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The new vice president couldn't help but laugh when she read her own name during the Senate ceremony

By Sean Neumann
January 20, 2021 10:32 PM
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kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris
| Credit: Senate TV

Newly sworn-in Vice President Kamala Harris couldn't help a little laughter when she read her own name while introducing her replacement in the Senate on Wednesday.

Harris, 56, swore in three new Democratic senators only hours after she, a former California senator herself, made history by becoming the first woman, first Black and first person of South Asian descent, to become vice president.

Because that person also serves as the president of the Senate, one of Harris' first tasks in office was swearing-in newly elected Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who won runoff elections in Georgia earlier this month.

Additionally, Harris, who left her Senate seat from California in order to become vice president, also needed to swear in her replacement, newly designated Sen. Alex Padilla.

Harris began to read the formal legislation that said Padilla was being sworn in as California's next senator in order to "to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California."

But she barely made it through reading the line before she and the rest of Congress cracked up, the moment still seemingly sinking in.

"Yeah, that was very weird," Harris said, laughing behind her COVID-19 mask.

Lawmakers joined in but also paused to applaud the vice president, who followed up her own history-making moment earlier in the day by swearing in three new senators who were all breaking barriers in their own rights.

kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris reads the oath of office to (from left) Sens. Raphael Warnock, Alex Padilla and Jon Ossoff
| Credit: Senate TV

Warnock, 51, became Georgia's first Black senator and just the 11th in U.S. history. (Harris, who was first elected to the Senate in 2016, was the 10th.)

Sen. Ossoff, 33, became Georgia's first Jewish senator when he was sworn in, while Sen. Padilla, 47, became California's first Latino senator.

Padilla said beforehand that being sworn into Congress would be "the honor and privilege of a lifetime."

Ossoff, who was sworn in on a book of Hebrew scripture once owned by the late Atlanta-based Rabbi Jacob Rotshchild, is now also the youngest member of the Senate body.

"Change has come to Georgia," he tweeted before taking the oath. "Change is coming to America."