Joe Biden enters the White House and calls for “unity”

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C’s D-Day for Joe Biden and the United States, which is turning the page on Donald Trump’s mandate. Preceded by a fanfare and a military procession, Joe Biden’s limousine advanced to the outskirts of the presidency, in a Washington city that looked like an entrenched camp. The Democrat crossed the last few meters on foot surrounded by all his family. I, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, I solemnly swear that I will faithfully fulfill the functions of President of the United States and that I will do my best to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States ”, he had previously declared by lending oath, hand over the family bible held by his wife Jill Biden.

On the steps of the same Capitol stormed two weeks ago by Trumpist supporters whitewashed by the Republican billionaire’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat, the scene was a compendium of contrasts. Contrast with the violence of January 6, which left five dead and aroused indignation. And contrast between the serious but marked speech of “hope” delivered by Joe Biden and that, dark and offensive, of his predecessor four years ago. The one who became at 78 years the oldest president at the beginning of mandate multiplied the calls for “unity” to overcome this “dark winter”, a few hours after the departure of Donald Trump, who left Washington without attending this historic moment.

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Only a few hours after taking office, he signed a series of decrees including one relating to the return of the United States to the Paris climate agreement. “We are going to fight climate change like we have never done before,” he said from the Oval Office.

Welcome back

“I know that the forces that divide us are deep and real,” said the Democrat, to the applause of guests handpicked due to the pandemic. Posing as “president of all Americans”, Joe Biden warned that the United States would enter “the hardest and deadliest phase” of Covid-19 which has already killed more than 400,000 in the country. “There is no time to waste”, he launched in his first presidential tweet with a sharp tone with that of his predecessor, suspended at the end of the network’s mandate from the blue bird. A few minutes later, Pope Francis called on the new tenant of the White House to work for reconciliation and peace, in the United States “and among the nations of the world”.

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“Welcome back” to the Paris climate agreement, launched French President Emmanuel Macron for his part, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her “haste” to open “a new chapter”.

The day will remain in the history books also because of the accession, for the first time, of a woman to the vice-presidency of the first world power. Former black and Indian senator Kamala Harris, 56, was sworn in just before Joe Biden. Unprecedented for 150 years, the outgoing president has therefore shunned the inauguration ceremony of his successor. Donald Trump who, during the four years of his mandate, trampled on all uses and, for more than two months, refused to accept his defeat, left the White House without having met Joe Biden, to whom he left only ‘a letter whose content has not been disclosed.

Gathering and reconciliation

At the end of a mandate marked by an avalanche of scandals and two “impeachments”, he has, just before leaving, pardoned 73 people, including his ex-advisor Steve Bannon. Donald Trump only wished the new administration “good luck” without ever mentioning Joe Biden’s name. And promised to return “one way or another”, before arriving in Florida to start in his club Mar-a-Lago, at 74, his life as a former president. Its vice-president Mike Pence was at the forefront of the inauguration ceremony.

Emu, Joe Biden, dark suit and sky blue tie, masked on his arrival like all the guests, gave the hug to Barack Obama, of which he was the vice-president. Pop star Lady Gaga sang the national anthem, wearing a puffy red and black dress and sporting a large gold brooch depicting the Dove of Peace. Then Jennifer Lopez sang “This land is your land” (“This land is your land”). The Democrat takes the presidency after half a century of presence in politics, with the intention of immediately marking the break – in both substance and form – with the former New York businessman. After the ceremony, he went to worship at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Military Cemetery with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Another symbolic image of “reconciliation” and the “gathering” that he intends to embody, he had attended a mass in the morning at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington accompanied by Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress.

No crowds but flags

The day is surrounded by exceptional security measures in an unrecognizable federal capital, with some 25,000 National Guard soldiers and thousands of police deployed. On the immense esplanade of the “National Mall”, more than 190,000 flags have been planted to represent the absent public. The area was protected by high gates sometimes topped with barbed wire.

Among the first international tests for the new president are the standoff with China and the resumption of dialogue with Iran. At the time of taking the oath, Beijing announced sanctions against some thirty officials of the former Trump administration, including its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for violating its “sovereignty”. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani welcomed the “end” of the era of “tyrant” Donald Trump.

 

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