Thursday December 02, 2021

European public optimistic on Joe Biden, concerned on American democracy: Biden to be sworn in as 46th US President today

By Agencies
January 20, 2021

WASHINGTON: With a promise to ‘heal’ America, which in recent months witnessed a chaotic election and messy transition of power, Joseph R Biden will take the oath to become the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday (today).

Biden, who is known around the world for his stint as the vice president during the Obama administration, will be the oldest person ever sworn in as president of the country. He turned 78 in November.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at the West Front of the US capitol during the 59’th Presidential Inauguration ceremony.Biden’s inauguration is taking place under the shadow of the unprecedented health crisis and protests in the US.

The security in the capital has been beefed up amid a high level of security concerns following the January 6 Capitol riots.In his victory speech in his hometown, Wilmington, Delaware in November, Biden pledged to unite the country as he called it ‘a time to heal in America’.“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify; who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States,” Biden said

Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1942 and moved to Delaware as a child.At age 29, Biden became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. Weeks later, tragedy struck the Biden family when his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi were killed and sons Hunter and Beau critically injured in an auto accident

Biden was sworn into the US Senate at his sons’ hospital bedside and began commuting from Wilmington to Washington every day. For five years, he raised Beau and Hunter as a single father, with the help of his sister Valerie and his family.

Biden married again five years after Neilia’s death, to his current wife Jill. The couple married on June 17, 1977, at the United Nations Chapel in New York City and has one daughter together, Ashley Blazer, who was born in 1981.

The 2020 race marked Biden’s third attempt at running for President. He first tried in 1988 but dropped out after allegations of plagiarism. He ended his second attempt in 2008 after garnering less than one per cent in the crucial Iowa caucuses.

Biden served as vice president in the former president Barack Obama administration for two terms from 2008 to 2016. Biden and Obama developed a close friendship from what had initially been a more strategic pairing, with Biden credited for using his working-class roots, folksy flourishes and experience to help shore up support for the country’s first Black president from older white Americans in key northern swing states, said Al Jazeera.

On December 20, it is anticipated there will be roughly 1,000 guests in attendance, the majority of whom will be members of Congress and their guests. US President Donald Trump has said he will not be joining Biden at the inauguration.

It’s customary for an outgoing president and other former presidents to sit behind a new president, symbolising the peaceful transfer of power. Biden called Trump’s decision not to attend “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on.”As Joe Biden will take the helm of America, challenges await him that require immediate attention including coronavirus and racial tensions.

The nation is struggling under the human and economic toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 380,000 Americans. Racial tensions, exacerbated by the departing president to whom they were weapons in his arsenal of disunion, remain to be addressed and healed.

Meanwhile, the European public is strongly supportive of US President-elect Joe Biden but is increasingly concerned about democracy in the United States following Donald Trump’s tumultuous tenure, a survey said Tuesday.

On the eve of Biden’s inauguration, the Pew Research Centre said 79 percent in Germany, 72 percent in France and 65 percent in Britain were confident that Biden would make the right decisions in world affairs.

It was a dramatic turnaround from Trump, who enjoyed the confidence of a mere 10 percent of Germans, 11 percent of French and 19 percent of Brits when the same question was asked in mid-2020.

But the survey also found widespread concerns about the overall health of US democracy after Trump contested his defeat with false allegations of voter fraud, culminating in a January 6 mob attack on the US Capitol and ultra-tight security for Biden’s inauguration.

Some 73 percent of Germans, 64 percent of French and 62 percent of the British think the US political system needs major changes or complete reform, said the survey, which polled 3,066 adults from November 12 to December 23 -- before the Capitol attack.

Richard Wike, the director of global attitudes research at Pew, said the findings showed that the US image can bounce back -- much as Barack Obama enjoyed glowing approval in Europe after widespread criticism of his predecessor George W. Bush.

"There’s something of a reservoir of goodwill, I think, in these countries toward America that remains there even during times when people aren’t very happy with the US or the president’s foreign policies," he told reporters.

Biden’s ratings were slightly lower in Britain than in Germany and France, which survey analysts said may be attributable to his open criticism of the country’s exit from the European Union and firm stance on Northern Ireland.