Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States

Joe Biden takes the oath of office Jan. 20, 2021. [Screenshot from live video]

Joe Biden swore the oath of office just before noon today to become the 46th president of the United States, taking the helm of a deeply divided nation in what may be the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden is pledging a new path for the nation after President Donald Trump’s four years in office, with sweeping plans on health care, education and immigration.

President Trump departed the White House earlier Wednesday morning and did not attend the inauguration ceremonies.

Biden will take a historic number of actions to deliver immediate relief for families across America that are struggling in the face of converging crises, his transition team said in a news release.

He will sign a combination of executive orders, memoranda, directives, and letters to take initial steps to address these crises, including by changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief, tackling climate change, and advancing racial equity.

Before Biden was sworn in, Kamala Harris took the oath of office as the first female vice president in U.S. history. She also is the first African-American and first Asian-American to hold that position.

After the inaugural ceremony, President Biden was scheduled to visit Arlington National Cemetery.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com