Ayyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Joe Biden becoming the president of the United States of America.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, pledging to confront an array of convulsing challenges and bring healing and unity to a deeply fractured nation.
“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” Biden said in an inaugural address that called on America to end its “uncivil war” and embrace a united front amid a series of daunting crises. “Unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail.”
Moments before, Kamala Devi Harris took her oath of office, making her the country’s first female vice president, and also the first Black American and first person of Asian heritage to hold the nation’s second highest office. She had placed her hand on twin Bibles, one from a family friend and the second belonging to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice of the Supreme Court.
With his left hand on his thick family Bible and his wife, Jill Biden, by his side, Biden recited the oath administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The moment marked the pinnacle of a career in public leadership that began Forty years ago.
Biden took office seeking to appeal to the country’s more hopeful sentiments and make a plea for unity. “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path,” he said in his speech, calling on the nation to “start afresh.” The 21-minute speech hewed closely to the themes that shaped Biden’s presidential run, with several references to unity, comity and a restoration of American leadership on the global stage. He cited his inauguration as a symbol of the country turning the page after its very democracy was tested like never before. Seated behind him as he spoke were three former presidents: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton who are both Democrats, and Republican George W. Bush.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden said during his Inauguration speech, which made several references to the unprecedented chaos of recent weeks.
Biden promised to confront and defeat the scourge of white supremacy and domestic terrorism, challenges that have taken on fresh urgency in the wake of the insurrection.“A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us,” he said. “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. The cry for survival comes from planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”While Biden described America as a “place of hope and light, of limitless possibilities,” during an emotional goodbye ceremony in Delaware on Tuesday, the scene surrounding his inauguration in Washington on Wednesday offered a visceral reminder of the dark challenges he now faces.
The nation’s capital remained on partial lockdown, with more than 20,000 members of the National Guard patrolling the streets to prevent a repeat of the January 6 insurrection that left one police officer and four rioters dead.
Biden’s Democratic Party will have control of the White House and Congress for the first time since 2011, yet it holds only a narrow advantage in the House and the barest majority in the Senate a 50/50 split driven by two Democratic runoff wins in December that will leave Vice President Harris to break any ties. Biden, the second Catholic to be elected president, after John F. Kennedy, invited Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to attend Mass with him Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration. The decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.CA) to attend and to skip a farewell event for Trump that took place around the same time offered one sign that Biden’s approach may at least take some of the vitriol out of the policymaking process.
Biden promised to confront and defeat the scourge of white supremacy and domestic terrorism, challenges that have taken on fresh urgency in the wake of the insurrection.“A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us,” he said. “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. The cry for survival comes from planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”
Biden and Harris walked down a short segment of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in a scaled-back version of the traditional parade route. While in-person crowds were largely prohibited a reflection of the enduring impact of the crisis a virtual program featuring musicians, actors and other celebrities, organizations and groups streamed online.
Biden entered the White House later Wednesday and told reporters that there was “no time to waste” before signing a stack of executive actions. They included a repeal of Trump’s ban on U.S. entry for citizens of some majority Muslim countries and a fortification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protecting millions of young immigrants from deportation. Trump had tried to end the Obama era program known as DACA.
After signing some of the orders, Biden told reporters that Trump had left him a “very generous letter” in the Oval Office, though he declined to detail its contents. The new president wore a mask, in contrast with the typical practice of his predecessor.
Biden gave an emotional farewell to his home state of Delaware on Tuesday, with tears streaming down his face as he thanked a group that included longtime friends for sticking with him through his circuitous and at times tragedy laden journey from a middle class childhood in Scranton, Pa., and Wilmington to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Kamala D. Harris who is 56 years old is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and a graduate of Howard University, is set to play a key role in the administration, as the potential tiebreaker in the Senate. She was administered the oath by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. Harris’s ascension is in keeping with Biden’s pledge to assemble an administration that “looks like America.” Cabinet nominees on hand for the inauguration, several of whom would be the first of their respective backgrounds to serve in their posts, reflected Biden’s promise to have the most diverse administration in American history. The broad tapestry of races, genders and cultures surrounding Biden stood in sharp contrast with the Trump administration’s open rejection of diversity and multiculturalism. But how much Biden is able to achieve with razor thin Democratic majorities in Congress could depend on his ability to persuade Republicans to turn the page from the combative approach championed by Trump.