Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th president of the United States, declaring that “democracy has prevailed.”
He takes the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherits a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors. But there were comforting signs of tradition in the hallowed American rite that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol, which was battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago.
The day began with a reach across the aisle after four years of bitter partisan battles under Trump. At Biden’s invitation, congressional leaders from both parties bowed their heads in prayer in a socially distanced church service just a few blocks from the White House.
Biden was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member. Vice President Mike Pence, standing in for Trump, sat nearby as Lady Gaga, holding a gold microphone, sang the national anthem accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps band.