Editor’s note: This is a live account of inauguration updates from Wednesday, Jan. 20, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the Biden-Harris administration.
President-elect Joe Biden took the oath of office Wednesday to become the United States’ 46th president. He has given himself an imposing to-do list for his earliest days as president and many promises to keep over the longer haul.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made history as the first woman vice president, Black vice president and first Asian American vice president.
Biden gave his inaugural address after taking the oath of office, saying “democracy is precious, democracy is fragile” and pointing to challenges ahead, acknowledging the surging virus that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States.
A “virtual parade across America” stepped off at 12:15 p.m. (PST). “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute, multinetwork evening broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks, will take the place of the usual multiple inaugural balls. The special airs at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and will be carried by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC and PBS. Fox News will not carry the broadcast.
In Washington state, law-enforcement officials are scanning social media to anticipate what threats they might face this week as well as the months ahead, when troops are no longer mobilized and the kinds of threats may change.
We’re updating this page throughout the day with the latest politics and protest news from across the U.S. and world.
‘I feel as if I’ve been set free’: Washingtonians who felt hostility under Trump find emotional release in Biden inauguration
Another day, the Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown predicts, President Joe Biden will enact policies she disagrees with, ones that will prompt her to march in protest to protect the vulnerable.
“However, as of today I am celebrating with everything in my body, with every fiber of my being, because this is a reset of what democracy means,” said Brown, senior pastor of the Plymouth Church United Church of Christ in Seattle.
Like many who spent the last four years alienated and alarmed by the Trump administration, even feeling under attack by the rise of white extremism the former president provoked, the African American pastor said watching Biden assume office Wednesday and deliver his first speech as president provided an emotional release.
“I feel as if I’ve been set free,” Brown said.
The perception of a new dawn, as many put it, including SeaTac business owner Abdulhakim Hashi, was heightened by Biden’s immediate moves to dismantle many of Trump’s signature policies, including on climate change, COVID-19, racial justice and perhaps most notably of all, immigration.
Seattle teacher introduces Foo Fighters during 'Celebrate America'
The FooFighters performed their song "Times Like These" as part of the "Celebrating America" program, a broadcast event hosted by Tom Hanks, that takes the place of the usual multiple inaugural balls.
Appearing in front of the Space Needle, Mackenzie Adams, a teacher at Glenwood Elementary School in Lake Stevens, introduced the Seattle-founded band.
Dave Grohl, whose mother Virginia was a teacher, dedicated the song to teachers in America who "enlighten kids every day."
Protesters march in downtown Seattle
In downtown Seattle, President Joe Biden’s first day in office was met with protest from anti-fascist marchers who have demonstrated for months.
A group of about 100 protesters mostly dressed in black marched, calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In chants, they decried both former President Donald Trump and Biden.
Outside ICE offices on Second Avenue at Spring Street, several in the crowd lit fire to an American flag. Some spray-painted and smashed three windows at a building that houses an AmazonGo store. “Amazon uses $ 2 fund tech for ICE,” read one tag. Later, as the group dwindled in size, some broke windows at the Starbucks at Pike Place Market.
As the group gathered at Occidental Square earlier in the evening, one protester said watching Biden call for unity during his inauguration felt like an insult to those harmed by racism, xenophobia and homophobia.
“Calling for unity with people who actively want to harm people is disgusting,” said the protester, who gave the name Anna.
The Biden administration can’t be counted on to “meaningfully change” immigration policy without public pressure, said one protester, who gave the initial D. but declined to give a full name, citing fears of doxing.
“I don’t think immigration should be enforced violently,” the protester said, suggesting social workers and others should address immigration instead of law enforcement.
Some in the crowd smashed three windows in a building that houses an AmazonGo store, and afterward, police arrived and trailed the group in vehicles, on bikes and on foot, eventually issuing a dispersal order. After a scuffle between a member of the crowd and another person, police tackled and arrested the black-clad protester. It was not immediately clear what happened or whether police made other arrests. Seattle police reported making at least two arrests as of 7 p.m.
‘We are turning the page’: Seattle reacts quietly as Joe Biden, Kamala Harris are sworn in
As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris swore their oaths of office Wednesday, Seattleites greeted the transfer of power with quiet celebrations — and some exhalations of relief.
Unlike in November, when Biden’s win over then-President Donald Trump was declared, there were no reports of spontaneous celebrations breaking out in the streets. And unlike four years ago, when Trump was inaugurated, there were no major demonstrations or violent clashes between his supporters and opponents.
Gatherings were dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic, lingering security worries after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Trump, and perhaps a touch of exhaustion after the past four years of seemingly unending conflict and chaos.
In Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, a small group of masked bicycle riders gathered to watch the inauguration ceremony on a projector screen set up in the back of a moving van parked in an alley.
“I don’t know that I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was just relieved. We are turning the page,” said organizer Doc Wilson, executive director of Peace Peleton, a nonprofit group that supports Black-owned businesses through organized bicycle rides and other events.
Democratic Party office in Portland vandalized during protest
Windows and doors at the Democratic Party of Oregon headquarters in Portland were damaged during a protest Wednesday afternoon. An anarchist symbol was spray-painted over the organization's sign.
Workers swept the building to clean up the broken glass.
'We need to be vigilant': Seattle demonstrators watch with caution as Biden begins presidency
A few dozen demonstrators stood on the sidewalk along Rainier Ave. S. in Columbia City, waving signs protesting capitalism, racism, and regressive taxation as a steady stream of cars drove by, honking their support.
“I’m certainly happy Trump is gone, but I don’t expect much from the Democrats and Biden,” said Doreen McGrath, an organizer for the Freedom Socialist Party who organized the rally, along with Radical Women and the Democratic Socialists of America.
“Just because Trump is gone doesn’t mean the fight is over,” the organizer said. “Business as usual got us Trump.”
Nearby on the sidewalk, protester Jared Houston said one of the better things about the Trump administration was the unintended consequence of galvanizing activism on the left. “I am one of those people,” he said. “Four years ago today, I was in D.C. at the Inauguration protest.” His only protest before that was on election night 2016 in Seattle.
“The last four years have been a game-changer for me and many others,” he said. “All the things that Trump represents are still here and built into the system: drastic racial inequity, inequity for women, people of color, queer people, etc. Trumpism isn’t going away with Trump — it will continue to be part of the political landscape and we need to be vigilant.”
White House holds its first press briefing
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the Biden-Harris administration's first press briefing.
Immigrants cheered by possible citizenship path under Biden
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — Immigrants cheered President Joe Biden’s plan to provide a path to U.S. citizenship for about 11 million people without legal status, mixing hope with guarded optimism Wednesday amid a seismic shift in how the American government views and treats them.
The newly inaugurated president moved to reverse four years of harsh restrictions and mass deportation with a plan for sweeping legislation on citizenship. Biden also issued executive orders reversing some of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, such as halting work on a U.S.-Mexico border wall and lifting a travel ban on people from several predominantly Muslim countries. He also ordered his Cabinet to work to keep deportation protections for hundreds of thousands of people brought to the U.S. as children.
“This sets a new narrative, moving us away from being seen as criminals and people on the public charge to opening the door for us to eventually become Americans,” said Yanira Arias, a Salvadoran immigrant with Temporary Protected Status who lives in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Arias is among about 400,000 people given the designation after fleeing violence or natural disasters.
“It sets a more hopeful future for immigrants in the U.S., but it all depends on the Congress, especially the Senate,” Arias, a national campaigns manager for the immigrant advocacy group Alianza Americas, said of the citizenship effort.
Amazon tells Biden administration it's ready to help administer coronavirus vaccinations
Amazon signaled to the Biden administration on Wednesday that it's ready to help distribute coronavirus vaccines across the country. The company said it's also ready to administer the vaccine to its more than 800,000 workers.
Amazon tweeted a copy of a letter dated Jan. 20, addressed to President Joseph R. Biden Jr., stating its case.
"As you begin your work leading the country out of the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration," read the letter, signed by Dave Clark, CEO of the company's consumer business.
The company also tweeted its support for the administration's efforts to combat climate change, reboot the economy and "advance commonsense immigration reforms."
Amazon has previously made similar offers to assist Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
In Washington, though, Amazon is currently not among the corporate partners that will help the state roll out the vaccine, which include other big names Starbucks and Microsoft.
Biden repudiates white supremacy, calls for racial justice
After taking the oath of office Wednesday, President Joe Biden issued a rare repudiation of white supremacy and domestic terrorism seen on the rise under his predecessor’s watch.
In his inaugural address, Biden denounced the “racism, nativism, fear, demonization,” that propelled the assault on Capitol Hill by an overwhelmingly white mob of Donald Trump supporters who carried symbols of hate, including the Confederate battle flag.
“A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us,” Biden said in the nearly 23-minute-long speech promising to heal a divided nation. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”
Compared to his immediate predecessors, three of whom attended Wednesday’s inauguration, Biden is the first president to directly address the ills of white supremacy in an inaugural speech. In his second inaugural address in 1997, former President Bill Clinton called out racial divisions as “America’s constant curse,” but stopped short of naming culprits.
Biden’s words follow months of protests and civil unrest over police brutality against Black Americans, as well as a broader reckoning on the systemic and institutional racism that has plagued nonwhite Americans for generations.
On Day One, Biden to undo Trump policies on climate, virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will move swiftly to dismantle Donald Trump’s legacy on his first day in office, signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new president planned to sign the orders just hours after taking the oath of office at the Capitol, pivoting quickly from his pared-down inauguration ceremony to enacting his agenda. With the stroke of a pen, Biden intends to halt construction on Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, end the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries, rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization and revoke the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, aides said.
The 15 executive actions amount to an attempt to rewind the last four years of federal policies with striking speed. Only two recent presidents signed executive actions on their first day in office — and each signed just one. But Biden, facing the debilitating coronavirus pandemic, a damaged economy and a riven electorate, is intent on demonstrating a sense of urgency and competence that he argues has been missing under his Republican predecessor.
“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities — much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build and much to gain,” Biden, a Democrat, said in his inaugural address.
The new president paused his speech for what he called his first act as president — a moment of a silent prayer for the victims of the nation’s worst public health crisis in more than a century.
Biden has said getting a grip on the pandemic, which has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the U.S., is his top policy priority. On the list of presidential orders to be signed Wednesday was one putting in place a mask mandate on federal property and extending the federal eviction freeze. It will also create a federal office to coordinate a national response to the containing the virus and distributing the vaccine. Biden will also restore the White House’s National Security Council directorate for global health security and defense, an office his predecessor had closed.
Biden addresses climate change, Inslee tweets approval
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden planned Wednesday to return the United States to the worldwide fight to slow global warming in one of his first official acts, and to immediately launch a series of climate-friendly efforts that would transform how Americans drive and get their power.
On Day 1, as part of a push to roll back Trump administration initiatives, he signed a series of executive actions, including to re-enter the Paris Climate Accords and to mandate mask wearing on federal property.
“There’s no time to start like today,” Biden said as he signed the actions in the Oval Office.
The move undoes the U.S. withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump, who belittled the science behind climate efforts, loosened regulations on heat-trapping oil, gas and coal emissions, and spurred oil and gas leasing in pristine Arctic tundra and other wilderness.
The Paris accord commits 195 countries and other signatories to come up with a goal to reduce carbon pollution and monitor and report their fossil fuel emissions. The United States is the world’s No. 2 carbon emitter after China.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted his support for the new administration's efforts to address climate change.
Biden’s move will solidify political will globally, former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday.
World hopes for renewed cooperation under new US president
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Leaders across the globe welcomed the arrival of U.S. President Joe Biden and the end of the often confrontational presidency of Donald Trump, noting the world’s most pressing problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, require multilateral cooperation, an approach Trump ridiculed.
Many expressed hope Wednesday that Biden would right the world’s largest democracy two weeks after they watched rioters storm the Capitol, shaking the faith of those fighting for democracy in their own countries.
Governments targeted and sanctioned under Trump embraced the chance for a fresh start with Biden, while some heads of state who lauded Trump’s blend of nationalism and populism were more restrained in their expectations for the Biden administration — and in some cases spoke nostalgically of the Trump years.
But a chance to repair frayed alliances and work together to address problems extending beyond any one country’s borders carried the day.
AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s fiction in his goodbye to Washington
WASHINGTON (AP) — In his final remarks as president, Donald Trump tried to take credit for accomplishments of his predecessor and even those to come under President Joe Biden.
Falsehoods suffused his farewell remarks Wednesday morning and the night before, though he was spot on with this: “We were not a regular administration.”
As well, in noting Americans were “horrified” by the storming of the Capitol this month, he brushed past the encouragement he had given to the mob in advance — by falsely claiming widespread voting fraud — and his praise of the attackers as “very special” people while they were still ransacking the seat of power.
Read the full story here to take a look at some of Trump’s statements to well-wishers at Joint Base Andrews en route to Florida on Wednesday and in his videotaped address Tuesday.
Biden rebukes Trump for falsehoods, pledges to be truthful
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden declared Wednesday that truth and democracy are under attack in America and he pledged to usher the post-truth era out of U.S. politics.
Biden didn’t mention former President Donald Trump by name, but Biden’s inaugural remarks were a clear rebuke of his predecessor, who persuaded millions of Americans to believe in his reality, one sewn with a fabric of falsehoods about issues such as coronavirus and election fraud.
“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson,” Biden said about Trump’s postelection claims of massive voter fraud that culminated in a deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
His defense of the truth could be a tough message to push when polls show about one-third of Americans remain skeptical about the outcome of the election and misinformation is a troubling problem.
Democrats gaining Senate control as new members take oath
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president’s agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges.
Vice President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote.
Wednesday was Harris’ first time presiding over the Senate.
Warnock is Georgia’s first Black senator, and Padilla is California’s first Hispanic senator. Ossoff is Georgia’s first Jewish senator and, at 33, the Senate’s youngest sitting member.
Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation’s painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump.
Washington State Capitol calm as inauguration proceeds in D.C.
As President Joe Biden swore the oath of office Wednesday morning, the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, scene of more than 25 unpermitted protests since the November election, was very quiet.
There was also a changed security presence behind the chain fence marked by at least a temporary absence of Washington Army National Guard on sentry duty as they have often been in days past.
Up to 600 Washington National Guard personnel, as well as hundreds of Washington State Patrol troopers drawn from all over the state, have been on duty around the state Capitol since Jan. 6, when militant Trump supporters mobbed the U.S. Capitol. On that day in Olympia, dozens of people, some armed, made their way past a security gate door to trespass on the grounds of the governor’s mansion in a half-hour protest.
This week, some leadership in far-right groups, including the Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys, have counseled staying away from state capitols amid security buildups in the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Vice President Harris: A new chapter opens in US politics
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris broke the barrier Wednesday that has kept men at the top ranks of American power for more than two centuries when she took the oath to hold the nation’s second-highest office.
Harris was sworn in as the first female U.S. vice president — and the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to hold the position — in front of the U.S. Capitol by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The moment was steeped in history and significance in more ways than one.
She will address the nation later Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial.
In inaugural speech, President Joe Biden pleads for unity
Joe Biden pleaded for national unity in his inaugural address Wednesday after he was sworn in as the 46th president.
"This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded," he said.
Surgeon General resigns at Biden’s request
WASHINGTON – U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams resigned at President-elect Joe Biden’s request on Wednesday, as the incoming president sought to make a symbolic break with his predecessor’s covid-19 response.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great Nation, as this has been the honor of my life,” Adams wrote in a departure note posted to Facebook. ” . . . I hope in 2021 and beyond, we can focus more on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.”
The Washington Post first reported that Biden was planning to ask for Adams’ resignation on Wednesday. Adams, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, was sworn in as surgeon general on Sept. 5, 2017, to serve the office’s standard four-year term, which was set to expire this September.
The anesthesiologist and former Indiana health commissioner – a political independent who crafted a close relationship with then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence – had emerged as a key spokesman for Trump’s coronavirus response, regularly appearing on national TV and using social media to advocate for public health measures such as social distancing. However, Adams’s visibility also made him a target last spring for Democrats, who accused him of defending Trump’s statements.
Biden has nominated Vivek H. Murthy, surgeon general under President Barack Obama and a close adviser of the president-elect, to be the nation’s new surgeon general, but Murthy first needs to undergo Senate confirmation hearings, which have yet to be scheduled. Three people with knowledge of the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it said the incoming Biden administration would choose an acting surgeon general as soon as Wednesday, bypassing Deputy Surgeon General Erica Schwartz, a career civil servant.
Harris gives sendoff to Pence on Capitol steps
Vice President Kamala Harris has now taken on a role that would have typically been performed by the outgoing president.
Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, stood on the U.S. Capitol steps Wednesday to bid farewell to her predecessor, former Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen.
The two couples stood and chatted for a few moments, even laughing, on the steps before the Pences got into a vehicle and were driven away.
President Donald Trump typically would have performed the sendoff for his second-in-command but opted to skip Wednesday’s inaugural festivities.
More plans throughout the day following swearing-in ceremony
The official swearing-in ceremony for President Joe Biden have concluded, but more events are planned throughout the day.
Following his departure from the platform, Biden was expected to sign paperwork in the President’s Room within the U.S. Capitol. Afterward, he reviews troops outside the Capitol before departing and traveling to Arlington National Cemetery for a ceremony with former presidents in attendance.
Later Wednesday, Biden is expected to make his first official arrival at the White House as president before a virtual inaugural parade.
Calm at state capitols as Biden is sworn in
Calm prevailed outside heavily fortified state capitol buildings across the U.S. as Joe Biden was sworn in as president.
The FBI had warned of the possibility for armed demonstrations leading up to the inauguration after President Donald Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed the election was stolen from him.
Fewer than a half-dozen demonstrators showed up outside the capitols in Concord, New Hampshire, and Lansing, Michigan. A lone protester wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat stood outside a chain-link fence surrounding the California Capitol in Sacramento, as dozens of police officers and National Guard troops guarded every entrance.
Three protesters were outside the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln, one waving a flag that read “Biden is not the president.”
Dump trucks, prison buses and other government vehicles were used to barricade streets around the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta, though no protesters were there.
Michigan lawmakers canceled a session scheduled for Wednesday out of caution. But in Wisconsin, legislators planned to move ahead with a committee hearing that was to be open to the public.
Indian village cheers for Harris during swearing-in as US VP
THULASENDRAPURAM, India — Residents of a tiny Indian village surrounded by rice paddies flocked to a Hindu temple, setting off firecrackers and praying and as they watched Kamala Harris, who has strong roots to the village, take her oath of office and become the U.S. vice president on Wednesday.
Groups of women in bright saris and men wearing white dhoti pants watched the inauguration live as reporters broadcast the villager’s celebrations to millions of Indians. The villagers chanted “Long live Kamala Harris” while holding portraits of her and blasted off fireworks the moment she took the oath.
Earlier, the villages adorned their temple with flowers, offering special prayers for Harris’ success. Her maternal grandfather was born in the village of Thulasendrapuram, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) from the southern coastal city of Chennai
“We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America,” said teacher Anukampa Madhavasimhan.
Poet Amanda Gorman captures the inaugural moment in verse
About two weeks ago, poet Amanda Gorman was struggling to finish a new work titled “The Hill We Climb.” She was feeling exhausted, and she worried she wasn’t up to the monumental task she faced: composing a poem about national unity to recite at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“I had this huge thing, probably one of the most important things I’ll ever do in my career,” she said in an interview. “It was like, if I try to climb this mountain all at once, I’m just going to pass out.”
Gorman managed to write a few lines a day and was about halfway through the poem on Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters stormed into the halls of Congress, some bearing weapons and Confederate flags. She stayed awake late into the night and finished the poem, adding verses about the apocalyptic scene that unfolded at the Capitol that day:
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.
At 22, Gorman will be the youngest inaugural poet ever in the United States. She is joining a small group of poets recruited to help mark a presidential inauguration, among them Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Miller Williams, Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco.
Washington's female leaders of color on what Harris represents
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, holding her hand up and looking directly at Vice President Mike Pence after he interrupted her during their nationally televised vice presidential debate last October.
Those five words resonated with women throughout the country, and quickly became a slogan printed on mugs, tote bags and T-shirts.
Simple words, but for many women, the meaning was profound. Harris, now the vice president-elect, had captured what they wanted to say every time in their lives men have interrupted them.
It also signified a battle Black women have been fighting for centuries in the United States — to speak and be heard as equal citizens, to be represented in their government.
'Have a nice life,' says Trump as he departs and DC pivots
Quite suddenly, if only for a freeze-frame moment, everything old was new again, starting when Joe Biden stepped outside into his day and Donald Trump vanished inside Air Force One for his flight to private life in Florida.
With Trump gone, calls for and scenes of unity and grace were the order of the day, exactly four years after his dark talk of “American carnage.”
As if their footsteps had been choreographed, Biden emerged from Blair House across the White House on his way to church just as the outgoing president disappeared into the plane at Joint Base Andrews.
Trump never conceded the election, declined to attend the inauguration, upended the tradition of sending a government plane to bring the president-elect to Washington and didn’t extend the usual invitation to greet the almost-president to the White House before the swearing in.
Under threat of conviction from the Senate on an accusation of inciting insurrection, Trump departed with a perfunctory nod to those who have died from the coronavirus, a obligatory mention of wishing “luck” to the next administration without mentioning Biden’s name, a premature claim on any success Biden might have, and the cloudy threat of a return.
“Have a nice life,” Trump said in remarks to well-wishers upon his departure. As Air Force One flew low along the coast, Biden’s inauguration played on Fox News on television aboard the flight. Trump’s family was on board. He spent some of the flight with flight staff who went up to him to say goodbye.
Rituals of the republic went on without him.
'Democracy has prevailed'
President Joe Biden is giving his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
"Democracy is precious, democracy is fragile," Biden said. "And at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed."
And then he pivoted to challenges ahead, acknowledging the surging virus that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States. Biden looked out over a capital city dotted with empty storefronts that attest to the pandemic’s deep economic toll and where summer protests laid bare the nation’s renewed reckoning on racial injustice.
He asked attendees to take a moment of silence to remember the 400,000 people who have died in the past year from COVID-19.
Biden takes helm as president facing pandemic, divisions
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, taking office amid a worsening pandemic, economic woes and deep divisions.
The presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013. The 5-inch thick Bible, which could be seen on a table next to Biden’s chair on the dais, has a Celtic cross on its cover and was also used each time he was sworn in as a U.S. senator.
Biden’s late son, Beau, also used the Bible for his own swearing-in ceremony as attorney general of Delaware and helped carry the Bible to his father’s 2013 ceremony.
Kamala Harris sworn in as vice president
Vice President Kamala Harris has taken the oath of office at the U.S. Capitol, becoming the first woman and first woman of color as vice president.
Joe Biden is set to take his oath by 9 a.m. Pacific time.
Biden, Harris inauguration ceremony begins
Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration ceremony has begun.
Biden swears the oath of office at noon Wednesday, becoming the 46th president of the United States. The Democrat is preparing to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.
History will be made at Biden’s side, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.
The ceremony in which presidential power is transferred is a hallowed American democratic tradition. And this time it serves as a jarring reminder of the challenges Biden faces: The inauguration unfolds at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago, encircled by security forces. It’s devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Flouting tradition, Donald Trump departed Washington on Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration rather than accompany his successor to the Capitol.
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are attending.
Capitol police officer accompanies Kamala Harris
A Capitol police officer hailed as a hero for his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol is accompanying Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at the inauguration of Harris and President-elect Joe Biden.
Officer Eugene Goodman confronted the insurrectionists and led them away from Senate chambers moments after Vice President Mike Pence was escorted from the Senate chamber as the rioters stormed the Capitol.
Goodman is a Black man and was facing an overwhelmingly white mob. He is the only officer seen for a full minute on widely circulated footage captured by a news reporter. Goodman stands in front of the rioters and walks backward as the group follows him to a second-floor hallway, where other officers finally assist him.
A police spokeswoman says Goodman’s plainclothes assignment to accompany Harris “is a ceremonial role.″
Biden, Harris highlight American designers for Inauguration Day
With symbolism running rampant on Inauguration Day, the soon-to-be president and vice president made subtle nods to the country in their fashion Wednesday.
President-elect Joe Biden matched a navy suit and navy overcoat from American designer Ralph Lauren, the same designer of First Lady Melania Trump’s powder-blue suit in 2017.
His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, wore an ocean blue wool tweed coat and dress from emerging designer Alexandra O’Neill, who founded her own luxury womenswear label, Markarian, in 2017. She matched her outfit with a blue mask and wore her hair in soft waves.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris similarly chose two up-and-coming artists for her look of regal purple: Baton Rouge native Christopher John Rogers and South Carolina’s Sergio Hudson, both Black designers.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff also went with a Ralph Lauren suit.
New CDC director takes over beleaguered agency amid crisis
As the coronavirus swept across the globe last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sank into the shadows, undermined by some of its own mistakes and stifled by an administration bent on downplaying the nation’s suffering.
Now a new CDC director is arriving to a mammoth task: reasserting the agency while the pandemic is in its deadliest phase yet and the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign is wracked by confusion and delays.
“I don’t know if the CDC is broken or just temporarily injured,” but something must be done to bring it back to health, said Timothy Westmoreland, a Georgetown University law professor focused on public health.
The task falls to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, 51, an infectious-diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, who is expected to become CDC director this week — a time when the virus’s U.S. death toll has eclipsed 400,000 and continues to accelerate.
While the agency has retained some of its top scientific talent, public health experts say, it has a long list of needs, including new protection from political influence, a comprehensive review of its missteps during the pandemic and more money to beef up basic functions like disease tracking and genetic analysis.
Walensky has said one of her top priorities will be to improve the CDC’s communications with the public to rebuild trust. Inside the agency, she wants to raise morale, in large part by restoring the primacy of science and setting politics to the side.
Outgoing President Trump's plane lands in Florida as Biden inauguration looms
President Donald Trump's plane has landed in Florida.
Trump said farewell to Washington on Wednesday but also hinted about a comeback despite a legacy of chaos, tumult and bitter divisions in the country he led for four years.
“So just a goodbye. We love you,” Trump told supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where he walked across a red carpet and boarded Air Force One to head to Florida. “We will be back in some form.”
Trump departed office as the only president ever impeached twice, and with millions more out of work than when he was sworn in and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Under his watch, Republicans lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for inciting an insurrection, two weeks before Democrat Joe Biden moved into the White House, at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation. It was on Trump’s on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, that he had painted a dire picture of “American carnage.”
The first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s inauguration, Trump is still stewing about his loss and maintains that election won by Biden was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments.
Former U.S. presidents introduced at the inauguration
Former U.S. presidents attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration are being introduced as they exit the U.S. Capitol.
George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were first to arrive at the complex on Wednesday morning, several hours before Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.
Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton followed shortly thereafter, with each couple arriving in separate motorcades.
The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. Carter and his wife, 93-year-old Rosalynn Carter, have largely spent the coronavirus pandemic at their home in Plains, Georgia.
Theresa May rebukes Boris Johnson as UK welcomes Biden era
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the start of a new U.K.-U.S. chapter on Wednesday under incoming U.S. President Joe Biden, even as his predecessor Theresa May accused Johnson of “abandoning” the U.K.’s moral leadership in the world during the tumultuous Trump era.
May, who resigned in 2019 amid turmoil over Brexit, has been critical of Johnson’s handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union. The open criticism is unusual because both prime ministers represent the Conservative Party.
Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper, May slammed Johnson’s threat last year to breach the legally binding Brexit treaty he had signed with the EU, and his decision to abandon a commitment to spending 0.7% of Britain’s GDP on foreign aid.
May said “to lead we must live up to our values.”
“Threatening to break international law by going back on a treaty we had just signed and abandoning our position of global moral leadership as the only major economy to meet both the 2% defence spending target and the 0.7% international aid target were not actions which, in my view, raised our credibility in the eyes of the world,” May said.
Since Biden won the U.S. election in November, Johnson has tried to shake off criticism that he became too close to outgoing President Donald Trump. The two men’s populist, crowd-pleasing styles have often drawn comparisons.
Biden and Harris arrive at Capitol for inauguration
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have arrived at the U.S. Capitol ahead of his inauguration as the United States’ 46th president.
Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and were greeted by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
The president-elect’s motorcade wound its way through a mostly deserted Washington following a morning church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Streets that would typically be lined with thousands of inaugural onlookers were ringed instead with a massive security presence to include military vehicles and armed troops.
About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington following the violent melee at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
Biden paused to wave from the Capitol steps before entering the building.
From Gaga to Garth, Miranda to Moreno: Celebs join inaugural
Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration will be like no other: pared down, distanced, much of it virtual. But for actor Christopher Jackson — the original George Washington in Broadway’s “Hamilton” — performing in a virtual “ball” is a way of participating in an essential rite of American democracy.
“I’m glad to play a part in it,” says Jackson, who will perform at the quadrennial ball for the Creative Coalition, a fundraiser for arts education and one of the more prominent unofficial events surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration. “It’s a great honor, and I’m very grateful that we have allowed our system to continue to work in the way it was intended.”
Jackson — not to mention former co-star and “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda — joins a slew of celebrities descending on Washington, virtually or in person, for entertainment surrounding the inauguration of Biden and Kamala Harris. Although the festivities have been radically scaled down due to the raging coronavirus pandemic and security threats, a steady stream of A-list names have signed on, headlined by Lady Gaga singing the national anthem on the West Front of the Capitol, with Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks also performing.
Other top-tier performers will be part of “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute, multi-network evening broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks that officially takes the place of the usual multiple inaugural balls. Miranda will contribute a classical recitation, joining musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake and Bon Jovi. Hosts Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will be joined by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, chef Jose Andres, labor leader Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in MLB history.
Trump follows tradition, leaves note for successor
President Donald Trump has followed at least one presidential tradition, leaving behind a note for his successor, Democrat Joe Biden.
Deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to reveal what Trump wrote to Biden or to characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.
Trump has refused to publicly concede to Biden and did not mention the Democrat by name in a pair of farewell addresses.
Trump interrupted many traditions of the presidency, including by not attending Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Trump also did not invite Biden to the White House for a meeting after Biden was declared the winner of November’s presidential election
Trump left the White House for the final time as president on Wednesday morning, saying, “It’s been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime.”
There’s a civil war all right, only right now it’s inside the Republican Party
In the wreckage of the Donald Trump presidency, which ends Wednesday, one of the big questions is whether local Republicans will pause to reflect on how and why it all went so wrong, columnist Danny Westneat writes.
And we already got an answer: Nope. No, they won’t.
Instead, local party officials are going more all-in for Trump as the future beating heart of the state GOP — even if it means tearing down their few remaining major elected leaders here to do it.
Over the weekend, the state GOP central committee met up in Arlington and passed a resolution that essentially censures two out of the three Republican members of Congress in the state because they voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol riot.
“Whereas Democrats and some Republicans, with particular disappointment in Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and Congressman Dan Newhouse, voted to impeach President Trump … the Washington State Republican Party condemns without question or exception the actions taken … in the impeachment,” the resolution reads.
The resolution expressed anger that “the multiple serious concerns of millions of Americans regarding the election of 2020 were ignored by both the offending states and Congress” (though those concerns were not ignored, they were debunked). It decried the impeachment as “nothing more than a political spectacle,” and nowhere found any smidgen of fault with Trump himself.
The classy letters left in the Oval Office from one president to another
One of the key characteristics of the Trump administration, especially in the last few months, has been the president’s ability to show how presidential norms are not laws, and traditions — particularly ones involving social graces — can and will be shirked.
Concede the election in a congratulatory phone call to the victor? Nope.
Concede at all? Not gonna do it.
Welcome the president-elect and the incoming first lady to the White House? Unlikely.
Attend your successor’s inauguration? Not happening.
As the final hours of President Donald Trump’s term come to close, there’s one tradition left for him to embrace or ignore: leaving a handwritten note in the Oval Office for the next president.
The tradition started three decades ago with a silly illustration from a children’s book author. It was Jan. 20, 1989, and Ronald Reagan was passing the presidential baton to his vice president, George H.W. Bush. Before leaving the Oval Office, he wrote a note on some stationery illustrated by Sandra K. Boynton, showing a cartoon elephant covered in turkeys, with the caption “Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”
The note read:
You’ll have moments when you want to use this particular stationery. Well go to it.
George I treasure the memorys [sic] we share and wish you all the very best. You’ll be in my prayers. God Bless You & Barbara. I’ll miss our Thursday lunches.
Soon, we may know whether Trump’s final thoughts for Biden will make it into the archives. Or not.
Schedule of events on Inauguration Day
Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as president.
Here's the upcoming schedule events on Inauguration Day for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (in Pacific Standard Time):
- 9 a.m. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala D. Harris will be sworn in as president and vice president of the United States, followed by the “pass in review” ceremony.
- 11 a.m. — Coverage will begin for the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Noon — Coverage will begin for the presidential escort from 15th Street to the White House. Every branch of the military will be represented in the escort.
- 5:30 p.m. — Tom Hanks will host the 90-minute “Celebrating America” special event that will feature Biden, Harris and performances by celebrity guests, including John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and more.
Biden to sign day one executive order to shift coronavirus-fighting strategy
President-elect Joe Biden plans to take his first steps Wednesday to demonstrate a new strategy to fight the coronavirus, signing executive orders to require masks on federal property, renew emphasis on biodefense and reengage with other nations trying to conquer the global health crisis.
These orders, which advisers say Biden will sign from the Oval Office in the afternoon after his swearing-in, follow through on commitments he made either during his campaign or after he won the November election.
In a briefing on the eve of the inauguration, senior aides portrayed these first-day actions as initial strategies within his grasp to reorient the federal effort to defeat the pandemic, which hit a grim milestone Tuesday of 400,000 deaths in the United States, exactly a year since the nation’s first case was detected.
Biden to ask Surgeon General Adams to resign
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to ask for the resignation of U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams after being sworn in Wednesday, ousting the nation’s top doctor in a symbolic break with his predecessor’s COVID-19 response, said two people with knowledge of the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.
Adams, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, was sworn in as surgeon general on Sept. 5, 2017, to serve the office’s standard four-year term, which expires this September. The anesthesiologist and former Indiana health commissioner — a political independent who crafted a close relationship with then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — had emerged as a key spokesman for Trump’s coronavirus response.
Trump grants clemency to 143 people in late-night pardon blast
President Donald Trump on Tuesday granted clemency to 143 people, using a final act of presidential power to extend mercy to former White House strategist Steve Bannon, well-connected celebrities and nonviolent drug offenders — but did not preemptively pardon himself or his family.
Among those who were pardoned or who had their sentences commuted on Trump’s final full day in office were the rapper Lil Wayne and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has been serving a 28-year prison sentence on corruption charges.
Trump also pardoned two former Republican members of Congress, Rick Renzi of Arizona and Randall “Duke” Cunningham of California. Both had completed prison terms that stemmed from corruption convictions.
Before finally signing the paperwork shortly before midnight, the president spent part of Tuesday consumed with indecision over whether to pardon Bannon, according to two aides. The former Trump adviser was charged last year with defrauding donors to a charity established to privately fund the building of a wall on the southern border.
Some inside the White House believed Monday that Bannon would not get a pardon, but Trump continued to weigh the matter — balancing Bannon’s previous help to him, and potential to help him in the future, versus what he viewed as disloyal behavior at times.
Bannon, 67, and three others were accused of making fraudulent representations as they solicited more than $25 million in donations for a fundraising campaign called “We Build the Wall,” much of it from Trump’s supporters.
DC on lockdown and on edge before Biden’s inauguration
The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will take place in a Washington on edge, after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol unleashed a wave of fear and unmatched security concerns. And law enforcement officials are contending not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack by troops with a duty to protect him.
There have been no specific threats made against Biden.
The nation’s capital is essentially on lockdown.
More than 25,000 troops and police have been called to duty. Tanks and concrete barriers block the streets. The National Mall is closed. Fencing lines the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol complex. Checkpoints sit at intersections. The U.S. Secret Service, which is in charge of the event, says it is prepared.
But law enforcement officials have been monitoring members of far-right extremist and militia groups. They have grown increasingly concerned about the possibility such groups could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said.
Even in the hours before the event, federal agents were monitoring “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said.
Fact-checking Trump’s farewell address
President Donald Trump’s farewell address was essentially a mini version of one of his campaign rallies — minus the cheers and applause.
Since his campaign rallies were a rich source of false or misleading claims, the president brought out some of his favorite golden oldies.
Trump’s exit: President leaves office with legacy of chaos
Donald Trump walked out of the White House and boarded Marine One for the last time as president Wednesday morning, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and tumult and a nation bitterly divided.
Four years after standing on stage at his own inauguration and painting a dire picture of “American carnage,” Trump departs the office twice impeached, with millions more out of work and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus.
Republicans under his watch lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for the final major act of his presidency: inciting an insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation.
By the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will already have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, to face an uncertain future, but not before giving himself a grand sendoff — with a red carpet, a military band and even a 21-gun salute.
Trump frees former aides from ethics pledge, lobbying ban
President Donald Trump, in one of his final acts of office, released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, which included a five-year ban on lobbying their former agencies.
The ethics pledge was outlined in one of Trump’s first executive orders, signed on Jan. 28, 2017, as part of his campaign pledge to “drain the swamp.” It required Trump’s political appointees to agree to the lobbying ban, as well as pledge not to undertake work that would require them to register as a “foreign agent” after leaving government.
Trump signed the one-page revocation of the order on Tuesday.
President Bill Clinton signed a similar order with weeks left on his final term, allowing former aides to go directly into lobbying after leaving his administration.
On Day One, Biden to undo Trump policies on climate, virus
In his first hours as president, Joe Biden will aim to strike at the heart of President Donald Trump’s policy legacy, signing a series of executive actions that reverse his predecessor’s orders on immigration, climate change and handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden on Wednesday will end construction on Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, end the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries, rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization and revoke the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, aides said Tuesday. The new president will sign the orders almost immediately after taking the oath of office at the Capitol, pivoting quickly from his pared-down inauguration ceremony to enacting his agenda.
The 15 executive actions are an attempt to essentially rewind the last four years of federal policies with striking speed. Only two recent presidents signed executive actions on their first day in office — and each signed just one. But Biden, facing the debilitating coronavirus pandemic, is intent on demonstrating a sense of urgency and competence that he argues has been missing under his predecessor.
“I think the most important thing to say is that tomorrow starts a new day,” said Jeff Zients, Biden’s choice to lead a new White House office that will coordinate the federal government’s revamped response to the pandemic.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
• Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take the helm of our crisis-stricken nation shortly after 9 a.m. Pacific time today, surrounded by massive security in a nervous capital. Know what to watch for, including time-honored rituals, star-studded performances, and the youngest inaugural poet ever.
• What Biden will do right away: Sign his first executive orders to fight the pandemic. Reverse Trump's moves on the environment and immigration. Extend the nationwide eviction moratorium. Oust the nation's top doctor. And more … here are the highlights.
• Trump granted clemency to 143 people late last night, including former White House strategist Steve Bannon, celebrities and former members of Congress. Can he still be impeached? That's open to debate, but history offers guidance, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell yesterday explicitly blamed him for the deadly riot at the Capitol. As Trump leaves behind an accelerating COVID-19 death toll that yesterday topped the entire population of New Orleans, he's released a farewell video that gave fact-checkers one last go at him.
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