AUSTIN (KXAN) — President Joe Biden was inaugurated Wednesday in Washington, D.C. without a hitch. That’s despite worries of potential violence after deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol exactly two weeks ago.
University of Texas Department of History Professor Jeremi Suri joined KXAN at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the historical significance of the day. He said lawmakers, including Republicans, came together to commemorate Biden.
“It was a wonderful, wonderful ceremony to watch. You could see some of the unity that is still possible in our country,” Suri said.
Suri said Biden gave a very back to basics speech, which emphasized honesty, democracy and civics.
“He called on Americans to look deep, it was a very spiritual speech, quoting St. Augustine, asking for us to take a moment of silence for all those families that have suffered from COVID,” Suri recalled.
Biden also addressed white supremacy in his speech — possibly being the first time the topic was mentioned in an inaugural address.
“A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now, a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront, and we will defeat,” Biden said. “To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words.”
Suri said Biden is the first president to call out white supremacy and to associate the ideal with violence and terrorism.
“We will remember his speech for that, we have had white supremacists as president, but we have never had anyone call it out and identify it as un-American and as the single greatest threat to our country,” Suri said.
Additionally, Suri said Biden looks to be following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt, who also inherited a country that was in economic crises. He said finding a solution to the pandemic will help Biden unite the country.
Suri added: “He’s going to wage war on this pandemic by getting vaccines out and trying to bring us together, Democrat and Republican, Texan and Massachusetts citizen, to see that we all have to cooperate in ways we haven’t before… this is what Roosevelt did.”