WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in Wednesday as the president and vice president of the United States, with the new commander-in-chief calling for an end to America’s “uncivil war” in a historically subdued ceremony.
Biden, the 46th president in the nation’s history, was sworn in just before noon by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on an heirloom family Bible dating back more than a century, shortly after Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
In a brief inaugural address, Biden called on Americans to give more weight to the ties that bind them together than the differences that would pull them apart.
“The answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you or worship the way you do, or don’t get their news from the same sources you do,” he said.
“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservatice versus liberal. We can do this, if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”
It was the voice of the American people, Biden said, that brought him to the balcony of the US Capitol on a chilly January day.
“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 and democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden said in his inaugural address.
“This is America’s day, this is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope and renewal and resolve,” Biden said. “Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard.
“Democracy has prevailed.”
Biden was sworn in 11 minutes early, at 11:49 a.m., and, in brief remarks relative to prior inaugural addresses, spoke for only about 21 minutes.