President Joe Biden sought to sooth a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, but warned that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."
The big picture: Moments after taking the oath of office, Biden spoke on the Capitol’s West front, from the very steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier. They were attempting to overturn an election where Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 7 million votes.
- "American has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge," Biden said. "Democracy has prevailed."
- Biden vowed the "confront domestic terrorism," and channelled former President Abraham Lincoln to help "bring America together and united our nation."
- Trump, breaking with tradition, did not attend his successor's inauguration.
- "This is a great nation. We are good people." Biden said. "But victory is never assured."
- Biden directly addressed Trump’s supporters and asked them to “hear me out” before vowing to be “a president for all Americans.” "We must end this uncivil war."
Why it matters: While Biden's speech included olive branches to Trump supporters, his immediate actions are aimed at reversing many of the policies that Trump imposed in the opens days of his presidency.
- After the speech, Biden will return to the White House, where he served as vice president just 8 years ago, with 15 executive orders, awaiting his presidential signature.
- His flurry of executive actions is the start of an ambitious agenda to reverse Trump’s policies from energy to energy, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and wiping to a travel ban from mostly Muslim countries that Trump imposed on his first weeks in office.