Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in Wednesday as president and vice president of the United States, taking the helm of a deeply divided nation and inheriting a confluence of crises faced by few of their predecessors.
With Donald Trump absent — he became the first president since 1869 to skip his successor's inauguration — Biden said he would be the president "for all Americans."
"We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal," said Biden, a Democrat. "We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts."
"Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war, and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured," he added.
Latest updates on the inauguration of Joe Biden
The last outgoing president to snub his successor's inauguration was Andrew Johnson, who didn't attend the swearing-in of Ulysses S. Grant. Earlier, Trump held his own sendoff, telling supporters gathered at Andrews Air Force Base: "Have a nice life. See you soon."
About three hours later, in Biden's inaugural address, the new president paid homage to those lost in the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 400,000 Americans since February 2020.
He paused for a moment of silent prayer to remember those lost souls.
"Remember all of those who we've lost in this past year to the pandemic — those 400,000 fellow Americans, moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and coworkers," Biden said. "We will honor them by becoming the people and the nation we know we can, and should, be."| read more ››