President Joe Biden is urging Americans to stand up to the “lies told for power and for profit” in an effort to bridge the nation’s divides.
Biden, who campaigned for the White House last year on a pledge to restore bipartisanship and unity, made the remarks on Wednesday shortly after being sworn in as the nation’s commander in chief. The president, in particular, used his inaugural address to discuss the “common objects … that define us as Americans.”
“What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans,” Biden asked those watching his address. “I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor, and yes, the truth.”
The president proceeded to argue that “the truth,” while consequentially important, had been under sustained attack.
“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson,” the president said. “There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit.”
“And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens as Americans and especially as leaders,” Biden added. “Leaders who are pledged to honor our Constitution to protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.”
Biden’s comments about needing to “defend the truth” and push back on lies “told for power and for profit” come as the country’s major technology companies have moved to restrict the social media presence of former President Donald Trump.
Even before the peaceful transfer of power, social networking giants, especially Facebook and Twitter, had begun censoring Trump’s public statements on their platforms. Officially, the companies claimed they were doing so to prevent the spread of misinformation, specifically about the 2020 election process and its results.
When several of Trump supporters attempted to storm the United States Capitol earlier this month in an effort to stop the certification of the election, Twitter and Facebook—among other technology giants—took the added measure of banning the president from their platforms. Trump’s ban, which the companies claim was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” was coupled with Amazon and Google’s attempts to restrict access to the conservative social network site Parler.
The bans drew rebuke from across the political spectrum. A number of high-profile lawmakers and commentators, most notably the progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald, have lambasted the ban as threat to freedom of speech.