Joe Biden turns into 46th president – Delaware State Information
DOVER — Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the nation’s 46th president at 11:48 a.m. Wednesday.
Sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, President Biden pledged to work to build a more perfect union.
“I, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” he said, surrounded by his wife and children.
He took the oath on the family Bible, an heirloom that has belonged to the Bidens for nearly 130 years.
He begins his four-year term in the midst of a series of crises perhaps unlike anything America’s head of state has faced before.
“Now, on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible,” he told the audience in reference to the violent insurrection in the Capitol two weeks ago.
Due to the pandemic and security concerns, this inauguration had a different feel, with a much smaller list of attendees, than normal.
Still, hope was in the air.
The new president, a Democrat elected with 306 electoral votes and 51.3% of the popular vote, pledged to tackle the myriad obstacles facing the United States: COVID-19, white supremacy, political division and a struggling economy.
He spoke for about 20 minutes, urging Americans to come together and “end this uncivil war.”
“America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” the president said. “The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
He was preceded by the oath of office for the new vice president, Kamala Harris, the first woman, first person of Asian descent and first Black American to hold that post.
Not present was Donald Trump, the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869.
Among the guests in attendance were the presidents of the University of Delaware (the president’s alma mater) and Delaware State University.
UD President Dennis Assanis and his wife, Eleni, were seated straight across from the podium, giving them a clear look at key players during the ceremony.
As he recalled the events a few hours later, Dr. Assanis was bursting with pride and joy that an alumnus had become the country’s leader.
“It really is evidence of the power of a UD education, an education that can take our students to any place they wish. There are no boundaries. Basically, whatever you dream you can accomplish whether it’s business, government, economics, health and the environment, social justice, anything,” he said in a phone interview.
“To me, and I hope for our 200,000 alumni and so many current students and future generations of students, this is an inspiring moment.”
DSU President Tony Allen, who was tapped in December to lead the four-member Presidential Inauguration Committee designed to organize activities connected to the swearing-in ceremonies, was moved by the occasion.
A former speechwriter and special assistant for then-U.S. Sen. Biden, Dr. Allen noted President Biden launched his first bid for the Senate at DSU back in 1972.
“To be full circle, to be afforded the opportunity as president of Delaware State University to lead the (Presidential Inaugural Committee) and to work for a man who is now president — and a good and decent man that I know is going to lead the country in the right direction — I just couldn’t be more proud,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s a great new day.”
He was moved, too, by the benediction from the Rev. Silvester Beaman. The pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, the Rev. Beamon is also Dr. Allen’s pastor.
Vice President Harris also represented a proud moment for historically black colleges and universities, Dr. Allen said, noting she broke several barriers Wednesday.
“She’s just an example of the possibilities for students who choose HBCUs what they can become. I’ve got a 13-year-old daughter, and to be able to show her that anything’s possible by just having her take a look at madame vice president, it just makes my heart full,” he said.
Staff writers Craig Anderson and Brooke Schultz also contributed to this article.