Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th US president, ending one of the most dramatic political transitions in American history. Donald Trump – who has not formally conceded the presidency to Biden – snubbed the inauguration ceremony, in a departure from longstanding precedent. The inauguration took place at the US Capitol. There is extra-tight security after the building was stormed by violent pro-Trump protesters in a deadly riot on January 6. Some 25,000 National Guards are protecting the ceremony, which is missing the traditional hundreds of thousands of spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic. In his inaugural address, Biden said it was a day of “history and hope”. He added that his whole soul is in putting America back together again. Highlighting a message of unity after the turbulent Trump years, he promised to be a president “for all Americans” – including those who voted against him. Here is an excerpt of his address at this morning’s inauguration.
Joe Biden, 46th President of the United States: “Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans. This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. We look ahead in our uniquely American way — restless, bold, optimistic — and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be.”
The US Embassy in Belmopan has issued a note to the media outlining the day’s events in Washington DC where the United States saw its 46th President installed. The Embassy noted that Vice President Harris makes U.S. history as the first woman, the first African American, the first Indian-American, and first Caribbean-American to serve in this capacity. The audience for today’s ceremony was limited due to health precautions, but was attended by a number of former presidents and vice presidents of the United States, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Mike Pence, along with respective first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton, among other former and current elected officials. In its release the US Embassy notes, quote, “The Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, overseen by the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, chose the inaugural theme “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union” to highlight the inaugural ceremony as a “hallmark of American governance and democracy.” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to President Biden, who swore the oath on a Bible that has been in his family since 1893—the same one used during his senatorial and vice-presidential swearing in ceremonies. The official inauguration ceremony is followed by several activities, carefully planned to incorporate health and safety-related protocols to avoid the risk of COVID-19.” End of quote.