Biden offers vision of unity in first address as president

PR and media professionals weigh in on how his speech offers a bridge to the many priorities he has set for his incoming administration—and what communicators can learn from a symbolic day.

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Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, and delivered his inaugural address to a crowd of VIPs, friends and family—a smaller gathering made necessary by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Like all inaugural addresses, the speech was a chance to set the tone for the new administration and President Biden’s words were a sharp departure from his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, who spoke of “American carnage” during his inaugural address in 2016. Biden’s message was one of unity, calling on Americans of all parties and backgrounds to come together to face the challenges of the current moment, including the COVID-19 crisis, social justice and racial equality, and more.

Nuts and bolts

“This speech beautifully shows many tools of the craft of speechwriting,” says Joanne Callahan, speechwriter and communications advisor with Con Edison. “It has many, many brilliant examples of tools and techniques speechwriters use to engage and connect with the audience.”

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