Administration

Biden swears in senior staff and warns: Disrespect each other and you’ll be fired ‘on the spot’

President Biden on Wednesday administered the oath of office to hundreds of senior administration officials as he got to work following his inauguration, calling on his team to treat each other with “decency.”

Biden conducted the swearing-in virtually through a video conference as a precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic. In his speech welcoming the officials to the team, he called for decency in the West Wing.

“We have to restore the soul of this country,” Biden told the appointees. “And I’m counting on all of you to be part of that, and it’s not hyperbole.”

“You work for the people. I work for the people,” Biden continued. “You’re going to work like the devil. We all do. We all work long hours.”

Chief of staff Ron Klain told The Hill last week that 500 to 600 political appointees would begin work on the administration’s first day in office. Biden thanked his new staffers for their work and their families for the long hours they will surrender with the new appointees. 

“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot,” Biden added. “On the spot, no ifs, ands or buts,” he said. “Everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity.”

Biden appeared to allude to reports of frequent infighting between top aides and advisers within the Trump administration when he made the call for treating each other well, suggesting it has been lacking over the last four years.

“The only thing I expect with absolute certainty is honesty and decency, the way you treat one another, the way you treat the people you deal with,” he said.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Biden called for aides to raise their right hands and take the oath.  

“As my mom would say, God love y’all,” Biden said after the swearing-in. “We got a lot of work to do. Thank you for being willing to join.”

The moment marked part of the whirlwind transition that took place Wednesday as the Biden administration kicks off and fills key vacancies. 

So far only one Biden Cabinet member, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, has been confirmed by the Senate.  

Reid Wilson contributed.

Tags Biden Inauguration Joe Biden Ron Klain White House

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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