Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States today, as he appealed for unity in a bitterly divided nation.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Mr. Biden said in his inaugural address. “Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.”
President Biden said although his inauguration was done on the Capitol steps just two weeks after it was stormed by a “riotous mob,” the country has been reminded that “democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Vice President Kamala Harris was first sworn in, making history as the first woman and person of color to become second in line to the presidency. Chief Justice John Roberts then administered the oath of office for Mr. Biden.
His term comes at a time of tremendous turmoil and division, fueled both by his predecessor and the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.
The new president addressed an empty National Mall while thousands of National Guard troops stood watch over Washington. The Mall was filled with thousands of small flags representing Americans who might otherwise have been in attendance, were it not for the pandemic.
Present at the swearing-in ceremony were Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and outgoing Vice President Mike Pence. Three former presidents; Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton were also among those in attendance.
Former President Donald Trump, who refused to concede, left Washington earlier Wednesday morning and addressed supporters before boarding Air Force One for the last time as president to fly to Florida. He is the first outgoing president in more than 150 years to not attend the inauguration of his successor.