William Jefferson Clinton takes the oath of office as 42nd president of the United States. The 46-year-old Clinton, elected the previous November 3 with just 43 percent of the popular vote, is the first president born after World War II. "Today, a generation raised in the shadows of the Cold War assumes new responsibilities," he says in his inaugural address. "This is our time. Let us embrace it."
Clinton withdraws his nomination of Zoe Baird
for attorney general after a disclosure that Baird
(right) had employed two illegal aliens. Several
weeks later, Clinton's second choice for attorney
general, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, withdraws
from consideration after administration officials
learned she had employed an illegal alien as a babysitter.
Clinton names his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to head a task force on health care reform. Attempts to institute those reforms are abandoned in September 1994.
Clinton administration fires several longtime employees of the White House travel office. Five workers are reinstated on May 25 amid claims they were removed so Clinton friends and relatives could get a share of the White House travel business.
Clinton nominates Ruth Bader Ginsburg to
the Supreme Court; the Senate confirms her two months
Clinton orders a missile attack against Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad in retaliation for alleged Iraqi plot to assassinate former President George Bush.
Republican Sen. Robert Dole calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the White House travel office firings.
Clinton announces that homosexuals can serve in the armed services as long as they are discreet regarding their sexual orientation and do not engage in homosexual acts. The controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy replaces a 50-year categorical prohibition of gays in the military.
Deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster,
a longtime friend of the Clintons, is found dead
at Fort Marcy Park in suburban Washington. Foster's
death is later ruled a suicide.
As Clinton looks on, Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin
and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shake
hands at a ceremony on the White House lawn, symbolizing
the accord their negotiators had signed minutes
before that will take the first steps toward Palestinian
self-rule in lands both sides claim as their own.
Clinton orders military reinforcements to Somalia after an attack on U.N. peacekeeping troops leaves 18 U.S. soldiers dead. Nearly all U.S. forces are withdrawn from Somalia over the next six months.
Clinton signs into law the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act as James Brady, for whom the act is named, looks on. The law imposes a five-day waiting period and background checks for handgun purchases. Brady was President Reagan's press secretary when he was critically wounded in the March 1981 assassination attempt on Reagan.
Clinton signs the North American Free Trade Agreement into law. NAFTA will lower or eliminate tariffs and other trade restrictions between the United States and Mexico and Canada over 15 years.
Czechoslovakia ceases to exist on New Year's Day, when the country splits into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
A terrorist bomb explodes at the World Trade Center in New York on February 26, killing six people, injuring more than 1,000 others, and causing more than $500 million in damage.
Dr. David Gunn is shot and killed on March 10 by an anti-abortion protester outside a clinic in Pensacola, Florida. On July 29, 1994, Gunn's replacement, Dr. Bayard Britton, is also shot dead by an anti-abortion extremist.
The Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, burns on April 19 after a 51-day standoff between the FBI and the religious sect, killing about 80 of the sect members.
Excessive rains cause river levees to fail in the U.S. Midwest, producing major flooding in nine states and setting records in some places. The floods leave 50 people dead, cause damage estimated at $15 billion, and force thousands to flee their homes.
October Basketball superstar Michael Jordan retires
on October 6.
The Treaty on European Union, also known as the Maastricht treaty, takes effect on November 1, creating a closer economic and political union on the continent.