Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at noon 21 Jan, issuing a call for unity in an inauguration speech meant to turn the page after Trump presidency.
- The 78-year-old former vice president and senator from Delaware is the oldest person to serve as president, while his vice president, former Sen. Kamala Harris, is the first woman, Black American and Asian American to serve in the role.
- The president identified Covid-19 as the biggest threat facing the nation, noting the country was “entering what may be the toughest and deadly period of the virus,” while also calling on the nation to “reject the culture where facts themselves are manipulated — and even manufactured.”
- Biden enters the Oval Office amid a confluence of crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, as well as following civil unrest prompted by police brutality and President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.
- The impact of those crises could be seen and felt throughout the ceremony, which had a much smaller audience than normal that was under tighter security, cordoned off by barbed-wire fences and protected by thousands of National Guard troops.
- The ceremony came shortly after Trump’s departure from Washington – a break from the longstanding custom of outgoing presidents attending their successors’ inaugurations in a nod to the peaceful transfer of power.
“This is America's day. This is democracy's day. A day of history and hope,” Biden said during his remarks. “We've learned, again, that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed."
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Biden emphasized his long-held belief in bipartisanship, calling on Republicans in Congress – many of whom had, weeks earlier, objected to certification of his Electoral College victory – to work with him on his legislative agenda, to which several have already signaled opposition. "I pledge this to you: I will be a president for all Americans,” Biden said.