COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Jennifer Mercieca says along with the absence of thousands of supporters, Wednesday’s ceremony will be remembered for the traditions which were not followed.
“Donald Trump did not attend the Inauguration. And of course, that signals the nation isn’t united, and that reinforces that notion about peaceful transition of power,” says Jennifer Mercieca, a Presidential Rhetoric expert.
This year, the country has gone through many historic events – such as the attack on the Capitol and a global pandemic.
“The main appeal of the speech was about unity, and I thought that was the right message at the moment. This is a moment of crisis, and unity is certainly required to help us move forward. So I thought the speech was hopeful. I thought it was pragmatic. And I thought it was very presidential,” says Mercieca.
But this isn’t the first time for a president to be sworn in during a national crisis.
“In this case, of course, every crisis is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to show that you can lead. When we look back at American presidents, the ones that we remember as the greatest in American history, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, those are ones who came into power during moments of extreme crisis. A moment like this,” says Mercieca.
The question is, how do you lead a nation out of a crisis?
“Joe Biden certainly has work cut out for him in this moment, but it seems like he’s very cognizant of both of the problems of the crisis, and also the opportunity that this provides for him to be a leader,” says Mercieca.