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Inauguration Day: Joe Biden calls for unity on ‘day of history and hope’

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Almost 78 days after one of the most tumultuous political elections in history, Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

  • Click through to the LIVE BLOG to see how the Inauguration Day ceremony is unfolding.

At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed’’
– President Joe Biden

With his hand on an heirloom Bible that has been in his family for more than a century, Mr Biden took the presidential oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts, vowing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

“Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge,” the new US President said as he began his inaugural address.

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“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy.”

Mr Biden also pledged during his inaugural address that he would be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying that leaders have an obligation “to defend the truth and defeat the lies”.

He asked even those who did not vote for him to give him a chance.

“Hear me out as we move forward,” he said, adding he would “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did”.

We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.’’

Mr Biden said that his swearing-in marks a day of “history and hope”.

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In calling for unity among Americans, Mr Biden said politics does not have to be a “raging” fire that destroys everything in its path.

Without directly naming Donald Trump, he called out the spread of toxic misinformation that has widened existing divisions in the US.

“We must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured,” he said.

“America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this.”

COVID-19 ‘stalks the country’

He asked the millions of Americans who tuned in to share a moment of silent prayer in remembrance of those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

“Those 400,000 fellow Americans – moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbours and coworkers. We’ll honour them and become the people and nation we know we can and should be,” Mr Biden said.

The coronavirus “silently stalks the country” and has cost more American lives than World War I, he said.

And few Americans “have found a time more challenging than the time we are in now”, he added.

“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency… We have much to do in this winter of peril and significant opportunities.”

-with AAP

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