President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris were officially sworn into office on Wednesday, January 20 marking the first day of their term.
The day went off with much fanfare and it was a star-studded event, with former US presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all in attendance. Lady Gaga sang the national anthem and Jennifer Lopez performed a rendition of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful”.
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Former President Donald Trump did not attend the inauguration but instead flew to Florida with wife Melania Trump. This is the first time a former president has skipped his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869.
In a video with MSNBC, former presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush came together to reflect on what inauguration day means to them.
“Inaugurations signal a tradition of peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old,” said Obama.
“This is an unusual thing. We are both trying to come back to normalcy, deal with totally abnormal challenges, and do what we do best which is try to make a more perfect union. It’s an exciting time,” added Clinton.
Obama continued, “We’ve got to not only listen to folks we agree with but listen to folks we don’t. One of my fondest memories of my inauguration was the grace and generosity that President Bush showed me and Laura Bush showed Michelle. It was a reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognise each other’s common humanity and that, as Americans, we have more in common than what separates us.”
“I think if Americans would love their neighbour like they liked to be loved themselves, a lot of the division in our society would end,” Bush said.
“That’s what this means,” Clinton added. “It’s a new beginning, and everybody needs to get off their high horse and reach out to their friends and neighbours and try to make it possible.”
The former President’s concluded by wishing President Biden great success in his term,
“I’m glad you’re there and I wish you well. You have spoken for us today now you will lead for us and we’re ready to march with you,” said Clinton.
Watch the video here:
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In the less than 24 hours that Biden has been President, he has already taken steps to return the US to the international Paris Agreement to fight climate change.
This forms part of his commitment to restoring US leadership in combatting global warming and getting the country back on track with its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The Biden administration plans a sweeping executive order to review all of former President Trump’s environmental policies that weakened climate change protections.
Picture: Screenshot from video