Biden inauguration & Celebrating America concert: executive orders, Oval Office, Trump

Biden inauguration & Celebrating America concert live online: executive orders, Oval Office, Trump...

President Biden inauguration: live updates

Headlines 

- 'Celebrating America' post-inauguration concert in progress

- Donald Trump left Biden a letter in the Oval Office, contents a mystery

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th President of the United States

- Kamala Harris sworn in as Vice President, the first woman, first woman of color, the first Black person and first South Asian to be vice president.

- Biden gives speech of unity and hope in this "winter of peril"

- Democrats officially gain a majority in the Senate, giving them unified power in Washington

- Biden has signed 17 executive orders immediately after taking office 

- Twelve national guard members removed from duties protecting the inauguration 

- Top GOP Senator Mitch McConnell places blame for 6 January insurrection at Trump's door 

- US covid cases/deaths: 24.3 million / >400,000 

- President Trump is in Florida, being the first outgoing president in 150 years to skip his replacement's inauguration.

Joe Biden's day one executive orders

Biden has taken aim at Trump’s legacy in a blitz of 15 executive orders on issues from covid-19, global warming, immigration, racial and LGBTQ equality and economy.

We have turned the page to a new chapter in the history of our democracy, and I am full of hope. I would challenge anyone not to feel hopeful today after listening to Amanda Gorman, the amazing 22 year old poet, wise far beyond her years, who told us that quote, “Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.” 

Chuck Schumer, New Senate Majority Leader

The press and I share a common goal: sharing accurate information with the American people

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary

"it's been a uniquely historic inauguration day"

Tom Hanks, Celebrating America Host

That's it for the Celebrating America concert! 

Demi Lovato performs "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers,

Followed by Katie Perry, who sings a rendition of her own song "Firework" as a display lights up the Washington Monument.

Barack Obama, George Bush Jr and Bill Clinton address nation

In a joint address the three former POTUS' call for unity, bolstering the power of Biden's messaging and showed solidarity and support.

Clinton called for "everyone to get of their high horse and talk to their neighbours."

Obama promised Biden and Harris that the ex-POTUS' will be there to help in any way that they can.

It was a short, pointed reminder that the months since the election in November have been extraordinary and unsettling due to Donald Trump's inability to accept his loss of power.

Tim McGraw sings from Nashville, TN

 

John Legend sings "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone

Simone was a Civil Rights campaigner in the 1960's, she performed and spoke at many civil rights meetings, such as at the Selma to Montgomery marches.

This is American aspiration...it's what drove the women of this nation throughout history to demand equal rights

Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States

Seamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy

Heaney is a favourite Irish poet of President Biden's, and extract from the poem read at Celebrating America below:

Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured

History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
of new life at its term.

What was in Trump's letter to Biden?

After two months of extreme public snubbing and a bitter tooth and nail battle to the end, has Donald Trump actually softened on his way out?

Vice President Kamala Harris to speak at Celebrating America

Vice President Kamala Harris to speak at Celebrating America

Next up at the concert, Vice President Harris will address the nation.

Foo Fighters perform 2003 smash hit "Times Like These"

The lyrics discuss how Dave Grohl felt "like I wasn't entirely myself" during the a hiatus the Foo Fighters entered while recording the album One by One, as well as his uncertainty about the future of the band, all themes that chime with the moment of crisis and uncertainty the country is living through.

Teacher McKenzie Adams  who went viral on Tik Tok honoured in segment about heroic teachers during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Justin Timberlake performs from Memphis

Alongside Ant Clemons in Memphis, TN they perform a new song, "Better Days."

The song was first performed on the Rock the Runoff Virtual Concert fundraiser, put on by Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight on December 3rd, 2020.

Will we meet the moment like our forebears have? There isn't anything we can't do if we do it together.

Joe Biden, President of the United States

Joe Biden is about to address the nation at Celebrating America concert

Jon Bon Jovi performs a Beatles classic

The hopeful lyrics from "Here Comes the Sun" tell of better times to come. The sunshine after the rain.

"It's been a long cold lonely winter"

"Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here"

Tom Hanks begins hosting inauguration concert

Tom Hanks begins hosting inauguration concert

Hanks is addressing the live virtual audience, highlighting that the inauguration is about more than just a swearing in. It's about the transfer of power for four years and recognising the American ideal.

Hanks and his partner Rita Wilson were both diagnosed with covid-19 in March 2020. 

He shared his experience and the world got to learn a little bit more about the virus when the growing health threat was first making headlines.

"There's no time to start like today... I'm going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people."

President Joe Biden, Speaking ahead of signing 17 executive orders

Biden brings US back into the Paris Agreement

In one of his first acts in office President Joe Biden has signed an executive order returning the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement. This sees the US commit to hitting certain carbon emmission targets in a bid to preventing the more serious consequences of global warming. French Presiden Emmanuel Macron has already tweeted his support of the move, welcoming America back

"It sends a very important signal to the rest of the world on one of the biggest problems we face," said John Holdren, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama administration. "I think it is very important that the US demonstrates once again that it will take the global climate change challenge seriously."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki makes very first briefing

Psaki is outlining key actions taken today by President Biden, and what he plans for the next few days on coronavirus response and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.

In a sharp contrast to the hostile final press briefings given by Trump's last secretary Kayleigh McEnany where she often didn't even take questions, Psaki is highlighting the importance of transparency.

Watch: Joe Biden swears in appointees in virtual ceremony

Biden gave a brief speech to his dozens of incoming staff who were represented on large screens, insisting that the utmost respect for each other at all times was crucial on his team, and non-negotiable.

He finished by underlining that they have a-lot of work to do.

Inauguration finally bursts QAnon's obscene bubble

Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday marks not only the historic beginning of a new presidency, but also, for countless Americans, the devastating end of a yearslong grift.

For believers of QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory that holds Donald Trump as a deity-like figure secretly battling a “deep state” cabal of pedophiles who control the government, things weren’t supposed to go down this way.

Month after month, year after year, they had been told by “Q,” the group’s shadowy online leader, and Q’s army of social media influencers, that a symbolic “storm” was coming. The mythology held that on Wednesday, at long last, the Bidens, Obamas and Clintons would be rounded up and executed for child sex trafficking, treason and other crimes.

Trump, having finally conquered evil, would remain in power.

They were to be bitterly disappointed.

Today as noon arrived, and a grinning Biden placed his hand on a Bible to be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, reality came crashing down.

“I can’t stop crying. F***k. Why?” one person pleaded. “It’s over,” another conceded.

Like a flipped switch, the attitude inside online QAnon communities shifted from glee to shock and misery: “NOTHING F***ING HAPPENED!!!”; “So now we have proof Q was total B**S**”; “I feel sick, disgusted and disappointed”; “Have we been duped???”; “You played us all”; “HOW COULD WE BELIEVE THIS FOR SO LONG? ARE WE ALL IDIOTS?”

Biden signs 12 executive orders in his first moments in Oval Office

The very first executive action the President signed was related to covid-19, mandating masks and social distancing on federal property and in interstate travel.

And the third made good on his commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.

Dems take the Senate after over a decade

Today is a huge day in American politics for obvious reasons, but there has also been a crucial power shift in Congress in recent minutes. Kamala Harris, in her new role as President of the Senate, swears in the three new Senators who give the Democrats power in the Upper House. 

This is a huge blow for the Republicans, and former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to have been furious with Trump's failure to secure the one seat needed from the Georgia runoff election. This is the first time since 2009 that the Democrats have had a majority in the Senate, as Chuck Schumer takes over from McConnell as the Majority Leader. 

Sanders takes precautions against the cold at inauguration

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders is known for his willingness to stand out from the crowd in Congress and he did the same at Biden's inauguration, sporting a pair of huge woollen mittens to keep the cold out. The natty, knitted number was spotted by many on social media including British MP Zarah Sultana

There's a nice story to them too, having been given to Sen. Sanders by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vermont. She gave them to him over two years ago and was shocked to see him wearing them on the campaign trail. The homemade mittens are made from repurposed wool sweaters and are lined with a fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.

VP Harris begins work in the Senate

This is a day of great joy for both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris but they have wasted no time in getting to work. As Vice President Harris also assumes the role of President of the Senate, giving her the duty of swearing in new Senators. 

After two key victories for the Democrats in the crucial Georgia Senate runoff races both parties' caucuses have 50 members in the chamber, meaning that the deciding vote in the event of a tie will go to the Senate President, Kamala Harris. For this reason her duties in the Upper House are expected to be a prime focuses, particularly during the early months as Biden looks to get his agenda implemented. 

 

New White House team promises "decisive actions"

'Getting down to business' has been the understated priority for the Biden transition team since his victory was called back in November, and despite the difficult situation he appears to be sticking to that pledge. He was not given the typical crowd-lined parade that his predecessors would have enjoyed, but he has already started work. 

He is expected to sign a raft of executive orders later today, many of which address what he sees as the biggest transgressions of the Trump administration. It is thought that the controversial 'Muslim ban' will be brought to an end and work on the Mexican border wall will be stopped where possible. 

Celebrating America concert boasts star-studded line up

Hosted by Hollywood legend Tom Hanks, Celebrating America is a post-inauguration concert that will mark the begining of President Biden's administration. Despite the empty streets in the Capitol today millions will be watching all around the world as some big names come together for an unforgettable concert. 

With performances from "iconic locations across the country", it will feature the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, and Kerry Washington. Timberlake described it as “our way of doing what little we could to encourage everyone to stay hopeful and to keep working towards a better future."

Here's everything you need to know to catch all the action. 

President and First Lady Biden take up residency at the White House

After weeks of preparations to ensure that Inauguration Day 2021 can go ahead, the important business of the day has now been concluded and the 46th President of the United States has now entered the White House. The Biden's will have some time to get reaccustomed with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after four years away, before the televised Inauguration Party scheduled for this evening. 

Bidens arrive at the White House

President Joe Biden, First Lady Jil Biden and the rest of the Biden family have just entered the White House for the first time in the new administration. The traditional parade from the Washington Monument towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was a strange, spectator-less affair but the Bidens clearly enjoyed the moment. 

Biden makes a brief departure from route to honour an Inauguration Day tradition

NBC News' White House reporter Al Roker has built a reputation of his celebratory chats with Joe Biden, who also spoke with him on Obama's inauguration in 2012. Biden is walking with his family to the White House for the job he's waited his life for, but still had time for a brief, covid-secure fist bump with Al Roker. 

Biden's Inaugural motorcade arrives at the White House

President Biden has just arrived at the White House for the first time since he was sworn in this afternoon. He returns to the building where he served for two terms as Vice President from 2008-2016. 

For the final few steps he was joined by son, Hunter Biden, as well as his grandchildren and other family members. 

Biden's motorcade comes to a halt briefly but he remains in the vehicle as he rolls on towards the White House. The presidential armoured limousine, known as the Beast, is moving at barely a walking pace, taking in the sights en route to the Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Inauguration Parade gets underway in Washington

The Biden motorcade heads towards the White House  for the beginning of the 'Parade Across America', which will mark the start of the inauguration party in Washington, DC. This year's edition is a strange affair; a parade without a physical audience. The President is now heading down from the Washington Monument, with marching bands and other military and law enforcement groups for support. 

Former First Lady gives thanks to Inauguration poet

A poem read by 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman was one of the stand-out moments of President Biden's inauguration, which made her the youngest inauguration poet ever. Gorman revealed that the poem was only finished in the aftermath of the Capitol Hill riots two weeks ago, and it gives an unsanitised depiction of modern day America. 

The reading included the phrase: "There is always light if we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.” It drew plaudits from millions watching at home, and even the lucky few in attendance. Former First Lady Michelle Obama gave her support. 

Joe Biden speech on Inauguration Day: “America is so much better than this”

President Biden gave an uplifting, unifying speech as he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, calling for a new start and for unity. His first public appearance as President saw him strike a conccilatory tone where he called on Americans to work together to heal the political divide.

In his inaugural address to the nation, Biden spoke directly to the problems facing the US at the moment, saying there is “much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain." The coronavirus, which has now killed more than 400,000 Americans is without doubt the most pressing concern facing the new Biden administration. Biden called it a "once-in-a-century virus, that silently stalks the country".

What to expect from the Inauguration Day celebrations

The great and the good of popular entertainment will be on show shortly to make this Inauguration Day, one unlike any other due to covid-19 protocols, an event to remember. As Biden was sworn in ar 12 noon earlier Lady Gaga sang the national anthem, and Jennifer Lopez also performed.

There is a star-studded group of A-listers lined up for the party tonight, with a TV Inauguration special hosted by actor Tom Hanks and singer Justin Timberlake

"Of course I want to work with Republicans, but most importantly we have to address the crises facing working families, middle income families and small businesses in this country."

Bernie Sanders, Senator for Vermont

Presidential motorcade departs Arlington 

Presidents number 46, 44, 43 and 42 are now leaving the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, having placed a wreath to honour those who have died in combat. The ceremony is a poignant feature of Inauguration Day which sees former Presidents join with the new incumbent to pay their respects. 

The only two living Presidents who did not attend were Jimmy Carter, who at 96 is the oldest living president and was not fit enough to attend, and Donald Trump, who returned to his golf resort in Florida earlier today.

LIVE: Wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

Biden adds another chapter to 157 years of history 

Former Presidents in attendance in Arlington

Alongside President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for the wreath-laying ceremony are three former presidents and their partners. The Obama's, Bush's and Clinton's are currently standing together ahead of Biden's arrival, with his predecessor's absence particularly clear. 

President Biden attends wreath-laying ceremony

The President and Vice-President have travelled to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington for the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The memorial stands as a representation of all those who gave their lives in service to the United States. 

Biden has particular attachment to the military after his son, Beau Biden, who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Iraq and who sadly died in 2015. Biden will lay the wreath shortly. 

Biden heads to Arlington National Cemetery in 'The Beast'

One of the presdential perks for Biden is use of an armoured-plated limousine known in security circles as 'The Beast'. Biden heads to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony alongside several former presidents. The armoured vehicle is adorned with the license plate '46', to mark Biden's inauguration. 

Interestingly, NBC News report that the Biden transition team actually had the license plate number '47' registered and ready to go, in case Trump resigned in the final days of his presidency and gave former Vice President Mike Pence the title of number 46. 

"I think what happended on the 6th [January] for a lot of Senators was a wake up call, but I think today shows the truth that our nation will go marching on... I think that many of us want to be a part of the healing that Joe Biden talked about, finding the higher ground that comes from common ground."

Cory Brooker, Senator for New Jersey

Military Pass in Review commences in the Capitol

Another feature of Inauguration Days for decades in the military Pass in Review, during which the new President and Vice President salute representatives from every branch of the military, offering a ceremonial review of their preparedness. 

"Pass in Reviews are a long-standing military tradition that reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new Commander-in-Chief, during which the President-elect, hosted by the Commander of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, will review the readiness of military troops. Every branch of the military will be represented in this event," the inaugural committee said.

Biden signs a raft of executive orders to begin his presidency

President Joe Biden will use his first hours in office to set the tone for his administration and has signed 17 executive orders, many of which will undo what he deems the most egregious acts of Trump's presidency. Nearly half of the executive orders will reverse decisions made by his predecessor, such as the highly controversial and discriminatory 'Muslim ban'. 

Signing Ceremony now takes places in the Capitol

In the building where, just two weeks ago, an armed mob roamed through Congress President Joe Biden has carred out the official processes required to take office. He was presented with an aerial photgraph of his Inauguration, and signed the following:

- Inauguration Day Proclamation

- Nominations to Cabinet Positions 

- Nominations to sub-Cabinet Positions

The brief ceremony was hosted by the Commander of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region.

Previous Inauguration Day letter shows how political landscape has changed

A tweet from BBC Washington correspondent Jon Sopel includes a photo of a letter left by George WH Bush for his successor, Bill Clinton, in 1993. When that transfer of power from Republican to Democrat took place 28 years ago today a brief letter from Bush wished Clinton well saying "Your succes is our country's success". 

This time around Trump refused to attend the Inauguration ceremony, leaving the Capitol earlier to head for his privately-owned Mar-A-Lago country club in Florida. 

Biden's Inauguration Speech receives positive reviews

The first public address of President Joe Biden's time in office sought to set the tone for his administration, attempting to unite Americans and look forward. In stark contrast to Trump's speech four years ago, Biden spoke of working together as a nation and promised to "fight just as hard for those who did not vote for me, as those who did". 

"Hear me out, as you move forward," Biden told the American people from the steps of Congress, "so be it....disagreement must not lead to disunion."

First POTUS tweet from Biden

Control over the official @POTUS twitter account has now switched to President Joe Biden and his team have wasted no time in getting started. As was the pervading sense from his inauguration address, Biden's first presidential tweet pledged to focus on tackling the crises that the US faces. 

Trump had been banned from the POTUS Twitter account during his final days in office for his role in the Capitol Hill riots of 6 January. It is very hard to imagine the presidential Twitter being used for such ends for the next four years at least. 

Biden takes possession of the 'nuclear codes'

With the formal transition of power from Trump now completed, the 'nuclear football' has now been passed to President Biden. The phrase refers to the physical units that give the president constant access to the US' nuclear arsenal, which he is able to access at all times. 

Usually the cases can simply be switched from one president to the next during the inauguration process, but with Trump refusing to attend an alternative was needed. Trump left Washington, DC earlier today and flew to his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. 

New Twitter account for President Biden

Having been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden (or more likely, his team) has been given the keys to the @POTUS Twitter account. His predecessor barely used the official presidential Twitter feed, preferring to stick to his own personal one. 

Biden's Twitter usage is far more moderated with the majority of tweets seeming to come from his team. Biden's team have already complained that the account has essentially been 'wiped' of followers, meaning that the new POTUS will start on 0. When Trump took over in 2017, he retained followers from the Obama adminstration. 

Biden and Harris escort Pence to his vehicle after ceremony

There has been little effort made by the previous adminstration to welcome the new one, but former Vice President Mike Pence broke from Trump by attending. The 45th president left Washington earlier today, refusing to turn up for the inauguration of his successor. 

Pence's decision to attend marks an attempt at a normal transition of power, something that has been the prime focus of today for Biden and his team. So far things have gone off without a hitch and there appears to be the first signs of political healing in America. 

ICYMI: Amanda Gorman reads Inauguration Day poem

In one of the stand-out moments of the Biden inauguration, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman became the youngest Inauguration Day poet in American history. Gorman, who also became the first-ever national youth poet laureate in 2017, read a poem which she finished in the aftermath of the Capitol Hill riots two weeks ago. Her staggering performance and beautiful artistry brought universal plaudits. Check it out here:

Biden makes pledges for his time in the White House

Newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden used his speech from Washington, DC to promise some basic pillars of democracy for his time in office. At 78 years old Biden becomes the oldest President to be sworn in for the first time and his faith in the established principles of governing will come as a stark contrast to his predecessor. 

His focus on democracy, the constitution and his faith in America's future were constant themes throughout the address. It is thought that he will begin by signing a raft of crucial executive orders this afternoon to kick off his presidency.

Armed Forces Colour Guard is now retiring the national colours, removing the various military and national flags on show on the steps of Congress this afternoon. That final piece of tradition marks the end of the formal inauguration procedure that saw President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris officially sworn in to the White House. 

 

Inauguration Day reading from 22-year-old Amanda Gorman

On a day of firsts as the first female of colour takes the office of Vice President of the United States, Amanda Gorman become the youngest Inauguration Day poet. Her poem was finished in the aftermath of the Capitol Hill riots that overran the Houses of Congress just two weeks ago. 

“I wasn’t trying to write something in which those events were painted as an irregularity or different from an America that I know,” Gorman told the Los Angeles Times of her poem. “America is messy. It’s still in its early development of all that we can become. And I have to recognise that in the poem. I can’t ignore that or erase it. And so, I crafted an inaugural poem that recognises these scars and these wounds. Hopefully, it will move us toward healing them.”

Inauguration Day speech from President Biden

Biden gives a stiring speech for his first address as President of the United States of America. In an Inauguration Day speech like no other, due to the pandemic and recent security fears, he called on Americans to come together after the chaotic and divisive Trump administration. 

Key themes throughout were the the importance of unity to address the nation's many challenges; his faith in the democratic system that brought him to this moment; and a pledge to work for all Americans. He gave special thanks to his running mate, Vice President Kamala Harris, who becomes the first woman to hold the role

New POTUS has @POTUS

President Biden now has the @POTUS twitter handle. Trump of course barely used the handle, preferring to stick with his @realDonaldTrump, which Twitter ended up suspending.

"As the Bible says, 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.' We will get through this together. Together."

President Joe Biden, Inauguration Day

Biden makes reference to Capitol Hill riots in Inauguration speech

In an Inauguration Day speech that called on the country to come together, Biden talks of the importance of not giving up on America after the violent scenes in the Capitol two weeks ago. He asked for Americans to unite to focus on combating the greater challenges ahead. 

He went on to say: "For my first act as President I would like you to join me in a moment of silence, for all those who have lost their lives due to the deadly pandemic."

Much as he did throughout the exhuasting election campaign and in the chaotic months since 3 November, President Joe Biden has called on Americans to unite in pursuit of a common goal. During his Inauguration Day address he lists what he sees as some of the main issues facing the United States in 2021. Experts are expecting Biden to get straight to work on priority issues like covid-19, the economic crisis and healing wounds across the nation. 

"Bringing America together, uniting our country, and uniting our people. And I call on every American to join me in this cause."

President Joe Biden, Inauguration Day

"History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. So we can see each other not as enemies, but as neighbours."

President Joe Biden, Inauguration Day

Biden gives his first address as President

After months of dispute and the violent scenes in this very spot just two weeks ago, President Biden strikes a concillatory and presidential tone on the steps on Congress. He thanks those political leaders who are present for their attendance, and neatly sidesteps making reference to his predecessor. 

Harris

Kamala Harris - officially VP on Twitter

There it is, officially VP and on Twitter. (Joe Biden's social media team are off the pace - he's still president-elect, some three minutes after being sworn in)

Here's the moment Joseph R. Biden became the 46th President of the United States of America

"This is America's day, this is democracy's day... Today we celebrate we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause; the cause of democracy."

President Joe Biden, Inauguration Day

Joseph R. Biden sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

After two previous attempts to run for the highest office in the land and two terms as Vice President during the Obama administration, President Joe Biden is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts on 20 January 2021.

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

President Joe Biden, The Presidential Oath

Jennifer López

J-Lo performs 'This land is your land', one of the country's most famous folk songs. The lyrics are by Woody Guthrie, who wrote them in 1940.

Kamala Harris sworn in

Kamala Harris raises her right hand and is sworn in as the new Vice President of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

National anthem time

Lady Gaga is here... She's wearing a huge golden dove of peace on her chest, and has a gold microphone. 

Resounding performance from Lady Gaga.

Bible to be used by Biden

Klobuchar's speech

She was very measured, but made it utterly clear she had little respect for Trump or his presidency.

National anthem and pledge to the flag

Lady Gaga is to sing the anthem, after the prayer.

59th inaugural ceremony

This is the 59th inaugural ceremony. Biden is the 46th president, because of course not all presidents only lasted one term. 

Biden and Obama

244 years of Democracy, continuing

The inauguration ceremony starts...

Biden is here

The Bidens have been announced and are now on the balcony, ready for the swearing in.

Harris

Speculation on Harris' coat

Some are saying the purple coat Harris is wearing is a symbol of red mixed with blue - heralding a new unified time for America. However CNN's Abby Philip has this take: "Kamala Harris is wearing purple, something pretty significant to her. When she ran for president, one of her colors of her campaign was purple and yellow. That is a nod to Shirley Chisholm who ran for president [in 1972] as a black woman decades ago and has inspired her political career"

Bidens heading up the inauguration

President elect Biden and his wife are on the move through the Capitol to the inauguration. 

Eugene Goodman - a hero

Vice president elect Kamala Harris arrives

Kamala Harris introduced at the inauguration. Big elbow bumps with the Obamas. 

Harris will be sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Harris will be the first woman, first woman of color, the first Black person and first South Asian to be vice president. Justice Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice in the court's history. 

Vice President Mike Pence 

Pence has arrived at the inauguration ceremony. Trump of course is not there, being the first outgoing president in 150 years to skip his replacement's swearing in.

Masks

Masks 

Notable from all the footage of the inauguration is that everyone is wearing a mask (and in most cases wearing them properly too - though we're looking at you, Bill Clinton), making quite a change from things under Trump. In this photo Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arriving at the East Front of the US Capitol for the inauguration. 

Trump has landed in Florida

Trump's last trip on Air Force One is over, as he lands in Florida. He's still president, but only for another hour or so, until Biden is sworn in. That swearing in will be conducted by Chief Justice John Roberts. All nine Supreme Court justices have just been introduced at the inauguration ceremony at the US Capitol. 

One final clapback from Greta Thunberg

In reference to the sarcastic comments Trump made after she spoke at the UN.

Inauguration fashion

American designers are having their apparel shown off at the inauguration. President-elect Biden and the Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff, both wore suits by Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden wore an ensemble designed by Colorado-born designer Alexandra O'Neill. Harris is wearing two black designers: Christopher John Rogers, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Sergio Hudson of South Carolina. Bernie Sanders’s gloves come from a designer in his home state. 

Poor mask skills from Bill Clinton

Former President Clinton with his nose uncovered as he walks out.

Historic...

The soon to be Vice-President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris

View at the Capitol

The President-elect and Vice President-elect have arrived

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with their spouses have arrived at the Capitol for the inauguration ceremony. They were greeted by the senior members of Congress.

Hero to escort Kamala Harris

Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from the Senate chamber, will escort Kamala Harris at the inauguration as the new acting deputy House Sergeant at Arms. Vice President Mike Pence was spirited to safety just moments before the rioters would have been able to see where he was taken.

Biden

Dignitaries arrive for inauguration

The Clintons and the Obamas have arrived for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Tasos Katopodis captured the view looking out from the West Front of the US Capitol of the 'Field of Flags' at the National Mall.

Watch the 59th Inauguration Live

I feel the burden of living in my country under President Trump has been lifted from my shoulders. For me, the relief brings tears of joy. I rejoice in knowing it’s a new day and a new way with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Maxine Waters, US Representative for California's 43rd

Obama sends his congrats to his friend Biden

Biden

Biden attends church

President-elect Joe Biden will be the second Catholic US president. Biden and his wife Jill Biden attended a church service at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Washington with the top two Republicans and  top two Democrats in Congress before his presidential inauguration.

So have a good life. We will see you soon.

Donald Trump, President

You’re going to see some incredible things happening, and remember us when you see these things happening. I’m looking at elements of our economy that are set to be a rocket ship up. It’s a rocket ship. We have the greatest country in the world. We have the greatest economy in the world.

Donald Trump, President

People have no idea how hard this family worked. They could have had a much easier life, but they just, they did a fantastic job.

Donald Trump, President

I did it my way

President Trump and the First Lady are en route aboard Air Force One to Florida. As the President's plane taxied to the runway Frank Sinatra's song My Way played in the background.

 

Trump gives surprisingly short speech

Trump kept his speech surprisingly short, after listing the accomplishments of his "not a regular" administration he thanked the audience, and amazing Mike Pence. His relationship had soured over the past few weeks.

He failed to mention Joe Biden's or Kamala Harris's names though. But he did get in one last barb, telling the crowd that he hopes "they don't raise your taxes."

At the end YMCA played for the crowd before he and the First Lady boarded Air Force One.

A list of accomplishment

Trump listed as his administration's accolades:

the creation of Space Force

All that he has done for vets, "91%" approval rating among them.

If not for the pandemic, the best economy ever. "Really we did it twice."

300 federal judges

Trump addresses his followers

As Trump walked from Marine One to the podium he received a 21-gun salute before speaking to his assembled followers.

He began by declaring that his administration had accomplished so much, before passing the microphone to Melania. She reiterated her gratitude to the American people.

 

Covid-19

The global pandemic is of course one of the major issues that defined the last year of the Trump presidency and will define the first year (and possibly longer) of the Biden presidency.

The numbers are of course truly shocking: 24.2 million Americans infected and over 400,000 dead. No matter how much Trump argues that he dealt well with the virus, he and his administration lied to the American people about covid-19, downplayed the risks and refused to take responsibility for the pandemic.

Trump has arrived at Joint Base Andrews

Waiting for President Trump as he gets off Marine One is a limited collection of supporters and his immediate family. He is expected to address the crowd. Many top GOP members and officials made excuses not to attend.

Trump is on his way to Joint Base Andrews

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have boarded Marine for a flyover of Washington before going to Joint Base Andrews where he will have a military send-off. 

Joint Base Andrews

Quick hop in the chopper

It's really not far from the White House to Joint Base Andrews. Google Maps doesn't offer a helicopter option, but walking it's just over 12 miles.

A lonely send-off 

Trump plans to have a military send-off at Joint Base Andrews, leaving Washington before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration begins. Top Republicans are shunning the event citing conflicts of schedule. Mike Pence will attend the inauguration and the top two GOP leaders in Congress will attend church with Biden, along with their Democratic counterparts, prior to the inauguration. It’s expected that the event will be short on attendees with his family, closest aides and some supporters present.

What Trump hoped for...

It was well commented during the Trump presidency that he was really happiest in politics when out at the rallies with thousands chanting his name (or ridiculous things like "lock her up"). The lack of support at the end of the presidency will indeed be painful for him. Edward Luce is an associate editor at the FT.

Waiting for Trump

Marine One is still waiting for the president to head out of the White House.

Trump still not mentioned Biden/Harris by name

Trump has finally admitted that a new administration is coming in, having previously strenuously denied that he ever lost the November election, but he is yet to say WHO is taking over, deliberately avoiding saying the names of either Joe Biden or his vice-president Kamala Harris. Will he manage to say their names today? 

Biden to dissolve 1776 commission 

President-elect Joe Biden will issue 15 executive orders upon taking office, one of which will be to dissolve the 1776 commission. The 1776 commission is a panel created by President Donald Trump as a rebuttal to schools applying a more accurate history curriculum around slavery that he decried as "toxic propaganda." On Martin Luther King, Jr the commission issued an inflammatory report asserting that "the Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders,"

Trump on the move

Marine One, the presidential helicopter is on the lawn at the White House, with Trump going to head to Joint Base Andrews soon, where he is expected to make some final remarks on his presidency.

CNN are reporting that vice-president Pence will not be around at any point with Trump today to say goodbye. They said their final farewells yesterday. You wouldn't expect them to stay in touch now, or probably even send Christmas cards to each other. 

 

Dawn

Dawn of a new day, a new era

The US Capitol and stage are lit as the Sun begins to rise before events get underway ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden as US President in Washington, captured by Patrick Semansky.

Schiff on Bannon's pardon

Democrat Adam Schiff on Trump pardoning Bannon: "Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for. And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is."

Here are some of the other big names on the list of 143 people the president pardoned in his final hours. (He can issue pardons right up to the point where Joe Biden is sworn in, at noon)

The power to issue pardons may be enshrined in the Constitution (Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, if want to go and check the text) but there are pretty good arguments it's an affront to the very concept of "a government of laws and not of men" and it can clearly be used to avoid justice. The power to pardon follows the English tradition of Monarchs being able to grant mercy, which is strange given the USA was trying to break free from the concept of an all-powerful person in charge. 

That said, the pardon power has been around for as long as there has been a president, and it's not going away any time soon, but when Alexander Hamilton argued persuasively for the power at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, his reasoning was that pardons might help "restore the tranquility of the commonwealth" in times of rebellion. Not help the president's cronies get away with alleged swindles... 

Watch the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris inauguration

Although the official swearing in will be at 12 pm ET, the show will start at 10 am ET. Including Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem and a performance by Jennifer Lopez.

The revolving door will spin again

In 2017 Trump issued an executive order to expand Obama era rules to ban former officials from lobbying for five years the agencies they once worked for. however his efforts to “drain the swamp” were more show than action, with his administration filled with former lobbyists just over a year after taking office. The move will allow his soon to be unemployed aides to find jobs as lobbyists.

Trump’s final remarks

Donald Trump is expected to do a final speech before his departure from Joint Base Andrews (starting at 8 a.m. ET) and his staff have been attempting to organise a large crowd for the send-off to satisfy the outgoing president, who has been complaining about the size of the turnout at recent events.

In a bid to swell the crowd Trump staffers appear to have cast their net far and wide, throwing invites to people who are extremely unlikely to attend and allowing every invitee to bring five guests. One of the people to get an invite is Trump’s former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who later turned into a fierce critic of the Trump regime. He said he had no plans to attend but felt the invite was a sign the White House was keen to swell the crowd numbers. Some have also speculated that the invites may have just been sent to email lists, with no checking as to who was on it.

The 'patriot party'?

Trump has raised the idea of forming a new political party with his aides out of frustration with Republican lawmakers. According to the Wall Street Journal he wants to call it the 'patriot party.' His aides do not think very highly off the idea, with one calling it "lame."

Letters to Kamala from future leaders 

The election of Kamala Harris, who will be sworn in today not only as the first woman Vice President, but also the first woman of color and South Asian descent, will inspire generations to come.

Trump’s schedule for last day in office 

Going against the normal practice, Trump will be the first president in the modern era to not attend the inauguration of his successor in the office. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of American democracy. Instead he will leave for a military-style send-off from Joint Base Andrews, departing the White House at 8 am. President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated at noon at the US Capitol.

EU hails Biden's 'new dawn' but wants tough tech rules

Ahead of him taking office, The European Union hailed Joe Biden's inauguration as a 'new dawn' for Europe and the United States, while insisting US technology companies should be regulated to stop the 'dark forces' of hate speech online, Reuters reported.

The EU and the United States are the world's top trading powers, along with China, and have close cultural, historical, business and defence ties, but Donald Trump sought to sideline the EU, championing Britain's departure from the bloc. Expressing relief at the end of four years of Trump's 'America First' policy, the EU's chief executive and chairman told the European Parliament that shaping new global digital regulation together was paramount.

'This new dawn in America is the moment we've been waiting for,' European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. But she also cautioned: 'This sense of relief ... should not lead us to making any illusions. Trump may be consigned to history in a few hours, but his followers remain.'

Trump's farewell

Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks before his final departure from Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday, where a military-style ceremony is being planned.

Invitations have gone out to Trump's friends, allies and former administration officials saying it will begin at 8 a.m.

Author Don Winslow has made his own appeal to those covering the news.

Hilary 'the patriot'?

Despite it going completely against tradition, as we pointed out earlier Donald Trump is choosing not to attend today's inauguration ceremony.

This is possibly unsurprising given that he is yet to admit publicly that he lost the election, despite being unable to provide any real evidence, but raising millions of dollars for himself from loyal followers while maintaining his stance.

As Max states here, although Hilary Clinton was visciosly attacked by the man, she turned up and applauded four years ago. Patriotic?

Harris shares the united spirit

A few hours ago, both President-elect Biden and Vice-President Harris spoke to the nation.

'We gather together to pay tribute to the lives lost from covid-19. A grandmother or grandfather who was our whole world. A parent, partner, sibling, or friend who we still cannot accept is no longer here. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing—together.' said the incoming VP.

Add 'exsibilate' to your vocabulary

Wordsmith Susie Dent has, completely at random and with no link to events going on in the United States today, chosen 'exsibilate' as her word for Wednesday 20 January 2021.

As the OED states, it is a word derived from the Latin ex- 'out' + sībilāre 'to hiss'.

From Trump to Biden with US sport

"Professional sport clubs are going to start going to the White House again to celebrate Championships," Professor N. Jeremi Duru at American University's Washington College of Law has said.

"A great number of them refused to do so under Trump, understandably so. I think we are going to see that being an honour that clubs really take on in a way that they haven't over the course of the last several years."

Sky Sports looks at the positives in sport under the Trump administration, as well as a number of own goals scored by the outgoing president.

Tough on law and order???

The Republican president that claimed he was serious on law and order in the US has issued a long, long list of reprieves for criminal friends and those under investigation.

It's not what you know, it's who you know, it seems...

Steve Bannon, former chief strategist, is one of a host of people being either pardoned or commuated by Presdient Trump in his final hours in office.

“Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on Twitter. “And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves.”

Bannon has been charged with duping thousands of investors who believed their money would be used to fulfill Trump’s chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border. Instead, he allegedly diverted over a million dollars, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself.

Basically, there are lots of criminals, or alledged ones, who Trump has decided should go unpunished or uninvestigated. Unbelievable.

Read more:

Twelve National Guard removed from inauguration duty: right wing extremist ties

Two National Guard troops were removed from inauguration duty after making extremist statements in either texts or posts about Wednesday's inauguration, according to the AP.

A further ten troops were removed following vetting by the FBI, all found to have ties with right-wing militia groups.

The FBI has been vetting the thousands of National Guard troops sent to provide security for Biden’s inauguration.

The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.”

VP Pence snubs Trump event for Biden inauguration

Mike Pence is finally breaking with Donald Trump. Trump’s farewell ceremony, for which Trump is trying to drum up a crowd, will take place at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Pence is not expected to attend the almost-ex-president’s send-off. He’s going to Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony instead.

The reasoning, according to Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey, is that “aides say it would be logistically challenging for the vice president to do both.”

Biden bids farewell to Delaware on eve of inauguration

In an emotional address, at the Major "Beau" Biden Reserve Center in Delaware named after his deceased son, Biden declared that when he passes Delware will be written on his heart. 

Biden and Harris hold memorial for those who have died from covid-19

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their spouses Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff have gathered at the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial.

“To honor the nearly 400,000 lives lost in the United States to this pandemic”, the memorial will “include illuminating 400 lights around the reflection pool”, the inauguration team said.

This on the eve of Joe Biden's inauguration tomorrow.

WATCH: Donald Trump's farewell address

Donald Trump delivered his farewell address on his last day in office.

“To serve as your president has been an honor beyond description,” Trump said in a taped 20-minute address posted to YouTube on Tuesday evening.

“Thank you for this extraordinary privilege. And that’s what it is - a great privilege and a great honor.”

It's truly astonishing how this speech sounds quite normal yet is so detached from reality. Watch and decide for yourself.

Senate Republican leader McConnell says Trump 'provoked' 6 January riot

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday accused President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, of provoking the 6 January riot at the Capitol.

The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The US House of Representatives last Wednesday impeached Trump for a second time. The Senate has yet to schedule a trial to determine Trump’s guilt or innocence.

US Senate to prioritise 3 items

Incoming Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, outlined the chamber’s early agenda in his floor speech.

The Democratic leader said the chamber would have to tackle three tasks simultaneously: Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of Joe Biden’s nominees and the passage of another coronavirus relief package.

Inauguration timings

Today is the day that millions of Americans have been waiting for as Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

Of course, there are a number of formalities before and after this moment, as well as a parade and music concert to celebrate. Make sure you witness this special occasion in history as it happens live.

Biden inauguration: welcome

It's 20 January 2021 and today is the day that Donald Trump departs the White House and makes way for Joseph Biden, who will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 am Eastern Time and we will be bringing you all the related news and reaction throughout the day, including any opposition or protests from Trump supporters if that takes place.

We have our fingers crossed, however, that today can be a proud one, with everyone focused on a future of positivity and inclusivity.

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