WASHINGTON: The reminders of the siege were everywhere.
On the very spot where President Joe Biden delivered his inaugural address, an insurrectionist mob had tried and failed to overturn his election just two weeks before. Nearby, at the West Terrace doors, a Capitol police officer was brutally assaulted with a flagpole in a one of the siege’s most chaotic moments.
And from the podium, the starkest sight of all: a National Mall mostly empty, dotted with troops, the usual crowd of spectators replaced by a silent field of American flags.
The Associated Press has the privilege of a seat on the inaugural platform every four years in a tradition dating as far back as anyone can remember. But there had never been a ceremony quite like this, in the still-fresh aftermath of a violent challenge to the peaceful transition of power that the inaugural is designed to celebrate.
Solemn in purpose and demeanor, Biden did not work the room not much, anyway. He was on a clock. At noon, he would…