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Kamala Harris shattered two centuries of history on Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first female vice president of the United States.
The former California senator who previously served as the state’s tough-on-crime attorney general took the oath of office outside the US Capitol while her beaming husband, attorney Doug Emhoff, looked on.
Emhoff will also hold a norm-shattering role, becoming the nation’s first ever “second gentleman” and the first Jewish person married to a president or vice president.
Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, and a first-generation American. Her swearing-in as Joe Biden’s vice president was historic for multiple reasons.
Not only is the 56-year-old former prosecutor the first woman to occupy the vice president’s office, but she is also the first black person and the first South Asian.
Harris shared a heartfelt moment on stage with former President Barack Obama, who could be heard saying “so proud of you” before she took the oath of office, and she proudly fist-bumped Biden after being elected to the second-highest office in the land.
She was escorted to the podium by Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, the heroic cop who single-handedly drew a mob of Capitol rioters away form the Senate floor during the Jan. 6 insurrection that left five people dead.
Harris’ place in history was reflected in her swearing-in when she took the oath on a Bible that belonged to civil-rights icon Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice.
Her Inauguration Day outfit, a purple dress and matching coat by black designers Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson, completed with her now-signature string of pearls, also sent a statement about her identity as a woman of color.
While the vice president does not make an inaugural address, Harris promised to legislate “for the people — always” in her first tweet as vice president.
Her swearing-in as the 49th vice president of the United States culminates a long and winding path to the White House.
Harris announced her White House bid in January 2019 but pulled the plug that December, citing dwindling funds, and immediately threw her weight behind Biden’s flagging campaign with a number of other Democratic candidates.
Biden and Harris had an emotional clash during the first Democratic debate in June 2019 when she accused him of blocking racial integration efforts in the 1970s.
The remarks stung the Biden camp, particularly given the bond Harris forged with the Biden family when she worked alongside the former vice president’s late son, Beau Biden, when he served as Delaware’s attorney general and she as the attorney general for California.
The two eventually repaired their rift, and the role of vice president was considered hers to lose.
At age 78, Biden on Wednesday became the oldest president to take the oath of office — raising concerns about his stamina and vaulting Harris to the position of president-in-waiting.
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