Joseph R. Biden took the oath of office shortly before noon EST on Wednesday, becoming the second Catholic to hold the office in the history of the nation. Roughly a thousand guests including former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were in attendance, though Biden’s predecessor in office, Donald Trump, was not.
Mr. Biden took the oath on a Bible that has been in the Biden family for more than a century.
In his inaugural address, President Biden renewed his pledge to work for healing in the nation, after four frequently turbulent years that in their final weeks saw convulsion and tumult reach the nation’s capital. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” Biden said. “Unity is the path forward,” he went on to say, “and we must meet this moment as the United States of America.”
“If we do that,” the President said, “I guarantee you we will not fail.”
Biden assumes the presidency amid very trying circumstances at home and around the world. The coronavirus emergency is chief among them, as the US surpassed 400 thousand deaths attributed to Covid-19, and in a moment of profound division in the body politic.
“I will be a president for all Americans,” Biden promised.
His Vice President, Kamala Harris, made history shortly before Biden took the oath, being sworn in as the first woman, the first Black American, and the first person of south Asian descent to hold the second-highest office in the United States.