Biden Becomes 46th President: Inaugural Speech and Reactions

Biden inauguration

Joe Biden has been inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America.

In front of a heavily diminished crowd of around 3000 people – largely comprised of senators and congresspeople –  and in front of the Capitol building facing the National Mall in Washington DC, Biden was sworn in as the successor to Donald Trump at 4 am AEDT this morning.

Thus ends one of the most turbulent transitional periods in American history and the Presidency of Donald Trump.

As it has been since 1937, the inaugural proceedings began at 8:30 am on Wednesday, January 20 Eastern Time, with the presidential inauguration held at midday.

“Democracy has prevailed,” Biden said after taking the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts.

Kamala Harris was also sworn-in as vice-president, becoming the first woman, and the first black and Asian-American person, to serve in a role.

The inauguration comes amid a still rampant COVID outbreak throughout the US and social distancing measures were put in place to limit the spread of the virus at the event. Much of it was hosted online, with thousands tuning into the live stream from the comfort of their own homes.

Over 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed across Washington after the attack on the Capitol building earlier in the month by a mob of angry Trump supporters hoping to overturn the election result and threaten violence against congresspeople. The attack also prompted security officials to drastically reduce the size of the crowds in attendance.

WATCH: President Joe Biden’s Presidential Inauguration speech. Story continues…


What Happened

The inauguration was held on the Western Front of the Capitol Building – the same site that was flooded with Trump supporters just weeks before.

Biden took the oath of office with his hand on a family bible that has been passed down through his family since 1893. A marine band then played ceremonial songs while a 21-gun salute was made.

Biden then gave his inaugural address in which he laid out a new vision for America, spoke of the importance of healing and togetherness, and attempted to put the bitterness and anger behind the nation.

In his address, Mr Biden said it was a day of “history and hope”.

“My whole soul is in putting America back together again,” he added.

Getty Images

Who Was There

Physically in attendance were senators and congresspeople who had all received invites, and a few celebrities and notable figures in attendance including the Obamas – Barack, Michelle, and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, the Bush family, and the Clintons.

Notably, the outgoing president, Donald Trump, was not in attendance. Trump snubbed the ceremony which normally sees the former president hand over power to the incoming one in a peaceful demonstration of shared values and cooperation.

The former president left the White House for the last time at about 08:00 Eastern Time on Wednesday, and flew to the nearby Andrews Air Force base, however, former Vice-President Mike Pence attended, skipping Trump’s farewell military salute event to be there.

The inauguration ceremony also included musical performances by Lady Gaga — who sang the national anthem — as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.

22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman performed a phenomenal piece reflecting on the past four years and the injustices in America.

WATCH: Poet Amanda Gorman’s reading at the inauguration. Story continues…

Reactions Have Been Flooding In

World leaders reacted to Biden’s inauguration by offering congratulations and, in some cases, pleading for the reversal of his predecessor’s policies.

Among most messages was a palpable sense of relief, as the international community embraced Biden’s pledge to reenter a series of global pacts and organizations that President Donald Trump abandoned.

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