WASHINGTON D.C., Jan 20, 2021, Fox News. Joe Biden, sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, declared “democracy has prevailed” as he used his inaugural address to call for unity in a nation suffering from “deep” political divisions and a pandemic that has crippled the country, Fox New reported.
From the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Biden took the oath of office in a ceremony dramatically downsized because of the coronavirus pandemic as he vowed to take on the challenges of the day.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Biden said in his address. “America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.”
Biden was sworn in with his hand on his family Bible – the same one he has used to take the oath office in the past. The oath was administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Standing beside Biden was first lady Jill Biden, his son, Hunter Biden, and daughter Ashley Biden.
In his speech, Biden said his inauguration was a day to “celebrate triumph, not of a candidate, but a cause – democracy.”
“Democracy is precious, democracy is fragile,” he said. “And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
In his first address as president, Biden said “the American story depends not on any one of us, but on all of us – we the people,” and said the country “will press forward with speed and urgency.”
Biden pointed to the novel coronavirus, which he said “silently stalks the country,” and has claimed more than 400,000 American lives since its inception, shifted to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and addressed the “cry for racial justice.”
“The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden said.
Biden’s address comes just two weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which left five people dead – including a U.S. Capitol Police officer – as pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as a joint session of Congress attempted to certify the electoral votes for Biden’s 2020 presidential victory.
Biden, on Wednesday, addressed “a rise of political extremism, of White supremacy and domestic terrorism,” which he said, “we must confront and we will defeat.”
Biden, though, shifted again to unity – saying that “restoring the soul and future of America requires so much more than words.”
“It requires the most elusive of all things in democracy – unity,” he said, adding that his “whole soul is in this.”
“Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation,” Biden continued. “And I ask every American to join me in this cause.” Biden said the country must “fight the foes we face,” which he said includes “anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, hopelessness.”
“With unity, we can do great things – important things,” he said. “We can right wrongs.”
Biden said his administration can “put people to work in good jobs, overcome the deadly virus,” ensure children are in school, “rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all.” Biden also said his administration would “deliver racial justice, and make America, again, the leading force for good in the world.”
“Speaking of unity can sound like a fantasy,” Biden said, acknowledging that “the forces that divide us are deep and they are real,” but said “they are not new.”
“Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal, and the harsh, ugly reality of racism … fear, demonization, have long torn us apart,” Biden said, calling the “battle” “perennial.”
Biden, though, said “our better angels have always prevailed,” and said “history, faith and reason can show the way of unity.”
Biden, called for “dignity, respect,” and urged Americans to “stop the shouting and lower the temperature.”
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“For without unity, there is no peace – only bitterness and fury,” he said. “No nation – only a state of chaos.”
“This is our historic moment of crisis in challenge, and unity is the path forward,” he said. “We must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee, we will not fail.”
Biden urged Americans to “start fresh,” and “begin to listen to each other again,” pointing to the political climate in the U.S. throughout the Trump presidency.
“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path,” he said. “Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for a total war, and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured.”
He added: “My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this.”
Biden, speaking directly to supporters of his opponent, former President Trump, asked that they “hear me out as we move forward.”
“Take a measure of me and my heart,” he said. “If you still disagree, so be it, that’s democracy, that’s America. The right to dissent, peacefully.”
But Biden warned that “disagreement must not lead to disunion.”
“I pledge this to you – I will be a president for all Americans, and I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did,” Biden said.
Meanwhile, Biden spoke to “those beyond our borders,” saying that America “has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it.”
“We will repair our alliances and engage again,” Biden said. “We’ll lead not merely by example of our power, but by the power of our example.”
Biden vowed that the U.S. will be “a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security” around the globe.
The president warned that the U.S. is facing “an attack on democracy and on truth,” as well as the “raging” coronavirus, “growing inequity,” “systemic racism” and “a climate in crisis.”
“Any one of these is enough to challenge us in a profound way, but we face them all at once,” he said. “Now we’re gonna be tested – are we going to step up, all of us?”
Meanwhile, Biden thanked his predecessors, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, for attending his inaugural ceremony.
President Trump did not attend Biden’s inauguration – an extraordinary move that makes him the first to skip the inaugural ceremony of his successor since 1869.
Trump is the fourth president in history to not attend his successor’s Inauguration Day. Former presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson did not attend their successors’ inaugural ceremonies.
Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, though, attended the inauguration.
Biden urged the country to move forward, and “add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation.”
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“I give you my word. I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I will defend our democracy. I will defend America and will give all of you – keep everything I do in your service, thinking of not power, but of possibilities, not of personal interest, but of public good,” Biden said.
“And together, we shall write an American story,” he said, saying it would be “a story of decency,” and of “light not darkness.”
“May this be the story that guides us, the story that inspires us, and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the calls of history – we met the moment,” Biden said. “Truth and justice did not die on our watch, but thrived.”