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Inauguration Day 2021: Obama, Bush and Clinton give message to Biden as Oval Office gets a revamp

Joe Middleton,Joe Sommerlad and Danielle Zoellner
·2-min read
President-elect Joe Biden is joined his wife Jill Biden as they celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies Wednesday on 20 January 2021, in Washington ((Associated Press))
President-elect Joe Biden is joined his wife Jill Biden as they celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies Wednesday on 20 January 2021, in Washington ((Associated Press))

Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton spoke in a taped message during the Celebrating America concert.

“Joe, I'm proud of you,” said Mr Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama.

Mr Biden called for American unity as he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial during a celebration concert.

“It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words. Humbling out of respect to President Lincoln and the office we now share and humbling because of you, the American people," he said at the Celebrating America event.

“As I said earlier today, we have learned again that democracy is precious and because of you democracy has prevailed."

His speech came after the Senate confirmed his first cabinet nomination of Avril Haines for director of national intelligence.

Earlier he got to work at the Oval Office of the White House by signing several executive orders after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

The first order he signed was a federal mask mandate, which would require the face shield on federal property and during interstate travel. His other two executive orders involved revoking Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.

Vice President Kamala Harris also got straight to work on Wednesday after she was sworn in. She went to the Senate for the swearing in of three Democratic senators.

This all comes after a day filled with inauguration-related events, including Mr Biden and Ms Harris traveling to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama were all in attendance for the events.

Mr Trump, in comparison, broke precedent and left the White House for Mar-a-Lago in Florida without attending the inauguration. The one tradition Mr Trump did participate in was writing a letter to his successor, which was left in a drawer of the Resolute Desk. Mr Biden did not reveal the contents of the letter, but he did say it was "very generous”.