ON Wednesday, Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America, USA, succeeding Donald Trump who lost the 2020 presidential elections described as one of the “most divisive ” in the nation’s political history.
Biden was sworn into office at an inauguration ceremony in Washington DC, attended by leaders in the US as John Roberts, chief justice of the United States, administered the oath of office on him.
High profile guests who graced the event include former president Barack and Michelle Obama, George and Laura Bush, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
There was also an unprecedented deployment of military and law enforcement personnel who stood guard at the Capitol to forestall any form of civil unrest.
In his inaugural address, Biden who is the nation’s second Catholic president after Bill Clinton made a call for the country to unite in the face of its multiple crises and resort to peaceful co-existence.
“We have learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour democracy has prevailed,” he said.
The transition process after the elections has been chaotic leading to the invasion of the Capitol by supporters of former US President Trump as Biden says the country must confront the rise of white supremacy, and reject manufactured facts.
“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. 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.
“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,” he said.
“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” he said. Kamala Harris was also sworn in as the 49th US vice-president , becoming the first female and first black American to occupy the position.
Trump had flown to Florida after attending a small farewell party organised on his behalf as he exited the White House and did not attend Biden’s inauguration, breaking from the tradition of every departing president in United States history.
Biden defeated Trump in the November 3, 2020, US presidential elections with 81,283,098 votes after flipping some Republican strongholds, leaving the ex-president with 74,222,958 votes.
On December 14, 2020, the electoral college voted just as the states’ ballot went, handing Biden 306 votes while Trump got 232 votes.
Efforts by Trump’s camp to overturn the election outcome in the courts was unsuccessful due to lack of material evidence.
Trump had insisted that he defeated Biden.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.