Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. On early Wednesday, Biden, who served as Vice President under former President Barack Obama, took the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Biden was administered the oath of office shortly before noon by Chief Justice John Roberts, after which he addressed the nation alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman to hold the position.
Attending the inauguration were three former presidents, including Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The full Supreme Court and now former Vice President Mike Pence, whose wife and family were also present, stood in attendance at Biden's inauguration.
Now former President Donald Trump declined to attend the inauguration and departed for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier Wednesday morning.
Biden’s inauguration puts an end to nearly two months of controversy surrounding his election, which was contested by Trump. Trump alleged that he was the true winner of the presidential election, which had been “stolen” through a variety of means, including election fraud and voter suppression.
Trump insisted on his victory well after the U.S. Capitol was besieged by extremists two weeks ago, attempting to delay the certification of Biden as the 46th president. Trump ultimately conceded and acknowledged Biden’s victory in the days after he was banned from Twitter and a variety of other social media networks for allegedly inciting violence.
During Biden’s inaugural speech, the President was flanked by hundreds of celebrities and members of the Democratic elite, who had the protection of thousands of National Guard troops stationed at the Capitol. Biden focused on a message of unity, and called upon Americans to set aside their differences and work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Biden said. “Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.”
During his speech, Biden referenced the attack on Capitol Hill, calling it the work of an “angry, violent mob.” He stated that in spite of the riot, there had been a peaceful transfer of power.
“Democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden said.
Biden’s inauguration was largely closed to guests, and only a handful of people were invited to attend the ceremony due to coronavirus-related social distancing policies. Instead of a crowd, Biden’s ‘audience’ consisted of hundreds of flags representing residents of the 50 states, who watched the inauguration ceremony on television and the internet.
As part of the inauguration, Biden and Harris intend to partake in a number of specials that will be streamed live on most streaming platforms as well as cable news channels.