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Joe Biden sworn in as 46th US president at solemn ceremony

WASHINGTON: Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at a solemn ceremony on Wednesday.

As per details, Biden, 78, took the oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at a solemn ceremony at the US Capitol which was slighted by the outgoing president and took place in the shadow of a raging COVID-19 epidemic.

Prior to Biden, Kamala Harris was sworn in as US vice president, becoming the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian American to hold the office.

Democrat Biden has become the oldest US president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that has been largely exposed of its usual circumstance, due both to the coronavirus outbreak and security concerns following the January 6 riots in the US Capitol by Trump followers.

Following his oath of office, Biden celebrated his arriving administration not as a celebration of a candidate but a triumph for the US democratic system, saying more work must be done to heal the Americans.

In his inaugural speech, he said, “At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy,” he added.

“This is our historic instant of crisis and challenge and unity harmony is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America,” Biden added.

“We require all our strength to… persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest era of the virus,” he said, calling on people to “finally face this epidemic as one nation.”

Biden spoke on the measures of the Capitol, which two weeks ago saw scenes of violence extraordinary in modern times as rioters egged on by Trump stormed the building, leaving four people dead and shaking the US to its hub.

“Here we stand just days after a violent mob thought they could … drive us from this sacred ground,” he said. The president said, “It did not happen, it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever, not ever.”

The country faces “a rise of political radicalism, white supremacy, domestic intimidation, that we must tackle, and we will defeat,” he committed. The new president urged the country’s people to “discard the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated.”

Trump, a Republican, left the White House with his wife just after (1300 GMT) and went by helicopter to a sendoff event at Joint Air Force Base Andrews, where he promised followers “we’ll be back in some form” and inscribed his administration’s successes before flying off to Florida.

Top Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, were not there to see him go. Biden arrived at the Capitol just before 10:30 am for his inauguration after a visit to the church, where he was joined in a show of unity by the two most senior Republicans in Congress: Senator Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.Trump flouted one last convention on his way out. His refusal to attend his successor’s swearing-in breaks with more than a century and a half of political tradition, seen as a way of affirming the peaceful transfer of power.

The president did, however, leave a customary note for Biden in the Oval Office, according to a White House official, though it was not yet known what it said.

Biden’s running mate, Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president after she was sworn in by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member.

Trump, who has not appeared in public for several days, broke days of silence with a pre-recorded farewell video address.

For the first time, Trump asked Americans to “pray” for the success of the incoming administration — a change from months spent persuading his Republican followers that the Democrats cheated their way to election victory. Trump stoked grievance among his supporters with the claim that Biden’s win was illegitimate.