Joe Biden took the oath of office at noon on Jan. 20 to serve as the 46th president of the United States.
Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts administered the oath.
The president was sworn in amid unprecedented circumstances, standing before a virtually empty National Mall due to security concerns stemming from the breach of the U.S. Capitol two weeks earlier.
Biden, 78, succeeds President Donald Trump, who skipped the inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence attended the ceremony alongside former Presidents Barack Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton.
“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for 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,” the president said after taking the oath.
After addressing the pandemic of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, Biden touched on his other priorities: racism, the climate, domestic terrorism and white supremacy. He then called for unity.
“My whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation and I ask every American to join me in this cause,” Biden said.
“Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things.”
Biden, who campaigned on undoing much of Trump’s legacy, was expected to sign a list of nearly two dozen executive actions later in the day, including an order stopping the construction of Trump’s signature border wall, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, and canceling the travel ban Trump put in place to protect the United States from terrorism.
Earlier in the morning, Trump delivered a farewell address at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One en route to Florida. The president told supporters that he “will be back in some form.”
Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, descended the steps to the balcony of the Capitol just over 40 minutes prior to noon. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) delivered the opening speeches.
Lawmakers from both chambers of Congress and Supreme Court justices attended the ceremony.
Biden, a Democrat, takes office amid the ongoing CCP virus pandemic. More than 400,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus. All of the attendees, with the exception of the speakers, wore masks. A portion of the seating was arranged with social distancing in mind.
The Democrats will hold majorities of both the House and Senate during at least the first two years of Biden’s term. A preview of the president’s first actions suggests he will take advantage of the Democratic control to enact a list of left-wing priorities. His first legislative request, a CCP virus relief bill, featured the $15 minimum wage mandate long promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic socialist. Biden sent an immigration bill proposal to Congress ahead of the inauguration which would afford legal status to millions of illegal aliens.
Kamala Harris took the oath of office shortly before Biden.
Instead of the customary crowd on the National Mall, organizers planted thousands of American flags.