Joe Biden's "First Act" As President Was a National Moment of Silence for COVID-19 Deaths

The president called for the nation to mourn the losses from the pandemic.

President Biden commemorated his swearing-in on Wednesday, Jan. 20 with a momentous speech.

The president promoted a theme of unity throughout the speech by condemning the deadly attack on the Capitol in early January, and highlighting how toxic politics have become. "Politics doesn't have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war & we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured," he said.

He also said that as his "first act as president" he wanted people to join him in a moment of silence for the 400,000 victims of coronavirus.

Biden then pointed to the history that was being made at the moment, "Here we stand, looking out on the great Mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream," he said. "Here we stand, where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don't tell me things can't change."

Though the coronavirus pandemic limited the typical scope of the inauguration, many notable politicians were in attendance, including former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Vice President Mike Pence and former second lady Karen Pence.

The rest of the day will be marked by inaugural festivities, including the Celebrating America program, set to air this evening.

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