President Joe Biden begins his first full day in office by pledging to unify the country and heal divisions after four turbulent years.
The new American leader, the country’s 46th president, is a seasoned political operator, but the challenges he faces are legion.
Taming the pandemic, dealing with the economic carnage it has wrought, and appeasing a raging political crisis will be the center of his immediate attention.
Any of these isolated problems would require enormous amounts of Herculean energy and resolution – he inherited all three at once.
The truth is, America is at a crossroads and President Biden must somehow get on the right track and lead a disunited and fearful country, shaken by insurgency and uncomfortable with it. – even, towards safer political ground.
It won’t be easy.
Many still believe in the conspiracy theories peddled by Donald Trump and others that the election was stolen.
And in his inaugural address, President Biden had no illusions about the challenges he now faces.
“Few people in the history of our country have been more challenged or have found a more difficult or difficult time than the one we are in now.
“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure America’s future, takes more than words and demands the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.”
The team he brings together will represent a modern and diverse America.
Its vice-president has already made history; Kamala Harris becomes the first woman and the first black person and person of South Asian descent to assume the role.
Last night, the celebrities also returned to the fold with a star-studded TV extravaganza hosted by actor Tom Hanks. Welcoming Biden’s presidency, he said “America’s dream has no limit.”
They were performances from different locations across the country including musical performances by the Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake.
Throughout Trump’s presidency, many of Hollywood’s biggest stars have been more than clear in expressing their negative feelings towards him.
The new president spoke at the event saying, “This is a great nation. We are a good people. And to overcome the challenges that lie ahead, it takes the most elusive of all things in a democracy. , the unit.
“It forces us to come together in a common love that defines us as Americans, opportunity, freedom, dignity and respect, and to unite against common enemies, hatred, violence, disease and despair.”
But even during the celebrations, government business was going well.
The Biden administration has already reversed some of its predecessor’s more controversial policies.
A flurry of 17 executive decrees to address four main issues; the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, immigration and racial inequality.
For many Western leaders, seeing the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the WHO will be a welcome relief.
But perhaps the most pressing issue will be navigating a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.
His plan will mark a stark contrast to Donald Trump, who downplayed the severity of the virus and largely left it to state governments to deal with the deadly fallout.
President Biden has promised to throw the full weight of the federal government into the fight; he’s pushing Congress to approve a $ 1.9 trillion (£ 1.39 billion) COVID plan to provide economic relief and speed up vaccine deployment.
The stages of the new administration have also been carefully choreographed to show the country that convention and normality are returning.
There will be no more “alternative facts”, no rejection of science; the modus operandi will be to restore public confidence.
Just hours after the swearing-in ceremony, Biden’s press secretary, Jennifer Psaki, held the first briefing for White House reporters where she pledged to bring “truth and transparency to the table. the briefing room “.
From his first steps as a leader, it’s clear that President Biden is tackling what he believes is the toxic legacy left by Donald Trump.
But the months ahead are fraught with political peril and danger, especially if he fails to find bipartisan support for his agenda.
And if he fails in this task, his presidency may be lost before it even begins.