Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. became the 46th president on Wednesday, completing the most disheartening transfer of power in recent American history.
The 78-year-old Democrat was inaugurated in a fortified Washington in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and took the oath of office in front of a sparse non-partisan crowd at the U.S. Capitol. He enters the White House exactly two weeks after a mob set on fire by his predecessor Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, interrupted the transition to Biden’s administration and killed five people.
Biden took the oath of office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, with his left hand on a family Bible. After becoming president, he declared: “Democracy has prevailed.”
“On this sacred ground, where a few days ago violence tried to shake the foundations of the Capitol, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have had for more than two centuries,” said Biden.
Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021 on the Western Front of the US Capitol in Washington.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
The oldest American president, Biden, faces swirling crises as he and Vice President Kamala Harris take power. At 56, she becomes the first woman, the first black American, and the first South Asian American to become Vice President.
Biden will seek to streamline the largest vaccination effort in US history to contain a virus that killed more than 400,000 people nationwide. It will aim to stimulate an economy in which around 18 million people receive unemployment benefits and the demand from the food banks has not been seen for decades.
“In the work ahead of us we will need each other. We need all our strength to survive this dark winter,” said the president.
Biden will seek to implement a broad agenda as he navigates a country where millions of people, including members of Congress, have been fed disinformation from Trump, questioning the legitimacy of his victory in the November election. In his inaugural address, the president said the country must “reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even produced”. Biden urged Americans to “defend the truth and defeat the lies”.
Democrat Biden won the presidency in November on his third attempt. His first attempt came during the 1988 presidential cycle, followed by a major loss in 2008 to future boss Barack Obama.
Biden served two terms as Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017. He took the job after 36 years in the Senate representing Delaware, a state Biden said “is being written about” [his] Heart. “Biden joined the Senate when he was 30.
The president ran last year as the person best equipped to defeat Trump. There were concerns within his party that because of his record of racial justice and the social safety net, he was not prepared to face the country’s challenges. Biden pledged to “restore the soul of America” and, after early stumbling, won his party’s presidential nomination.
Tragedy and compassion
Biden, who fought during the pandemic, wanted to show a compassion built by tragedy. He often recounted the deaths of his first wife Neilia and young daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972 and the death of his adult son Beau from brain cancer in 2015.
Biden enters office and tries to contain the pain caused by the pandemic. He paused in silence for a moment as he spoke to recognize the Americans who had died from the virus and urged the country to “honor them by becoming a people and nation we know about that we can and should “.
Working closely with the House and the Senate, Biden will first attempt to pass a $ 1.9 trillion relief package for coronavirus. Other priorities include health care, immigration and climate change – some of which he will address with executive orders on his first day in office.
Biden said the country will be “measured by how we resolve these cascading crises of our time” – the pandemic, threats to democracy, systemic racism, economic inequality and climate change.
The Democrat claimed during his campaign that he could win Republicans over to his cause, particularly because of his Senate ties. The next two years will test his rule in a Trump-centered GOP. Democrats need 10 Republican votes to pass most of the laws in the Chamber.
Trump’s presence was evident during the day’s ceremonies. He was the first President since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to fail to attend his successor’s inauguration.
He left the White House for Florida Thursday morning, hours before Biden took his oath of office. After making brief remarks to supporters, Trump took off from Air Force One while Biden attended a Catholic mass with masked Democratic and Republican congressional leaders.
Trump’s Deputy Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., And Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Attended the inauguration. So did former Presidents Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton.
McCarthy, whip of the House Minority Steve Scalise, R-La., And Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, were among the lawmakers who voted against counting Biden’s victory in Congressional hours after the Capitol attack and then his Inauguration attended.
The inauguration took place with a smaller crowd, whose faces were covered to slow the spread of the virus. The January 6 riot, in which some rioters made their way into the Capitol and shouted “Hang Mike Pence,” tightened security.
The streets around the Capitol were closed on Wednesday. More than 25,000 members of the National Guard violently patrolled Washington.
The National Guard screened the armed forces over concerns over insider threats, removing two people for “inappropriate” comments and ten for other reasons.
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