Biden reverses travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, rejoins WHO, Paris treaty

Taking helm of divided nation, US President Biden calls for end to ‘uncivil war’

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WASHINGTON/CHICAGO: Joe Biden pledged on Wednesday to reunite his divided country and restore America’s role as a beacon of hope to the world.In his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 46th US president, Biden vowed to confront the challenges of a battered economy and a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.

With the US Capitol encircled by thousands of armed troops two weeks after a mob laid siege to it, Biden took the oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts and became the oldest US president in history at age 78.

“To overcome these challenges to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy — unity,” he said in his inauguration speech.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this, if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

Biden spoke on the steps of the Capitol, where two weeks ago protesters tried to overturn the presidential election result in an attack that left five people dead and shocked the world.

The violence prompted the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives to impeach Trump last week for an unprecedented second time, accusing him of incitement after he exhorted his backers to march on the building amid false claims of election fraud.

“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work on our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground,” Biden said. “It did not happen, it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

Among Biden’s first acts as president, he signed a flurry of executive orders reversing the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, re-engaging with the World Health Organization, extending COVID-19 protections to the poor prohibiting home evictions, rejoining the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, recognizing rights for undocumented immigrants, and stopping the construction of the wall along the Mexican border.

Biden also delivered legislation to remove restrictions allowing immigrations an “earned roadmap” for citizenship and to support asylum seekers from all countries.

 

Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president after she was sworn in by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member

The norm-defying Trump flouted one last convention on his way out of the White House when he refused to meet with Biden or attend his successor’s inauguration, breaking with a political tradition seen as affirming the peaceful transfer of power.

Trump, who never conceded the Nov. 3 election, did not mention Biden by name in his final remarks as president on Wednesday morning, when he touted his administration’s record and promised to be back “in some form.” He then boarded Air Force One for the last time and flew to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.

 

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