Summary List Placement
Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama recorded a joint video message that celebrated unity and the continuation of democracy to mark President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the US on Wednesday, and he used his inaugural address to urge unity across the US, condemning white supremacy and domestic terrorism without once naming his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
In a recorded message as part of the event, which was set up differently to previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the three former presidents wished Biden well and praised the democratic process that got him there.
Watch the video here:
— CNN (@CNN) January 21, 2021
Bush, a Republican, said: “I think the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country.”
“America’s a generous country, people of great hearts,” he added. “All three of us were lucky to be the president of this country.”
And Obama, a Democrat who served as president while Biden was vice president, said: “Inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old.”
Trump did not attend the inauguration, making him the first president since 1869 to skip the ceremony for his successor. Clinton, Bush, and Obama all attended Biden’s inauguration.
Obama said that the country has to “not just listen to folks we agree with, but listen to folks we don’t.”
Obama noted that Bush and former first lady Laura Bush had welcomed him and former first lady Michelle Obama to the White House at the start of his presidency, calling it a “reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognize each other’s common humanity, and that as Americans we have more in common than what separates us.”
Trump broke with tradition by not welcoming Biden and first lady Jill Biden to the White House.
Clinton, also a Democrat, said: “We are both trying to come back to normalcy, deal with totally abnormal challenges, and do what we do best, which is try to make a more perfect union.”
“It’s an exciting time.”
Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 96 and a Democrat, did not attend the inauguration, but Biden said that he spoke to him the evening before the inauguration.
Trump spent the weeks after the election claiming, without any evidence, that there had been widespread voter fraud and that he was the true victor.
He acknowledged that there would be a new administration after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 when lawmakers were voting to confirm Biden’s win. The riot resulted in five deaths.
And in a farewell speech on the morning of Biden’s inauguration, he wished the new administration “great luck and great success” but did not mention Biden by name.