WASHINGTON DC — Joe Biden was yesterday sworn in as the 46th United States President, ending one of the most dramatic political transitions in American history.
“Democracy has prevailed,” he said after taking the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts.
Donald Trump, who has not formally conceded to Biden, did not attend the ceremony.
The new President has announced a raft of executive orders aimed at reversing Trump’s key policies.
Kamara Harris was sworn in ahead of Biden — becoming the first woman and the first black and Asian-American person elevated to serve in a role a heartbeat from the presidency.
The inauguration took place at the US Capitol. There was tight security after the building was stormed by violent pro-Trump protesters in a deadly riot on January 6.
25 000 National Guards were protecting the inauguration ceremony, which was missing the traditional hundreds of thousands of spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump left the White House for the last time as president shortly after 1pm. He boarded a helicopter and flew to the nearby Andrews Air Force base en route to Florida.
He is the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869.
In his inaugural address, Biden said it was a day of “history and hope”.
“My whole soul is in putting America back together again,” he added.
Highlighting a message of unity after the turbulent years of the Trump presidency, he promised to be a leader “for all Americans” — including those who voted against him.
Among those attending the ceremony were three of his predecessors: Barack Obama — under whom Biden served for eight years as vice-president — Bill Clinton and George W Bush.
Outgoing Vice-President Mike Pence also attended. He skipped Trump’s farewell military salute event at Andrews base.
The ceremony includes musical performances by Lady Gaga — who sang the national anthem — as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
An evening concert at the Lincoln Memorial in the city was hosted by Tom Hanks and included Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, and Demi Lovato.
Earlier yesterday Biden (78) attended a mass at a cathedral in Washington — along with four Roman Catholic congressional leaders, both Democrats and Republicans.
In his address at Andrews Air Force base the outgoing President highlighted what he regarded as the successes of his presidency.
“What we have done has been amazing by any standard,” Trump said.
The 74-year-old flew off to begin post-presidential life at his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach.
In his last hours, Trump granted clemency to more than 140 people, including his former adviser Steve Bannon, who had been facing fraud charges. — BBC
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