BIDEN’S DAY … Joe Biden to take over as US President at Capitol event tonight; Kamala as VP


NEWS BIDEN HARRIS INAUGURAL

WASHINGTON: Democrat Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris take over as President and Vice President of the United States at a glittering event at Capitol Hill here at 1700GMT (IST1030 tonight), in the shadow of a stiff resistance from outgoing President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the controversial Election to the exalted offices. Joe Biden, 78, would be the 46th President of the USA.

The 56-year-old Kamala Harris, with bright chances of becoming a future president, has a mixed parentage; his father an African and mother Indian from a Brahmin family that lived in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai; her father a top bureaucrat in Delhi; where she did her education.

In his final comment, the outgoing president said: ”This week we inaugurate a new administration and I pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous…We extend our best wishes but we also want them to have luck – a very important word.” Notably, Trump did not acknowledge his successor by name.

“I WAGED NO WAR”: TRUMP

In specific, the 74-year-old President stated that he was “especially proud to be the first President in decades who has started no new war.” Added he: “I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart, an optimistic spirit, and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come.”

Joe Biden had won the November 3 presidential poll with 306 electoral college votes against Trump’s 232, but Trump is not ready to acknowledge his rival’s victory and suspects fraud was played out. He would neither meet Joe Biden before the installation ceremony nor would he attend the event. He would instead fly to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The Trump presidency was as controversial as it was rough and tough in many respects. The worst of which being the alleged lack of seriousness he displayed in handling the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed an astounding over four lakh people in the US and put the nation on top of the world Covid-hit map.

Trump had famously campaigned on a pledge to “Make America Great Again”, invoking nationalist sentiments, promising more support for native Whites, and speaking of more scrutiny for immigrants. With Covid-19 having had a free run in the initial weeks, the American economy took a heavy hit. Worse, the violence by his supporters in protest against the denial of victory to Trump on January 6 left five people dead, including a Capitol cop. Asserted Trump as he leaves office, “The greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness….

Stated Trump: “To serve as the President has been an honour beyond description. Thank you for this extraordinary privilege. And that’s what it is — a great privilege and a great honour…We did much more than what we came here to do.”

 “Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated. Now, more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancour, and forge our common destiny,” Trump said in his last message to the nation.

Listing out some of the key accomplishments of the US government from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021, Trump said his administration achieved more than anyone thought possible. “Nobody thought we could even come close, he said as he referred to the largest package of tax cuts, slapping tariffs on China, achieving energy independence and development of a Covid-19 vaccine in a record short span of time. We restored American strength at home and American leadership abroad. The world respects us again. Please don’t lose that respect,” Trump said.

Trump said his administration revitalized US alliances and rallied the nations of the world to stand up to China like never before.

“As a result of our bold diplomacy and principled realism”, he said, the US achieved a series of historic peace deals in the Middle East. “Nobody believed it could happen. The Abraham Accords opened the doors to a future of peace and harmony, not violence and bloodshed. It is the dawn of a new Middle East, and we are bringing our soldiers home,” he said.

Trump said as he leaves the White House after four years, he has been reflecting on the dangers that threaten the priceless inheritance all Americans share. “As the world’s most powerful nation, America faces constant threats and challenges from abroad. But the greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness.”

“A nation is only as strong as its spirit. We are only as dynamic as our pride. We are only as vibrant as the faith that beats in the hearts of our people,” he said. Trump said the key to national greatness lies in sustaining and instilling the shared national identity. That means focusing on what Americans have in common — the heritage they all share.”

“At the centre of this heritage is also a robust belief in free expression, free speech, and open debate. Only if we forget who we are, and how we got here, could we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America. It’s not even thinkable. Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions,” he said.

Trump, in the aftermath of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, has been banned by the majority of the social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. He has described this as an assault on free speech.

“In America, we don’t insist on absolute conformity or enforce rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes. We just don’t do that. America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree. That’s not who we are. It will never be who we are,” he said.

WILL REMAIN ACTIVE: The outgoing President has hinted that he will continue to have an active public life. “Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning. There’s never been anything like it. The belief that a nation must serve its citizens will not dwindle but instead only grow stronger by the day,” Trump said.

IMPEACHMENT: The House of Representatives impeached Trump on a charge of incitement to violence, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He will face the charges after leaving office. –Agencies, IHN-NN

INDIA HERE AND NOW 

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