‘Democracy has prevailed’ - Biden takes the helm as president
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, summoning American resilience to confront a historic confluence of crises and urging people to come together to end an “uncivil war” in a nation deeply divided after four tumultuous years
Declaring that “democracy has prevailed”, Biden took the oath at a US Capitol that had been battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks earlier.
On a chill Washington morning dotted with snow flurries, the quadrennial ceremony unfolded within a circle of security forces evocative of a war zone and devoid of crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Biden gazed out over 200,000 American flags planted on the National Mall to symbolise those who could not attend in person.
“The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious and democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden said. “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day in history and hope, of renewal and resolve.”
MUM ON TRUMP
Biden never mentioned his predecessor, who defied tradition and left town ahead of the ceremony, but his speech was an implicit rebuke of Donald Trump. The new president denounced “lies told for power and for profit” and was blunt about the challenges ahead.
Central among them: the surging virus that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States, as well as economic strains and a national reckoning over race.
“We have much to do in this winter of peril, and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build and much to gain,” Biden said. “Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged, or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.”