Striking images taken just weeks apart at the US Capitol have captured America’s deep-seated division.
Photos snapped during President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday (local time) show a small crowd neatly spaced on the steps on the iconic building - a stark contrast to the chaotic scenes of Trump rioters storming the Capitol on January 6.
The same steps that saw deadly violence earlier this month appeared to be very quiet during this week’s swearing-in, with American flags lining the balconies.
During the Capitol riot, which left five people dead, Trump supporters bearing signs, banners and guns broke into the building in an effort to stop Biden being approved as the 46th President.
Trump was impeached for the second time for inciting the act of domestic terrorism and faces losing all his post-presidential luxuries if the Senate agrees with the House of Representatives at a later date.
On Wednesday (local time), the FBI arrested a Florida-based member of the right-wing Proud Boys group on charges of storming the Capitol, the Justice Department said.
Joseph Randall Biggs, 37, faces charges of corruptly obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, unlawful entry, and disorderly conduct in the attack on the seat of government while lawmakers were certifying Biden’s election win.
A number of people with ties to the Proud Boys have been charged and more than 100 people overall have been arrested so far, a figure prosecutors expect will grow as the FBI continues to analyse more than 200,000 photos and videos of the riot.
Biden signs 15 executive orders after inauguration
President Joe Biden signed 15 executive actions shortly after being sworn in, undoing policies put in place by his Republican predecessor and making his first moves on the pandemic and climate change.
Signing several actions in front of reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, Biden said there was “no time to waste” in issuing the executive orders, memorandums and directives.
“Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the Covid crisis, we’re going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities” Biden said.
“These are just all starting points”
Aides said the actions the Democratic president signed included a mask mandate on federal property and for federal employees, an order to establish a new White House office coordinating the response to the coronavirus, and halting the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization.
Biden signed a document to begin the process of re-entering the Paris climate accord and issued a sweeping order tackling climate change, including revoking the presidential permit granted to the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Among a raft of orders addressing immigration, Biden revoked Trump’s emergency declaration that helped fund the construction of a border wall and ended a travel ban on some majority-Muslim countries.
The Day One plans were just the start of a flurry of executive actions Biden would take soon after entering office, his press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.