Months after the 2020 Presidential elections, Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America, and Kamala Harris as the country’s first woman Vice President. Mr. Biden, 78, will take oath in a heavily fortified ceremony that is scheduled to begin at 8.30 p.m. IST, following which he is expected to deliver the inaugural address.
On the eve of his inauguration, Mr. Biden led a national memorial observance to honour the 400,000 Americans who have perished from COVID-19. He was accompanied by Vice President-elect Harris, Mr. Biden’s wife Dr. Jill Biden, and Ms. Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff.
Meanwhile, outgoing President Donald Trump, who broke several conventions by refusing to attend Mr. Biden’s oath-taking ceremony, urged prayers for the new administration. Mr. Trump had spent the past few months raging a spirited misinformation campaign about the 2020 election results, culminating in a siege of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Five people, including a police officer, lost their lives in the violent attack.
Here are the live updates: (all times IST)
Joe Biden takes oath as President of the United States of America
All set now for Joe Biden to take oath. Dr Jill Biden is by his side. Chief Justice Roberts administers the oath.
And there you have it – Joe Biden is now the 46th President of the United States of America.
Jennifer Lopez performs “This Land is Your Land” immediately after Kamala Harris takes oath.
Kamala Harris takes oath as Vice President of the United States of America.
Here oath was administered by Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms Sotomayor is of Latino descent.
This is history in the making. Kamala Harris is now the first woman Vice President, the first Black and first person of South Asian origin to hold this position. She traces her parental roots to Tamil Nadu and Jamaica.
Lady Gaga performs the National Anthem.
Joe Biden, wife Dr Jill Biden walk down the steps and take their seats. Inaugural co-chair, Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, begins the proceedings with her speech. The inauguration is now underway.
She introduces the Inaugural Chair Roy Blunt, Senator for Missouri.
All rise as Rev. Leo Jeremiah O’Donovan III speaks.
Mike Pence arrives
Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence have arrived.
His former boss Donald Trump, who made it clear earlier that he won’t be attending this ceremony, has now landed in Florida.
Told Kamala to keep doing what she does, not get bothered by others, says her uncle
With Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the brink of scripting history, her maternal uncle Gopalan Balachandran on Wednesday said he spoke to her ahead of the inauguration in Washington and told her to “keep doing what you do” without getting bothered by others.
Delhi-based Balachandran said he was feeling “proud and hearty”, and asserted that the new US administration led by President-elect Joe Biden and his deputy Harris will also signify beginning of a “period of course correction”.
“I am feeling very hearty and happy for my niece, and she has earned this historic moment,” Mr Balachandran said.
Describing the recent storming of the US Capitol by protestors as “unfortunate”, he also asserted that the “Biden-Harris administration would signify beginning of a period of course correction”.
Asked, if he has spoken to her ahead of the inauguration ceremony, he told PTI, “Yes, I did speak to her, and all I told her to keep doing what she does, and not get bothered by what others say. She is also feeling very happy and elated as she prepares to assume the mantle of a US vice president.”
When Ms Harris’s nomination as the vice presidential candidate was announced in last August, her uncle had described it a “historic moment” but had said that it was not a surprise at all.
“I again told her to think what will Shyamala say”, 79-year Balachandran said, remembering his late sister, Harris’s mother. – PTI
Former Presidents arrive
All of the former U.S. Presidents attending Mr. Biden’s inauguration have arrived at the U.S. Capitol.
George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were first to arrive at the complex on Wednesday morning, several hours before Mr. 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.
Mr. Carter had been the first former President to confirm that he was attending Mr. Trump’s inaugural in 2017.
The Bidens, Kamala Harris arrive
President-elect Joe Biden his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala 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.
Mr Biden paused to wave from the Capitol steps before entering the building. – AP
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will resign after Biden takes oath
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will resign when President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office.
The Justice Department says Mr Rosen’s resignation goes into effect at noon Wednesday.
Mr Rosen has run the department since former Attorney General William Barr resigned on Dec. 23. He was previously the deputy attorney general and deputy transportation secretary.
Mr Rosen has kept a low profile since he assumed the top job at the Justice Department. He has not held a press conference or addressed the press corps since he took the role, even after a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He has only released pre-recorded videos discussing the matter and issued statements.
Longtime Justice Department official Monty Wilkinson is expected to assume the role of acting attorney general while Judge Merrick Garland awaits confirmation by the Senate. – AP
Trump follows tradition
The White House says the Republican President left behind a note for his successor.
Deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to reveal what Mr. Trump wrote to Mr. Biden or to characterise the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.
Mr. Trump has refused to publicly concede to Mr. Biden and did not mention the Democrat by name in a pair of farewell addresses.
Mr. Trump interrupted many traditions of the presidency, including by not attending Mr. Biden’s inauguration. Mr. Trump also did not invite Mr. Biden to the White House for a meeting after Mr. Biden was declared the winner of November’s presidential election.
New administration has ‘foundation to do something really spectacular’: Trump
President Donald Trump says he thinks the new administration will have “great success” and claims to have laid the foundation for it.
Mr Trump says the new administration has the “foundation to do something really spectacular.” He made brief farewell remarks at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews before he boarded Air Force One for a flight to his Florida home.
Mr Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name during his Wednesday remarks.
Mr Trump told cheering, chanting supporters he’ll be watching and listening from a distance. He promised he will be back “in some form” and wished the crowd a “good life” before he and his wife boarded the plane.
Mr Trump wanted to be in Florida before Mr Biden becomes president at noon. – AP
The Bidens, Kamala Harris attend church
President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
Mr Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday are attending a service at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them are incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.
At Mr Biden’s invitation, the first couple is joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.
That includes both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Many presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents,” for the inaugural day service. Mr Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and St. Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.
Mr Biden spent Tuesday night at Blair House, a traditional move ahead of a president’s inauguration. – AP
Donald Trump leaves White House
Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as President.
Mr Trump emerged from the building on Wednesday morning and strode across the South Lawn to board Marine One. He said, “It’s been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime.”
Mr Trump now heads to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland.
From being one of the youngest senators to oldest U.S. President
Third time lucky is an apt phrase to describe the remarkable rise of Joe Biden, a veteran in US politics for around five decades, from being one of the youngest senators in history to the oldest American president.
The 77-year-old six-term Democratic senator, who triumphed over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in Tuesday’s presidential election, ran twice unsuccessfully for President — in 1988 and 2008.
Kamala Harris: The inspiring story of many firsts
Known as the “female Obama”, first time Senator Kamala Devi Harris has scripted history by becoming first woman, Black and Indian-American vice president of the United States.
Ms. Harris was picked by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as his running mate in August, months after she suspended her own presidential dreams, saying she lacked the financial resources to continue her campaign.
A fierce critic-turned ally of her former rival Biden, the 56-year-old California Senator is one of only three Asian Americans in the Senate and she’s the first Indian-American ever to serve in the chamber.
Ms. Harris is known for many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco — the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin to be elected to the position.
Biden’s inauguration: what it means for India | The Hindu In Focus podcast
In the course of this podcast we will discuss what the Biden presidency may mean for India, US relations, the US role in the world as well as America’s relations with China.
Host: Ananth Krishnan
Guest: Suhasini Haidar, National and Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Analysis | An inauguration modified by security and public health threats
The inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice-President of the U.S. will be a highly unusual affair this year — curtailed and modified by various forces gone out of control. The COVID-19 pandemic and security threats from Trump supporters in the aftermath of U.S. President Donald Trump’s challenges to the results have compelled the Biden-Harris team to have an inauguration that will not be accessible to the masses, as is usually the case.
The setting — Washington D.C. — will be transformed with some 25,000 National Guardsmen to secure the proceedings . Additionally, the Trumps will be conspicuous by their absence, and the ceremony will consequently need further modification.
A musical tribute with Indian links at the Biden-Harris Inauguration
As part of a series of events to inaugurate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, members of some of the most established orchestras in the U.S. are getting together for a live-streamed musical tribute, “Fanfare for Joe and Kamala,” a day before the actual Inauguration. In the ensemble, whose members are drawn from the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony and other big names in the business, is the recently formed South Asian Symphony Orchestra (SASO), which was co-founded by former Foreign Secretary and Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao.
Principal horn player Nivanthi Karunaratne, a Sri Lankan American, will represent SASO in the ensemble. The group of 14, called the Hope and Harmony Ensemble, has been put together by Classical Movements run by Indian-origin Neeta Helms of Virginia.
Renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik has made this sand sculpture at Puri Beach, Odisha
Biden ropes in 20 Indian-Americans, 17 in key White House positions
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has nominated at least 20 Indian-Americans, including 13 women, to key positions in his incoming administration, a record for the small ethnic community that constitutes one per cent of America’s population.
As many as 17 of them would be part of the Biden administration in the powerful White House complex.