WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (APP): Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday, taking the reins of power at a difficult time in American history and urging a bitterly divided country to unite around defeating the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Biden said. “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.”
Noting that he was being inaugurated on the Capitol steps just two weeks after it was stormed by a pro-Trump mob, Biden said that the country had learned that “democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
“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.”
“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.”
Biden, 78, became the oldest U.S. president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office shortly before noon, when Biden officially became president. Biden addressed the nation after Vice President Kamala Harris was first sworn in, making history as the first woman and a person of South Asian descent to become second in line to the presidency.
Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and outgoing Vice President Mike Pence were on hand to witness Biden’s swearing-in, with seats spaced apart to prevent the spread of the virus. Three former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — were also among those in attendance.
Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the new US President and said he looked forward to working with him in building a stronger Pakistan – United States partnership, through trade and economic engagement.
Imran Khan also vowed to work with him on Climate Change, improving public health, combating corruption and promoting peace in the region and beyond.
I congratulate President @JoeBiden on his inauguration. Look forward to working with @POTUS in building a stronger Pak-US partnership through trade & economic engagement, countering climate change, improving public health, combating corruption & promoting peace in region & beyond
Former President Trump, however, was not there, having left Washington earlier Wednesday morning. Trump instead 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.
Biden plans to quickly begin dismantling some of Trump’s signature initiatives with a slew of executive orders and action set to be signed on Day 1. He becomes the first president to enter office without a single Cabinet secretary confirmed by the Senate.
Biden takes office at a time of deep national unease, with the country facing what his advisers have described as four compounding crises: the pandemic, the economic downtown, climate change and racial inequality. He has promised immediate action, including a raft of executive orders on his first day in office.
The ceremony on Wednesday unfolded in front of a heavily fortified U.S. Capitol, where a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building two weeks ago, enraged by his false claims that the election was stolen with millions of fraudulent votes.
The violence prompted the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Trump last week for an unprecedented second time.