 25,000 National Guards, who have transformed the capital into a garrison city, mainly because of the threat of violent protest by Trump's supporters.
Biden, 78, will take the oath on his 127-year-old family Bible, which will be held by his wife, Jill Biden.
Biden, who will be the oldest president in American history, will deliver his first presidential address to the country after taking oath shortly after noon. The historic speech, with the theme of unity and healing, is being prepared by his Indian-American speech writer Vinay Reddy.
Harris, 56, will make history as the first female, first Black and first South Asian American vice president when she will be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court. Sotomayor administered the oath to Biden as vice president in 2013.
She will be sworn in on two Bibles - one that belonged to a close family friend named Regina Shelton and another that belonged to Thurgood Marshall - the country's first African American Supreme Court justice.
This year, however, the transition stands out for its acrimony. The process usually starts straight after the election, but it started weeks late after President Donald Trump refused to accept the result of the November 3 election won by Biden, a Democrat.
Trump has said he will not attend the inauguration. Trump, a Republican, will vacate the White House hours before the inauguration and is expected to travel to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
The scaled down inauguration is expected to begin around 11 a.m. with an invocation by Leo Jeremiah O'Donovan, a Jesuit priest who is a close friend of the Biden family. Andrea Hall, the first African American female firefighter to become captain of the Fire Rescue Department in South Fulton, Georgia, will recite the Pledge of Allegiance.