3 former presidents celebrated the continuity of US democracy in a pointed rebuke of the Trump era

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Sinéad Baker
·3 min read
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Obama Clinton Bush Biden Inauguration
The former US presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama taped a message as part of President Joe Biden's inauguration. CNBC
  • Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama recorded a message for Joe Biden's inauguration.

  • The three praised democracy and the peaceful transition of power while wishing Biden well.

  • Donald Trump skipped Biden's inauguration and did not name him in his farewell speech.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama recorded a joint video message that celebrated unity and the continuation of democracy to mark President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Biden was sworn in as the 46th US president on Wednesday, and he used his inaugural address to urge unity across the US, condemning white supremacy and domestic terrorism in a speech in which he did not name his predecessor, Donald Trump.

In a recorded message as part of the event, which was set up differently from previous years' because of the coronavirus pandemic, the three former presidents wished Biden well and praised the democratic process that got him there.

Watch the video here:

Bush said: "I think the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country."

"America's a generous country, people of great hearts," he added. "All three of us were lucky to be the president of this country."

And Obama, with whom Biden served as vice president, said: "Inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old."

The traditional peaceful transfer of power was marred this year, however, by the January 6 riot at the US Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to disrupt Congress' certification of the Electoral College votes. The chaos led to five deaths.

After baselessly disputing his defeat, Trump did not attend Biden's inauguration, making him the first president since 1869 to skip the ceremony for his successor. Clinton, Bush, and Obama all attended.

In the video, Obama said the country had to "not just listen to folks we agree with, but listen to folks we don't."

Read more: Joe Biden is hiring about 4,000 political staffers to work in his administration. Here's how 3 experts say you can boost your chances of getting one of those jobs.

Obama noted that the Bushes had welcomed him and Michelle Obama to the White House at the start of his presidency, calling it a "reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognize each other's common humanity, and that as Americans we have more in common than what separates us."

joe biden jill biden inauguration
Biden was sworn in as the 46th US president with his wife, Jill Biden, beside him. Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP

Trump futher broke with tradition by not personally welcoming Joe and Jill Biden to the White House.

Clinton said: "We are both trying to come back to normalcy, deal with totally abnormal challenges, and do what we do best, which is try to make a more perfect union."

"It's an exciting time."

Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 96, did not attend the inauguration, but Biden said he spoke with him the evening before the inauguration.

In a farewell speech on the morning of Biden's inauguration, Trump wished the new administration "great luck and great success" but did not mention Biden by name.

Read the original article on Business Insider