Biden takes the helm, pleading for unity in crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) – Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, declaring that “democracy has prevailed” and to face the historic woes of a divided nation deepening American resilience and unity. Called.

Declaring a national “disloyal war”, Biden was sworn into an American capitol on Wednesday, having been beaten two weeks earlier by a rebel siege. Then, taking his place in the White House Oval Office, he sank into a pile of executive functions that had begun to undo the heart of his polarizing predecessor Agenda on matters ranging from deadly epidemics to climate change.

In the Capitol, America’s tradition of peaceful transfer of power never appeared more delicate, a ceremony unfolded within a group of security forces in a war zone and devoid of congestion due to the coronavirus virus.

Instead, Biden spent a cold Washington morning with cool winds to watch, with more than 200,000 American flags mounted on the National Mall, which those who could not attend.

“The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been kept in mind. We have again learned that democracy is precious and democracy is fragile. Right now, my friends, democracy prevails, ”Biden announced in his speech. “This is America’s day. This is the day of democracy. History of renewal and resolution and day of hope. “

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History was made in her favor, as Kamala Harris was the first woman to become vice-president.. The former US Senator from California is also the first black person and the first person of South Asian descent elected to the Vice President and the highest-ranking woman to serve in the US government.

Biden never mentioned his predecessor, who defined the tradition and left the city before the ceremony, but his speech was an implication of Donald Trump. The new president said that “lies were told for power and for profit” and were blunt about the challenges ahead.

Central among them: a growing virus that has claimed over 400,000 lives In the United States, as well as a national rebound on economic tensions and race.

“We have a lot to do for the crisis this winter, and significant prospects. To repair a lot, to restore a lot, to fix a lot, to build a lot, and to gain a lot. “Few people have been challenged more in the history of our nation, or have had a more challenging or difficult time than we are in now.”

Biden was eager to go big early, for an ambitious first 100 days that included a push to distribute COVID-19 vaccination to eager Americans and to pass a $ 1.9 trillion economic relief package. It included a blitz of executive orders on matters that do not require congressional approval – a mix of firm and symbolic steps to end the Trump years. His actions included re-entry into the Paris Climate Agreement and a mandate to wear masks on federal property.

“It’s not the time to start like today,” said a masked Biden. In the Oval Office. Then he administered the oath to hundreds of assistants – virtually – telling them, “You are my prospect.”

The absence of Biden’s predecessor from the inauguration ceremony underscored the national rift to heal.

But former presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. A bipartisan trio of Bush and Barack Obama witnessed the transfer of power. Trump awaits his second impeachment trial, Were at his Florida resort at the time of his swearing-in.

Biden, in his third run for the presidency, narrowly missed his candidacy on any specific political ideology, at least galvanizing a broad coalition of voters, around the notion that Trump posed a potential threat to American democracy did. Four years after Trump’s “American Carnage” speech, portraying a dark portrait of national decay, Biden warned that the fabric of the nation’s democracy was tearing, but could be repaired.

“I know that the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know that they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nationalism, fear, demonstrations have broken us for a long time, ”said Biden. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the way forward and we must fulfill this moment as the United States.”

Swearing at the five-inch-thick Bible that had been in his family for 128 years, Biden came to the office with sympathy to sort out the personal tragedy as well as the depth of the experience as much as possible Vowed to Four decades in Washington. At the age of 78, he is inaugurated as the oldest president.

Both Harris and her husband left for the White House from the last small stretch of the route after a brief parade. Biden then took a walk in the Oval Office, a room he knew well as vice-president, first as Commander in Chief.

Previously in the Capitol, Biden, in the presence of them all, wore a face mask in addition to speaking. Thousands of National Security Forces were on the streets to provide security within two weeks by a violent mob of Trump supporters instigated by the Republican president, who climbed the building in an attempt to block the certification of Biden’s victory.

“Here we stand, a riotous mob thought they could use violence to pacify the will of the people,” Biden said. “To stop the work of our democracy. To steer us from this holy land. It did not happen. it will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow. never. never.”

The tense atmosphere of Abraham Lincoln arose in 1861, who were secretly sent to Washington in 1945 to escape assassins on the eve of the Civil War, or at the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt, when he attended a small safe ceremony at the White House ran away. World War II month

But Washington, all but uninhabited in the city and its federal territories, was quiet. And peace remained outside the heavily fortified state capitol buildings across the nation after the FBI warned of the possibility of armed demonstrations following the inauguration.

The day began with access to the political aisle after a four-year bitter fight under Trump. At Biden’s invitation, congressional leaders of both parties bowed their heads in prayer at a socially distant service a few blocks from the White House.

Biden sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts; Harris by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence, standing for Trump, sat nearby as Lady Gaga, holding a golden microphone, singing the national anthem with the US Marine Corps Band.

When Pence left the Capitol, in one last act of the outgoing administration, he passed through a door with severely broken glass two weeks before the riots. Later, Biden, Harris and her husband Arlington were joined by former presidents to garland the tomb of unknown soldiers at a national ceremony.

By midday, a White House desolate during Trump’s waning days, with Biden employees settled in and new COVID-19 security measures, such as plastic shields placed on desks.

In the evening, in exchange for the traditional balls in Washington to welcome a new president, Biden and Harris separately appeared to attend a television concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which hosted A-list celebrities from the White House. They largely survived Trump. The lineup includes: Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Biddens finished her evening with fireworks from the balcony of the White House.

This was not the opening for the crowd. But Americans in the capital city still brought their hopes to the moment.

“I hope so, very grateful,” said Karen Jennings Creams, a D.C. resident who hoped to get a glimpse of the president’s motorcycle on Pennsylvania Avenue with her husband. “It makes us sad that this is where we are but hopefully democracy will win in the end. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Trump was the first president in more than a century to skip the inauguration of his successor. After a brief farewell ceremony at the nearby joint base Andrews, he boarded Air Force One for the last time as president.

“I will always fight for you. I’ll keep watching I will keep listening and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better, ”Trump said. He wished the incoming administration well but never mentioned Biden’s name.

Trump followed a tradition and left a personal note for Biden in the Oval Office. Biden would only tell reporters that it was “a very generous letter.”

Trump, in his farewell video comments, hinted at a political comeback saying, “We’ll be back in some form.” Without question, he would shadow Biden’s first days in office.

Trump’s second impeachment trial could begin earlier this week. It will test the capacity of the Senate, which is now under democratic control, To balance confirmation proceedings and impeachment proceedings with votes on Biden’s cabinet choices.


Associated Press authors Jill Colvin and Darlene Superville in Washington and Michelle L. Price in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


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