Of the 59 inaugural addresses in American history, presidents have mentioned “truth” in only a handful, and invariably as a passing flourish: a “simple truth,” a “profound truth,” or a pleading reference to the Declaration of Independence’s “these truths.” Joe Biden broke tradition on January 20 by placing truth itself, and fighting disinformation, at the core of his speech.
“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson,” he said. “There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders—leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation—to defend the truth and defeat the lies.”