Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday. His deputy, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, also took oath as the new Vice President, becoming the first woman, Black person, and first Asian-American to serve in the position.
In his first remarks, Biden said, “Here we stand days after a riotous mob thought they could silence the will of the people. It will not happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.” He pledged to be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying leaders had an obligation to “defend the truth and defeat the lies”.
Saying there was “no time to waste”, Biden signed a slew of orders to “change the course” of the Covid-19 pandemic, combat climate change and advance racial equity. Undoing Donald Trump’s legacy, he lifted the travel ban on 13 Muslim-majority and African countries; halted construction of the US-Mexico border wall; and directed officials to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), among other things.
Meanwhile, Biden disclosed that Trump had written him a “generous” letter before departing from Washington. “The president wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I won’t talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous,” he said.
In his final address before leaving the White House, Trump had told the nation, “We love the American people and again it has been something very special. And I just want to say goodbye, but hopefully it’s not a long term goodbye. We’ll see each other again.”