Joe Biden (L) is sworn in as U.S. President during his inauguration at the Capitol on January 20 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON: Joe Biden has become the 46th President of the United States of America.
He has been sworn in as the US President at the US Capitol in Washington on Wednesday.
Biden, at 78, becomes America’s oldest leader ever after serving 36 years as a U.S. senator and eight as Vice President.
With this, he will take command of a deeply divided nation besides inheriting a multitude of crises.
The inaugural ceremony was taken in the Capitol surrounded by security forces reminiscent of those in a war zone; and devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope,” he said adding, “Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested and it has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate a triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy.”
Vice President Kamala Harris has taken her oath too – becoming the first woman to hold that position.
She has made history as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US Vice-President.
Who is Joe Biden?
Joe Biden was elected the US Vice President with President Barack Obama in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.
Biden briefly worked as an attorney before turning to politics. He also became the fifth-youngest US senator in history and Delaware’s longest-serving senator.
In 2017, Obama presented Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Born on November 20, 1942, Biden grew up in Scranton in northeast Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph Biden Sr., worked cleaning furnaces and as a used car salesman.
Biden attended St. Paul’s Elementary School in Scranton. In 1955, the family moved to Mayfield, Delaware when he was 13 years old.
Biden attended St. Helena School until he gained acceptance into the Archmere Academy. Biden graduated from there in 1961.
College, Marriage and Law School
Biden attended the University of Delaware, where he studied political science and history. Later, he developed an interest in politics, spurred in part by the inspiring inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.
On a spring break trip to the Bahamas, Biden met Neilia Hunter and, in his own words, “fell in love at first sight.”
He later applied himself to his studies and was accepted into the Syracuse University Law School upon his graduation from Delaware in 1965.
He and Hunter married in 1966.
Early Political Career
After graduating from law school in 1968, he moved to Wilmington, Delaware, and began practicing at a law firm. He then became an active member of the Democratic Party. He was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. In 1971, Biden started his own law firm.
Biden had three children: Joseph Biden III, Hunter Biden and Naomi Biden.
In 1972, the Delaware Democratic Party encouraged Biden, then 29, to run against the popular Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs for the United States Senate.
He ran a campaign organized by family members. That November Biden won an upset victory to become the fifth-youngest U.S. senator elected in the US history.
Biden was struck by a devastating tragedy. A week before Christmas in 1972, Biden’s wife and three children were involved in a car accident while out shopping for a Christmas tree.
The accident killed his wife and daughter and injured both of his sons, Beau and Hunter.
Biden even considered suicide. Biden, meanwhile, later decided to honor his commitment to representing the people of Delaware in the Senate.
From 1973 to 2009, he served a Senate career. During his time in the Senate, Biden won respect as one of the body’s leading foreign policy experts. He also served as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations for some years.
His foreign policy positions were advocating for strategic arms limitation with the Soviet Union, expanding NATO to include former Soviet-bloc nations, promoting peace and stability in the Balkans, and opposing the First Gulf War.
In 1987, Biden decided to run for the US Presidency. He dropped out of the Democratic primary after reports surfaced that he had plagiarized part of a speech.
US Vice President
In 2007, Biden decided to run for the US Presidency. His campaign failed to generate momentum in a field dominated by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Several months later, Obama selected Biden as his running mate. Biden helped the Obama campaign communicate its message of economic recovery to the blue-collar voters crucial to swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
On November 2, 2008, Barack Obama and Biden defeated the Republican ticket of Arizona Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
On January 20, 2009, Obama was sworn in as the 44th U.S. president and Biden as the 47th Vice President.
Biden took active roles in formulating federal policies relating to Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2010, Biden used his Senate connections to help secure passage of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and the Russian Federation.
Re-Election and Second Term
Running for re-election in 2012, the Obama-Biden team faced Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, US Representative Paul Ryan.
Obama defeated Romney in the 2012 election, and Biden another term as vice president.
Biden was instrumental in achieving a bipartisan agreement on tax increases. He also hammered out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel.
Personal Life and Post-White House
Biden has been married to Jill Biden, his second wife since 1977. Their daughter, Ashley, was born in 1981.
On May 30, 2015, Biden suffered a loss when his son Beau died at the age of 46, after battling brain cancer.
On January 12, 2017, President Obama presented Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
Obama called Biden “the best vice president America’s ever had” and a “lion of American history.”
2020 Presidential Campaign
On April 25, 2019, Biden said he was running for President in 2020.
On August 11, 2020, he announced Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate.
In August, Biden officially became the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.
Who is Kamal Harris
Born in Oakland, California on October 10, 1964, Kamala Harris received her received her law degree University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was a Tamil breast cancer scientist. She had emigrated from India in 1960 to pursue her doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Kamala’s father, Donald Harris, emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 to study at UC Berkeley. He was a professor at Stanford University.
In 1998, she was hired as an assistant district attorney in San Francisco.
After two years, she joined San Francisco city government of the city attorney.
In 2003, Harris was elected district attorney against Terence Hallinan, and also served as San Francisco district attorney until 2010, when she won the race to become the state attorney general.
Kamala’s career as a prosecutor may be a boon for Joe Biden, observers say.
She was elected to the Senate in 2016 after the seat was vacated by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, Kamala raised her profile by grilling Trump administration nominees such as Brett Kavanaugh. She has also worked with Republican senators on legislation.
(With inputs from Agencies)