“We learned again that democracy is precious … fragile, and at this moment, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” were the words of Joe Biden after taking his oath of office as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday.
In his inaugural address, Biden reflected on trying moments from U.S. history such as the Civil War, the Great Depression, and recently, the attack on Capitol Hill.
“Now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope.
“Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested and it has risen to the challenge.
“Today we celebrate a triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy,” Biden said before guests that included former presidents and immediate-past Vice President Mike Pence.
Guests included former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, with their wives, Michelle, Laura, and Hillary, respectively.
Biden was sworn in by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts. at 11:49 a.m. local time (5:49 p.m. Nigerian time).
Six minutes earlier, Kamala Harris took her oath of office as the country’s first female Vice President.
Calling on Americans to overcome their divisions, Biden pledged to lead not “merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example”.
“Stop the shouting and lower the temperatures, without unity there is no peace. Unity is the path forward.
“And we must meet this moment as the United States of America,” he said.
Noting the challenges his administration will face, including the Coronavirus pandemic and the rise of “white supremacy, the president said they would be confronted headlong and defeated.
Biden is expected to roll out 15 executive orders later in the day that will reverse several policies of his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump.
The policies to be reversed include U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organisation, the Paris Agreements on Climate Change and ban on travels from Muslim majority countries.
in a statement before his inauguration, Biden also said the action would require Americans to wear masks and observe social distancing within a 100-day period.