The inauguration of Joe Biden

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, January 21, 2021
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12:14 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

These are the vice presidents who have become presidents 

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Liz Stark and Adam Levy

Joe Biden just became became the 46th President of the United States. He is the 15th vice president who later became president. 

He is only the second, along with Richard Nixon, to have a gap between serving as vice president and being elected president.

Here's a breakdown of how vice presidents first became president:

  • 8 vice presidents were first elevated because the sitting president died. 
  • 6 vice presidents were first elected to the presidency.  
  • 1 vice president was elevated because the sitting president resigned.  
  • Gerald R. Ford is the only person to serve as both president and vice president who was never elected to either office. 
1:03 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

"Don't tell me things can't change," Biden says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In his inaugural speech as the President of United States of America, Joe Biden called for a fresh start as the country experiences "historic moment of crisis and challenge."

"For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward," he said. "Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another."

He discouraged against the culture of "total war" in policy-making and the manipulation of facts.

"My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this," he said. .

Evoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous speech, "I have a dream" and the women protesting for a right to vote, Biden sounded an optimistic note about change.

"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."

1:02 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden holds moment of silence for Americans who have died of Covid-19

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

During his inaugural address, President Joe Biden asked Americans to hold their own moment of silence for the more than 400,000 people who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.

"In my first act as President, I'd like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all of those who we lost this past year to the pandemic," Biden said.

"Those 400,000 fellow Americans — moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and coworkers. We'll honor them and become the people and nation we know we can and should be," Biden continued.

12:54 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Kamala Harris sends first tweet as VP

Vice President Kamala Harris sent her first tweet from the @VP account moments ago, writing, "Ready to serve."

Twitter has also transferred @POTUS to President Joe Biden.

1:03 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden pledges to be a President "for all Americans"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Joe Biden pledged to be a "president for all Americans," including those who did not support his campaign at his inauguration address.

"I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did," Biden said.

Biden continued: "For all those who supported our campaign, I'm humbled by the faith you placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That's democracy. That's America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation's greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly. Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you. I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans. And I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did."

1:03 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Unity wins out over division throughout US history, Biden says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

In his inauguration speech, President Joe Biden recognized divisive times in US history but assured that unity has always won out.

"I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart," Biden said. 

He said that through tough times in US history — the Civil War, the Great Depression, both world wars and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — "our better angels have always prevailed."

Biden said that in every instance, Americans have been able to come together for the greater good.

"History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity," Biden said.

1:04 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

President Biden: "My whole soul is in this"

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden, after taking the oath of office, talked about the importance of unifying the country, saying "my whole soul is in this."

"Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation," he said.

The President called on Americans to come together to overcome the extraordinary challenges that face the nation – an idea that he often mentioned on the campaign trail

"To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity," Biden said.

"Uniting to fight the foes we face. Anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity we can do great things, important things," he added.

1:04 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden warns of "winter of peril" as he enters office

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden offered a forewarning during his inaugural address Wednesday, describing the nation as weathering a "winter of peril" amid a generational pandemic and other ailments.

"We’ll press forward with speed and urgency," he said. "We have much to do in this winter of peril and significant opportunities."

Biden said the predicaments currently facing the nation were historic, and said few Americans "have found a time more challenging than the time we are in now."

He said coronavirus "silently stalks the country" and noted more lives have been lost to the disease than were lost in World War I.

12:08 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden thanks predecessors from both parties: "I thank them from the bottom of my heart"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden thanked his predecessors from "both parties" in his inauguration remarks to the nation, including those who couldn't be present.

"I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart... And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime in service," Biden said.

He acknowledged the power that comes with taking the "sacred oath" that was taken by former presidents.

"I have just taken a sacred oath each of those patriots taken. The oath first sworn by Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On we, the people, who seek a more perfect union. This is a great nation. We are good people," Biden said.