JOE Biden has called for unity and peace after being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
In the early hours of Thursday morning (AEST), Biden took the presidential oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts, vowing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
It was a scaled back ceremony in Washington DC that was stripped of the usual pomp and circumstance due to the COVID-19 crisis and security concerns following the recent storming of the Capitol.
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There was some star power at the event with Lady Gaga performing the National Anthem and Jennifer Lopez singing folk song ‘This Land is Your Land’.
Kamala Harris was first sworn in, taking over as Vice President, the first woman in history to do so.
Administering the oath was Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Vice President Harris smiled brightly as she finished her oath before fist-bumping Joe Biden and hugging her husband.
Biden then took the presidential oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts, vowing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
The 78-year-old, who is now the oldest President in history, began his inauguration speech, which largely called for unity amid what has been a turbulent time in American politics.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Mr Biden said.
“A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve, through a Crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.
“Democracy has prevailed.”
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope.”
– President Joe Biden begins his inaugural address. pic.twitter.com/Q6NQHUxkSb
— Charles Croucher (@ccroucher9) January 20, 2021
He then referenced the Capitol riots from just two weeks ago.
“Just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the very Capitol’s 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,” Mr Biden said.
“As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on a nation we know we can be, and we must be.”
“Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonisation, have long torn us apart,” he said.
“The battle is perennial. And victory is never assured.”
“We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbours,” Mr Biden said.
“We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature.
“For without unity, there is no peace – only bitterness and fury.”
He asked even those who did not vote for him to give him a chance.
“Hear me out as we move forward,” he said.
As he did frequently during the campaign, Biden pledged that he will be a “president for all Americans” and will “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did”.
President Joe Biden: “I pledge this to you: I will be a president to all Americans … and I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” https://t.co/qjeUynJUdz #InaugurationDay pic.twitter.com/CcgSNye6qL
— ABC News (@ABC) January 20, 2021
He also made a promise to the rest of the world.
“We all understand the world is watching, watching all of us today,” he said.
“So here is my message to those beyond our borders.
“America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it.
“We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again not to meet yesterday’s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
“And we will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example.”
Biden has since left the inauguration ceremony ahead of a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and the former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton and their respective spouses.