The Presidential inauguration was preceded by administering of oath to Kamala Harris, 56, as the country’s first female vice president, and the first of black and Indian heritage, by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court bench.
The twin historic events drew the curtain on four years of a vulgar and turbulent Presidency of Donald Trump, whose breaking of norms climaxed with his petulant boycott of the inauguration.
Joe Biden inauguration
<p>Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States</p>
Almost immediately after taking oath of office, Biden, on stepping into a White House reluctantly vacated in the morning by Trump, is set to roll back a raft of his predecessors policies, with first-day executive orders and legislative proposals to rejoin the global climate accord and the World Health Organisation, reversing oppressive immigration diktats, and initiating steps to control the coronavirus pandemic with mask mandates and 100 million vaccinations in 100 days.
Some four hours before Biden took oath of office in a solemn ceremony given the Covid-19 situation and the security threat from radical Christian terrorism, Trump left the White House in an embarrassing spectacle, with a few political stragglers and staff seeing him and wife Melania off as they boarded Marine One helicopter to the nearly Andrews Air Force Base. There, Trump addressed a small band of passionate supporters who chanted “we love you,” telling them, ominously to the ears of many, that “we will be back in some form.”
The defeated President is said to be considering forming a new political outfit called the Patriot Party.
The return of normalcy and the almost instant healing in the capital revealed itself through the inauguration ceremony and in the hours preceding it. Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy joined Biden and Kamala Harris, and their spouses, for Mass at the church across from the White House, shortly after Trump departed. Trump’s vice-president Pence, who also did not go for the rag-tag Trump farewell, later attended the Presidential inauguration as did all past Presidents and their spouses (Obama, Bush, and Clinton), except for Jimmy Carter who is 96 and in Covid isolation. Three senior Supreme Court judges also did not attend because of Covid concerns, but six others did.
Pence welcomed and cheered Kamala and also left a welcome letter for his successor. Several other GOP lawmakers also attended to hear Biden make a stirring inaugural speech, calling for unity in the time of crisis and saying “the American story does not depend on any one of us but on all of us.”
The incoming President bluntly addressed the rise of “political extremism, white supremacy, and domestic terrorism” in the US., saying defeating it requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity. “Let’s start again….politics should not a raging fire,” he said in remarks that appeared to be directed at Trump’s followers, asking them to reject a culture where facts are not just manipulated, but even manufactured.
“The answer is not to retreat inwards… we must end this uncivil war that pits red versus blue, rural v urban….we must open our souls instead of hardening our hearts,” Biden said in an address he conspicuously avoided mentioning Trump.
Earlier, in brief remarks at Andrews Air Force base before he emplaned for Florida, a graceless and cussed Trump said he wished the new administration great luck and great success without mentioning his successor by name or congratulating him. He first talked up his family and its great sacrifices as his sons held back tears, and then went through his “greatest hits” of achievements. “Have a good life; we will see you soon,” he concluded to this supporters. The 45th President is reported to have left a note for his successor on the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk, as is the tradition, but its content was not released.