Not surprisingly, considering the bitterly divided American society, President Biden pleaded for national unity and the end of the uncivil war with the slogan ‘shun division, embrace unity’. He explained that ‘unity’ is required in view of the paramount need, which he termed as ‘a desperate call for survival coming from the planet earth itself’, of countering the challenges of rising political extremism, white supremacy racism, domestic terrorism and the pandemic that caused more damage in one year than the whole of the World War-2 did to America. He declared that he was the President for all Americans including those who did not or still do not support him. The President said, ‘democracy is precious, democracy is fragile’, but went on optimistically by saying that ‘today is democracy’s day’ and that ‘democracy has prevailed’. There was much to heal and more to build, he pleaded.
The event was not attended by the outgoing President Donald Trump as announced by him a few days back, he became only the fourth President to do so in USA’s presidential history, and the first to do so in last more than one hundred and fifty years. However, Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence attended the ceremony, and significantly was not around when Trump delivered his farewell speech at an airbase before taking Airforce-1- to fly home to Florida. Trump has also earned the unique distinction of becoming the first ever US President to get impeached twice in the US House. With the Democrats establishing their presence in the Senate their next moves in permanently depriving Trump of all post-presidential privileges would be keenly observed.
President Joe Biden’s mission at the moment is clearly to end the legacy of Trump as soon as possible, and as he said in his speech, to start engaging with the world for peace and democracy. To lead by examples the President got into action on the very first day of his office. He signed around 15 executive orders reversing some of the crucial foreign policies and national security decisions taken by his predecessor Trump. These orders include, significantly, America rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change, revoking the country’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, making wearing of masks mandatory and rescinding a travel ban imposed on visitors from several Muslim-majority countries.