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Joe Biden Becomes 46th President of the United States
Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States following a contentious election and uneasy transition of power from the former holder of the position, Donald Trump.
In front of a small in-person crowd caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and broadcast to the world, Biden’s inauguration ceremony was held on January 20, 2021 in Washington D.C. In a speech, the new president called on the nation to come together in unity following a difficult year.
“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together, uniting our people, and uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause,” he said to the nation.
His plea for unity came days after a mob of Trump supporters, who falsely believed the most recent election had been stolen from the incumbent president, stormed the U.S. Capitol building, driving politicians into hiding while they caused damage throughout the building and attacked police officers among other bystanders. Five people died during the assault.
This unprecedented attack on the home of U.S. democracy came after a hotly contested election that Biden legally won. Trump, however, repeatedly claimed that the election was being stolen from him, despite no real evidence to back up this claim. Supporters of the 45th President, however, followed the president, attempting to take matters into their own hands.
Despite the incident, Biden won both the popular vote and electoral college, with a majority of Americans deciding they wanted new leadership at the helm of a country facing deep divisions between people and currently experiencing the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, hopelessness. With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome this deadly virus. We can reward work, rebuild the middle class, and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice. We can make America once again, the leading force for good in the world.”
Trump did not attend the ceremony, in a historic break. Biden did not mention his absence — let alone his name — in the speech.
World leaders around the globe shared congratulatory messages and tweets about Biden becoming president of the United States. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga joined the chorus, offering warm wishes and hoping for cooperation moving forward. He, like many other leaders, also congratulated new Vice President Kamala Harris, who became the first woman to ever hold the position in U.S. history.
In his first few days in office, Biden overturned many of Trump’s most controversial orders, including moves related to climate change and immigration.
Key Words and Expressions
- transition of power — transfer of sovereign power to a newly elected or selected leadership
- inauguration ceremony — an event in which someone is officially given an important position
- call on ~ to do — to ask someone to do something
- in unity — the state of people being together or in agreement
- plea — an urgent and emotional request or an appeal
- legally — according to the law
- back up one’s claim — to support or prove someone’s opinion
- racial justice — equal and fair treatment for all races
- overturn — to invalidate or reverse an official decision
- controversial — a word used to describe someone or something that cause discussion or disagreement
Reading Comprehension Test
- What did President Biden call for during his speech?
a. He called for people to stay home due to COVID-19.
b. He called for people to seek unity.
c. He called for the government to check the results of the election.
d. He called on the need to arrest Donald Trump.
- Why did a mob of people storm the U.S. Capitol?
a. They wanted Biden to become president as soon as possible.
b. They falsely believed Donald Trump won the election.
c. They correctly believed Donald Trump won the election.
d. They wanted to steal some documents.
- Which of the following did Biden not mention in his speech?
b. School safety.
c. The economy.
d. Donald Trump.
- Why was the crowd small for Biden’s ceremony?
- What did Biden do in his first few days in office?