Joe Biden, known as a person of the people, a reformer, a unifier, and a healer, rose remarkably from humble beginnings to become on Wednesday the oldest American president in US history, reaching the pinnacle of almost five decades of his political career. In the November 3 presidential election, the 78-year-old six-term Democratic senator, who triumphed over Republican President Donald Trump, ran unsuccessfully for president twice – in 1988 and 2008.
Biden, who spent five decades in Washington and served for two terms in the White House as former President Barack Obama’s vice president, capitalised on that experience to portray himself as a proven leader and a better Trump alternative.
Biden, while accepting the Democratic nomination in August, pledged to restore the “soul of America” and to be a “ally of the light, not the darkness.”
In the bitterly fought presidential election, Biden defeated the 74-year-old Trump, becoming the oldest person ever to occupy the White House.
In his victory speech, Biden promised to unite the nation as he called it ‘a time to heal in America’.
Biden had indicated during his presidential campaign that India and the US were natural partners.
The inauguration of Biden as the 46th US president is already historical as a woman, Kamala Harris would be sworn in as the country’s vice president for the first time ever.
Harris, 56, is also the first Vice President of the United States ever to be of Indian origin and the first African American.
Born in 1942 to a Catholic family in Pennsylvania, Joe Robinette Biden Jr. studied at the University of Delaware and graduated in 1968 from Syracuse University with a law degree. As a used car salesman, his father worked cleaning furnaces.
As the campaign website puts in, Biden, the man of “humble beginnings” was first elected in 1972, and served as a senator for the state of Delaware for six terms.
He was one of the youngest individuals ever elected to the US Senate at the age of 29, and his age at his first election helped him to be consistently ranked as one of the Senate’s least wealthy members.
In 1975, Biden met Jill Jacobs, his second wife, and they got married in June 1977. In 1981, they had a daughter, Ashley.
Beau, an Iraq war veteran who had served as attorney general of Delaware, died of a brain tumour aged 46 in 2015. Biden’s son, Hunter, struggled as an adult with drug issues.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, he also headed the Gun Violence Task Force.
With the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, presented by Obama days before he left office in 2017, his loyalty to the first African American President was rewarded.
In April, Obama formally endorsed Biden, saying “he will be a great president and he treats everyone with dignity and with respect”