News | Opinion
What contrasting words from the incoming and outgoing presidents of the United States this week.
Joe Biden, inaugurated as the 46th president of the US on Wednesday evening, said: “Democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
He added: “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility and we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes.
“Together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity, not division, of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing and goodness. I will be a president for all Americans.”
READ MORE: US virus deaths top WWII fatalities as Biden warns worst yet to come
While already starting the process to make a U-turn on several of Trump’s controversial policies, Biden strategically chose to not knock the former president, instead highlighting the need for unity to move the US forward once again.
Millions voted for Trump.
Biden can’t afford to alienate them from the beginning if he is to rebuild the US. Donald Trump’s last words as president in front of a small crowd were: “Have a good life. We’ll see you soon.”
Trump, the first president in 152 years to skip the inauguration of his successor, uncharacteristically chose not to slam or really mention Biden, whom he said cheated him out of a second term of office.
There is no such evidence. Trump, however, couldn’t resist a jab at his successor, saying: “I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do, I told you so.”
Many leaders around the world welcomed the change in guard. So what does the new leadership mean for South Africa?
ALSO READ: Foreign policy set for big shift in US
It’s early days yet, but Biden has indicated his willingness to work with other democracies for international trade.
He also indicated he will rejoin the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its Covax scheme – a global initiative that ensures equal distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines.
South Africa is looking to get vaccines for 10% of our population for R2.2 billion from the Covax scheme.
But, probably most importantly, Biden hasn’t referred to South Africa as a sh*thole country
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.