January 20, 2021
Welcome to this evening’s discussion hosted by America House and the Ukrainian Public Broadcaster, and thank you for joining us to witness the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States.
Today in Washington, President-elect Joseph Biden will take the oath of office. Like his predecessors, he will stand before the nation and swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will also take that same oath. She becomes the first woman to hold that high office and reflects the rich diversity of the United States.
In order to put public health before pomp and circumstance, events here in Kyiv and in Washington will look very different this year. You will not see the crowds on our National Mall, nor the traditional Presidential parade.
But make no mistake, this inauguration, like all others, stands as a sacred moment in our democracy, when we not only honor our new President, but reinforce a foundational element of our political system – the peaceful, orderly transfer of power to a new, democratically elected administration.
For this reason, each transition is a testament to the resilience of our institutions, a fact we can’t take for granted.
Maintaining a government that represents the will of the people requires constant investment. A democratic society that serves all of its people requires vigilance by public servants, the citizens to whom they are accountable, and a free and independent media, among others.
In the words of the President-elect, democracy is fragile. Its preservation requires people of good will and leaders devoted to the common good, so that we remain, as our second President, John Adams, said, “a government of laws, and not of men.”
As the President-elect and his administration work to shape the domestic and foreign policy of the United States in the coming months, let me reassure you of one thing: The United States will remain steadfast in its support for a prosperous, democratic, and free Ukraine, secure within its internationally recognized borders including the Donbas and Crimea, and resilient against Russian aggression.
We’re glad you’ve joined us tonight to hear directly from President-elect Biden his vision for the next four years. I hope this ceremony is an opportunity to reflect on and renew our shared commitment to democratic governance. Here’s to another four years of strong U.S.-Ukraine relations. I wish you a healthy, happy new year.