Biden, 78, became the nation’s oldest leader after serving 36 years as senator and eight as vice president

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Biden, 78, became the nation's oldest leader after serving 36 years as senator and eight as vice president

The 46th president of the United States took office

Democrat Joe Biden, who has been a critical player in American political life for nearly half a century, took office as the 46th president of the United States.

Biden, 78, became the nation’s oldest leader after serving 36 years as a senator and eight as vice president. He took the presidential oath of office, vowing to uphold the U.S. Constitution and defend the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Shortly before that, Kamala Harris, a former senator from California, was sworn in as the first woman to serve as vice president.

Three former presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Jr., and Bill Clinton, attended the ceremony, but the outgoing head of state, Donald Trump, ignored the 152-year-old tradition and did not attend his successor’s inauguration.

This year’s inauguration ceremony was on a smaller scale than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of crowds of hundreds of thousands of people lining the National Mall from the Capitol, those who couldn’t make it were represented by a sea of 200,000 U.S., state, and territory flags.

Before arriving at the Capitol for the inauguration, Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, and Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, attended a church service at Washington’s St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral.

Even before the service began, Trump left the White House and flew to Florida.

Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, arrived to attend the ceremony.

Supreme Court justices arrived for the ceremony.

Singers Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez performed at the ceremony.

Those gathered for the ceremony welcomed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Senator Amy Klobuchar addressed the crowd. She stressed that the country’s new leaders would be the guardians of democracy.

Recalling the recent mob takeover of the Capitol, the lawmaker urged Americans to stand united for the rule of law.

Senator Roy Blunt, head of the Inaugural Committee, then spoke. Emphasizing that the current ceremony was taking place under extraordinary circumstances, he assured that the inauguration of the new president should be a moment of unity among Americans.

Lady Gaga sang the U.S. national anthem.

Then Jennifer Lopez performed the famous patriotic song America the Beautiful.

After that, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts came up to the podium to take the oath of office for the 46th president of the United States. After Joe Biden recited the words of the oath of office, Justice Roberts congratulated him on taking office.

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Addressing the ceremony, the 46th U.S. president stressed that today was a day of victory for democracy.

“This is a great country, and we are good people,” Biden said. He recalled that there is much to fix and rebuild in the country.

“We are capable of great things,” he said a little later.

“History, faith, and reason will show us the way to unity,” the president stressed.

Noting that there are divisions in American society, Biden reminded us that divisions should not lead to division. He assured that he intends to be president of all Americans.

“We must end this non-civil war,” the president urged his compatriots.

By doing what we have to do, we will need each other, Biden said.

The 46th president cited growing inequality and systemic racism among the problems to be solved.

Following President Biden’s remarks, country music singer Garth Brooks performed Amazing Grace.

Later Wednesday, President Biden signed several documents, including the Inauguration Day Proclamation, cabinet nominations, and nominations for other positions.

Earlier, Biden’s transition team reported that among the president’s first executive orders will be decreed re-engaging with the WHO, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, lifting Trump’s ban on entry into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries, stepping up the government’s efforts to promote racial equality in the United States and strengthening protections for people who entered the country illegally as children. In addition, Biden is expected to urge Americans to do their “patriotic duty” and wear masks to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Later Wednesday, Biden and Harris headed to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Instead of the usual inauguration day balls, a special television program, “Honoring America,” will air Wednesday evening, featuring Biden and Harris.

Last week, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time, accusing him of sedition. No date has yet been set for the start of the Senate proceedings. If convicted, Trump could be barred from holding public office again.