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Joe Biden, faced with the challenge of healing America’s wounds

Reversing Trump’s most controversial legacy and working for unity, urgent goals of the new president

Joe Biden will take charge of a different country this Wednesday than the one he left in 2017, when he stepped down as vice president. Hurricane Donald Trump has almost swept everything away, to the point of shaking the foundations of democracy on January 6 with an unprecedented assault on the Capitol in the process of certifying the results of the November elections.

Biden has made no secret that one of his great challenges will be to unite a country more polarized than ever, for which he presents himself as a figure of consensus that does not provoke special criticism in Republican ranks that seem increasingly fed up with excesses. of a Trump who, after spoiling him for years, no one controls in Washington anymore.

Following the New York mogul’s experiment in American political history, Americans again overwhelmingly voted for an establishment candidate. More than 81 million people – an unprecedented number – backed Biden, who was running with the backing of more than three decades as a senator and eight years alongside the still popular Barack Obama.

He projects an image of stability that, politically, does not break the mold, to the point that the more progressive side of the Democratic Party has on several occasions spoiled his lack of commitment to left-wing politics. He also did not convince his companions at first to go back to the older, white man formula that they seemed to have left behind with Obama and Hillary Clinton.

His main strengths at the discursive level have been the messages in favor of reversing the damage that Trump may have caused, from a greater ambition on climate change to a review of immigration policy, through a greater presence of women in his cabinet – -progress towards a government close to parity.

On the same day of his inauguration, he plans to enact a series of measures with which to mark distances with his predecessor, from the incorporation of the United States into the Paris Agreements against climate change to the termination of the migratory veto to citizens of majority countries Muslim. He will also sign the extension for the repayment of loans to university students, the extension of the moratorium against evictions, and the mandatory use of masks in federal facilities and interstate travel, among other measures, according to Axios.

Biden’s presidency comes later than he would have liked and he will be the oldest commander-in-chief in history, at 78 years old. The entries of him running to stages where he was going to give speeches have been especially commented, due to the evident message that was behind for those who continue to fear that he is too old.

He arrives already immunized against COVID-19, after he has already received the two doses that theoretically guarantee him not to fall seriously ill in case of contracting the coronavirus. “My number one priority is to get the vaccine into the arms of the people, as I just did today, as quickly as we can,” he declared on January 11 after receiving the second dose.

He is the second Catholic to reach the White House – the previous was John F. Kennedy in 1960 – and the fifteenth vice president to achieve the promotion – the last was George H. W. Bush in 1989. On this occasion, next to him he will have for the first time a woman, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants and a ‘de facto’ candidate to lead the country if age does not allow Biden to run for a second term.

Biden’s political seniority has worked for him, but also against him, during this long run for the White House. Accusations of sexual abuse, the Violent Crimes Control Act that he promoted in 1994 or the doubts stirred by Trump about the activities of his son Hunter abroad are just some of the episodes that have clouded his resume.

However, for Biden, everything changed on November 3 with his overwhelming victory over Trump, which he has never acknowledged and has even attributed to “fraud.” No court has given fuel to the conspiracy theories of the outgoing president, who on January 6 crossed all the red lines and is already facing his second impeachment trial in Congress.

That day, a Trump grown by the thousands of people who had mobilized in Washington to question the certification of Biden’s victory encouraged his followers to march to the Capitol. Hours later, hundreds of supporters stormed the headquarters of the main US legislature, in an attack that left five dead.

Biden put on the president’s stripes ahead of time and came out publicly to speak openly of “insurrection” and implore Trump that he, too, should speak out to condemn what happened. The president spoke shortly after, but only to exhort his followers to go to his houses and remind them how much he loved them.

The condemnation of the violence did not come until the next day, after the resignations occurred in the Administration and with the increasingly heated debate on the possible invocation of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution by the Vice President, Mike Pence . His speech, in any case, has nothing to do with Biden’s, which speaks of “an unprecedented assault on democracy.”

Some 20,000 members of the National Guard will ensure the security of Biden’s inauguration, which will be held practically armored for fear that incidents such as the Capitol could be repeated. The COVID-19 pandemic, to which Biden has also been more blunt than Trump, will force a celebration without an audience and with a reduced list of attendees.

Among them will not be Trump himself, absent although by his own decision. The unprecedented rudeness in recent history is the last gasp of a president who now leaves to his successor the challenge of convincing the entire citizenry that he is the president of all, also of the 74 million people who made the republican option. in November.

Biden seems to at least have the benefit of the doubt, which is otherwise common when it comes to newly elected positions. Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of his behavior since the election, compared with 29 percent who support Trump, who will leave the White House with unprecedented levels of unpopularity, according to a poll published last week by the Pew Research Center. .

For Biden, everything will start this Wednesday with a phrase, which he will recite before the Chief Justice, John Roberts: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully exercise the office of President of the United States and that I will do everything possible to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. ” He will pronounce it without an audience for the pandemic, but with all eyes on him.

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