Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States at 12 pm on Wednesday. At 78 years old, he is the oldest person ever to become President. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris became the 49th Vice President of the United States, and became the first Black person and the first woman to hold that office.
During his inaugural speech, President Biden promised that he will seek to unify the discordant voices within America, saying that “unity is the path forward,” while also taking on the darker political elements that have emerged. “And now, the rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, that we must confront and we will defeat,” he said.
“What are the common objects that we as Americans love?” Biden asked. “Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor, and yes, the truth.” He went on to add that “we must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.”
Donald Trump was absent from the inauguration ceremony, making him the first sitting President since 1869 to skip his successor’s inauguration. Trump instead held a farewell speech for supporters, citing his accomplishments in driving a strong economy and in developing a vaccine for the coronavirus in less than one year, something he said “nobody thought was possible.”
Trump wished the new administration success, before telling his supporters to “have a good life.” “Hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye. We will see each other again,” he said as he left the White House. “We’ll be back in some form.” Mike Pence was not present at Trump’s farewell speech, instead opting to attend Biden’s inauguration. The former vice president and his wife were seen speaking with Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, and the group was heard breaking into laughter.
Although Trump’s presidency has ended, he will likely still enjoy the spotlight for some time to come. Upon his arrival in Florida, thousands of supporters greeted him with cheers and signs saying “Trump won” and “Still my President.”
Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate still looms. If convicted, he may be barred from ever holding public office again.