Joe Biden was sworn-in as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President in a historic ceremony to take the leadership of a nation ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic and riven by deep political hostility.
Kamala Harris became the the first woman, and the first Indian African American to be sworn in as the Vice President, putting her a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Biden declared after being swearing in, “Democracy has prevailed.”
Before Biden, Harris took the oath of office on two Bibles held by her husband Doug Emhoff, one of them that belonged to Regina Helton, whom she has called her “second mother” and another belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice.
She was sworn-in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the court.
Next, Biden swore on a hefty family bible that his wife Jill Biden held.
Chief Justice John Roberts gave him the oath of office. At the stroke of noon, they assume the Presidency and Vice Presidency as mandated by the Constitution.
Donald Trump, who boycotted the ceremony, had already left Washington for his new home in Florida.
Two weeks after a mob of Trump supporters had attacked the Capitol, they stood on its west frontage to be sworn-in.
The 25,000 National Guard called in to protect them ceremony outnumbered the guests.
Unlike in the past, people were kept away because of the Covid-19 crisis and security considerations. F
Following the oath taking ceremony, Biden delivered a stirring speech. “Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge,” Biden said as he began his inaugural address.
“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy…At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Joe Biden argued that unity was the only successful path forward for the country. “I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days.
I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. I also know they are not new,” the president said in his inaugural address. “Unity is the path forward.”
Biden described America’s history as a “constant struggle” between the country’s professed ideals and its lived reality.
The president then pointed to Kamala Harris being sworn in as vice-president as an indication of how much positive change the nation can achieve.
“Don’t tell me things can’t change,” he said. Biden also pledged to be a “president for all Americans,” including those who did not support him, and he called for the nation to make a fresh start today.
“We must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured,” Biden said. Joe Biden made a pledge to the country’s global allies, after four years of Donald Trump’s “America first” agenda.
“We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” the new president said.
“We’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Biden said.
Acknowledging the challenging times ahead for the country as it continues to battle coronavirus, Biden said, “Folks, this is a time of testing.”
The president added, “We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion? Will we master this rare and difficult hour?”
After Joe Biden finished his inaugural speech, Garth Brooks sang “Amazing Grace.”
He asked the crowd and everyone watching at home to join him in singing the last verse. Poet Amanda Gorman then recited a poem for the event.
The 22-year-old artist is the youngest inaugural poet in American history.