Updated 7:12 PM ET, Wed January 20, 2021
Joe Biden was sworn in as the United States’ 46th president on Wednesday, and he pledged to be a president for all Americans — even those who did not support his campaign.
“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation,” he said in his inaugural address.
Biden spoke shortly after Kamala Harris made history by becoming the country’s first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president. He said this Inauguration Day was a triumph for democracy.
“The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded,” Biden said. “We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
This has been a scaled-down inauguration unlike any we’ve ever seen.
The celebrations have been cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Biden’s inaugural committee — trying to keep crowds to a minimum — urged Americans not to travel to Washington, DC. The National Mall is also closed to the general public because of security concerns related to the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.
This was the first time in 150 years that the outgoing president has boycotted his successor’s inauguration. Donald Trump, still bitter about the election, skipped the ceremony and many of the time-honored traditions that come with the peaceful transfer of power. He departed Washington early in the morning, giving a speech at Joint Base Andrews before flying to Florida.