Joe Biden Sworn in as 46th President of the United States
WASHINGTON – Joe Biden Jr. became the nation’s 46th president shortly before noon on Wednesday, completing a transfer of power fraught with false claims of election fraud and a riot by a mob of his predecessor’s supporters who laid siege to the U.S. Capitol exactly two weeks ago.
Biden took the oath of office in front of a sparse bipartisan crowd from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, with his left hand on a family Bible.
In his first remarks as president, Biden said his swearing-in marks a day of “history and hope.”
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve,” Biden said as he took to the podium on what turned out to be a cold and breezy, but largely sundrenched day.
“America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge,” Biden said. “The will of the people has been heard and has been heeded.”
Noting that the Capitol stands as “hallowed ground” for the nation, he said “Democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile.”
In calling for Americans to come together as one nation, Biden implored that in the spirit of unity “we have much to heal, much to build and much to gain.”
“Unity is the path forward,” the new president said.
Biden also decried the political and cultural divisions driving people to “retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you, or worship like you or don’t get their news for the same source as you.”
Biden repeatedly stressed that the rancor of partisan politics needs to settle down. He called for Americans “to end this civil war that puts red against blue, rural versus urban.”
If the recent past has reminded us of anything, he said, it’s “that democracy is precious.”
Moments earlier, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore in Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman, first Black American and first South Asian American to become vice president.
Biden and Harris assume power at a time of stark challenges for the nation including an ongoing pandemic and an economy that has shed millions of jobs in the past year.
In addition to addressing those problems, the new president has vowed to try and implement a broad agenda while navigating sharp divides among the American people and in Congress.
Biden won the presidency in November on his third try. His first attempt came during the 1988 presidential cycle, followed by a 2008 primary loss to his 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 yesterday “will be written on [his] heart.” Biden joined the Senate when he was 30.
He ran for president last year, arguing he was the person best equipped to defeat Trump.
Throughout his campaign, Biden pledged to “restore the soul of America,” and he ultimately clinched his party’s presidential nomination after House Majority Whip James Clyburn rallied Black voters to his cause.
Biden and Harris began their inaugural morning by attending a church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with their spouses, Dr. Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff.
In the afternoon, the president, the first lady, the vice president, and second gentleman will visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
Afterward, they will receive a presidential escort to the White House.
In the evening, the president will sign executive orders and other presidential actions in the Oval Office and swear in day one appointees in a virtual ceremony.
This will be followed by the first press briefing by incoming Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
The president and the vice president will then close out their day by delivering remarks during the “Celebrating America” inaugural program.