WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have officially been sworn into office.
Harris was the first to take the oath of office Wednesday, with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administering the oath. The 56-year-old is the first female vice president of the United States, as well as the first Black and Asian-American woman to hold office.
Shortly after, Biden was sworn in as the country’s 46th president, with Chief Justice John Roberts administering the oath for him. At 78 years old, Biden is the oldest president to take the oath.
After he officially became commander in chief, Biden took the mic to deliver his inaugural address that largely focused on uniting America. He repeated a phrase he began his campaign with.
“To restore the soul and future security of America, it requires the most elusive of all things in democracy — unity,” said Biden. “My whole soul is in this: Bringing our people together, uniting our nation.”
Biden said he’ll work to bring the parties together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and other big challenges the nation faces.
“Politics don’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t need to be total war,” said Biden.
The president said he’ll fight for all Americans, even those who didn’t vote for him.
“I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans. I promise I will fight just as hard for those who did not support me as though who did,” said Biden. “We must end this un-civil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.”
Biden also took a moment in his remarks to speak to those outside of America, promising to restrengthen alliances and lead the world by example.
“My message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested, and we’ve come out stronger for it,” said Biden.
At the end of his remarks, Biden said his first act as president would be to ask Americans to join him in a moment of silence to honor those lost to COVID-19 over the past year.
Several, but not all, of the living former presidents and former first ladies were in attendance for the inauguration. The Clintons, Bushes and Obamas were among those on the Capitol balcony, as was former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife.
The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, was not in attendance, likely because of the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Former President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, skipped the ceremonies and headed straight to Florida. He’s the first president since Andrew Johnson to not attend the swearing-in of his successor.
Aside from former presidents, a handful of guests performed or spoke at the inauguration. Lady Gaga sang the national anthem in a large red and navy-blue gown. Andrea Hall, a career firefighter, recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Jennifer Lopez performed a medley of songs, including “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.” Garth Brooks performed “Amazing Grace.” And young poet Amanda Gorman recited a poem.