Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Make History On Inauguration Day 2021
Joe Biden's first day as president was full of traditional ceremonies and events in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Joe Biden's presidential inauguration proved more popular with viewers than Donald Trump's in 2017. Multiple outlets, including The New York Times and Variety, report that preliminary Nielsen ratings show close to 40 million people tuned in to watch Biden, 78, take the oath of office in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as opposed to about 38.3 million for Trump, 74 — an audience increase of about 4 percent.
According to Variety, CNN nabbed the most viewers (9.9 million) for the half-hour swearing-in portion of the broadcast, while ABC News came in second with 7.66 million.
Rounding out the networks at the top were NBC News (6.89 million), MSNBC (about 6.53 million), CBS news (close to 6.07 million) and Fox News (2.74 million).
Final ratings have yet to be released by Nielsen and the numbers may change, Variety reports.
Ratings and crowd size have been an enduring fixation for now-former President Trump, who began his term in office in 2017 insisting that he drew far more inaugural attendees than he did.
A White House spokesman likewise attacked the media soon after Trump was sworn in, claiming the size of his crowd was misrepresented. (It was not.)
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Patrick Semansky/AP/Shutterstock; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty President Joe Biden (left) and former President Donald Trump
Drew Angerer/Getty From left: President Joe and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden
In an inaugural address on Wednesday that blended hope and certainty — at the same place where, just two weeks previous, a mob of pro-Trump rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol in an attack that left five people dead in an attempt to stop the certification of his election victory over Trump — Biden declared, "This is America's day. This is democracy's day."
"This is a great nation ... we are good people," he continued, repeatedly urging unity as he has since first launching his presidential campaign in 2019. "Let's start afresh — all of us."
"We come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have or more than two centuries," Biden said later in his impassioned speech. "As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic and set our sights on a nation we know we can be and must be."
The new president took the oath of office from the Supreme Court's chief justice, John Roberts, as is customary. His hand laid on a leather-bound, five-inch bible — held by wife Dr. Jill Biden — that has been in his family since 1893, used each time he is been sworn into elected office during the course of his career.
RELATED VIDEO: Donald and Melania Trump Arrive in Florida as They Skip Biden Inauguration
Donald and Melania Trump Arrive in Florida as They Skip Biden Inauguration
Donald Trump arrived in Florida on Wednesday shortly before his term officially ended, as Biden was being inaugurated in Washington, D.C.
Trump did not attend the inauguration, as he confirmed in a tweet prior to the event. (Since the Capitol riots, the 45th president has been permanently suspended from Twitter.) Departing Vice President Mike Pence did attend, however.
While not naming Trump, during his speech Biden said to applause, "We must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured" — an apparent reference to the former president's voluminous false and misleading claims over the course of his administration.
That habit reached its apotheosis two weeks ago: Trump's repeated lying that he won November's election encouraged the deadly rioting by a throng of his supporters who broke into the Capitol building and wreaked havoc inside.
Biden told reporters last week that he was "not afraid" to take the oath of office outside, despite some officials expressing security concerns surrounding the event. Some 25,000 National Guardsman were on hand Wednesday in D.C., as a precaution.