Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday.
Biden took the oath of office administered by US Chief Justice, John Roberts, and became the oldest US president in history at age 78.
The president in his inaugural address pledged to end the “uncivil war” in the deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans, Reuters reports.
He said, “To overcome these challenges to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: Unity.
“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this – if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”
The National Mall, usually packed with throngs of supporters, was filled with US flags in a reminder of the pandemic Biden will confront as the president.
Speaking on the steps of the Capitol, where supporters of then-President Donald Trump clashed with police in a chaotic assault that left five dead on January 6, Biden cast his ascension as proof that the attackers had failed to disrupt the underpinnings of American democracy.
“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work on our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen; it will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever,” Biden said.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president after she was sworn in by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member.
Trump, who did not accept the election defeat, skipped the ceremony as he refused to meet with Biden or attend his successor’s inauguration, breaking with a political tradition seen as affirming the peaceful transfer of power.
He also did not mention his successor during his last address at the Joint Base Andrew from where he boarded Air Force One for the last time and flew to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.
Top Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence and the party’s congressional leaders, attended Biden’s inauguration, along with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their spouses.