Biden Says 'Democracy Has Prevailed' as He Becomes 46th U.S. President

Vice President Kamala Harris makes history as first African American, Asian American and woman to hold the office.
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President Joe Biden on Wednesday was inaugurated as the United States' 46th president, succeeding Donald Trump after one of the most tumultuous transfers of power in the country's history. 

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office shortly before noon. Vice President Harris made history as the first African American, Asian American and woman to hold that office. 

"The will of the people has been heeded. We've learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed," Biden said.

"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," Biden said.

Biden went on to address racial justice, climate change and domestic terrorism. 

Inauguration Highlights 

  • Father Leo O’Donovan led the invocation.
  • Lady Gaga sang the national anthem
  • Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued the oath to Kamala Harris.
  • Jennifer Lopez performed “This Land Is Your Land”
  • Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Biden.

Biden took the oath of office two weeks to the day after violent rioters stormed the steps of the Capitol in Washington, looking to pressure lawmakers into changing their certification votes to support Trump.

Lawmakers wore Kevlar vests underneath their suits. The Capitol steps, which are normally filled during the inauguration, were mostly empty as part of safety precautions implemented after the attack on the Capitol two weeks ago. 

Barbed wire, security checkpoints and large fences dotted the perimeter of the proceedings, crystalizing the unusual nature of the 2021 inaugural proceedings. 

Flags covered the national mall where revelers normally would congregate to celebrate the new president. The flags were part of a memorial to the lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic over the past year. 

Trump left the White House on Marine One, the official presidential helicopter, earlier in the morning. He forwent the tradition of attending his successor's inauguration.