Joe Biden, Kamala Harris Inauguration Day updates | Biden vows to defeat ‘domestic terror, white supremacy’

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his inauguration speech after taking oath as the 46th President of the country on January 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States on January 20, declaring that “democracy has prevailed." He swore the oath of office to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inheriting a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.

Mr. Biden will come to office with a well of empathy and resolve born by personal tragedy as well as a depth of experience forged from more than four decades in Washington. At age 78, he was the oldest President inaugurated.

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More history was made at his side, as Kamala Harris became the first woman to be Vice-President. The former U.S. Senator from California is also the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice-presidency and will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government.

The two were sworn in during an inauguration ceremony with few parallels in history.

 

And Mr. Biden was not applauded by his predecessor.

Flouting tradition, Donald Trump departed Washington on January 20 morning ahead of the inauguration rather than accompany his successor to the Capitol. Though three other former Presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — gathered to watch the ceremonial transfer of power, Mr. Trump, awaiting his second impeachment trial, instead flew to Florida after stoking grievance among his supporters with the lie that Mr. Biden’s win was illegitimate.

Here are the live updates: (all times IST)

11.50 pm

PM Modi congratulates President Biden

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday congratulated Joe Biden for being sworn in as the President of the United States and said he was committed to working with him to take the India-US partnership to greater heights.

The Indian Prime Minister also congratulated Kamala Harris on being sworn in as the US Vice President and said he looked forward to interacting with her to make India-US relations more robust.

"My warmest congratulations to Joe Biden on his assumption of office as President of the United States of America. I look forward to working with him to strengthen India-US strategic partnership," Modi said.

"My best wishes for a successful term in leading USA as we stand united and resilient in addressing common challenges and advancing global peace and security," he said in a series of tweets.

Noting that India-US partnership is based on shared values, Modi said the two countries have a substantial and multi-faceted bilateral agenda, growing economic engagement and vibrant people to people linkages.

"Committed to working with President Joe Biden to take the India-US partnership to even greater heights," the Prime Minister said.

11.30 p.m.

 

Official swearing-in ceremony ends

The official swearing-in ceremony for Mr. Biden has concluded, but more events are planned throughout the day.

Mr. Biden and the first lady departed the platform at the U.S. Capitol following the ceremony.

Following his departure from the platform, Mr. 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, Mr. Biden is expected to make his first official arrival at the White House as President before a virtual inaugural parade.

 

 

11.20 p.m.

 

Inaugural poet summons dire, triumphant images

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman summoned images dire and triumphant as she called out to the world “even as we grieved, we grew”.

Gorman is 22, by far the youngest inaugural poet since Robert Frost read for John F. Kennedy in 1961. She quoted biblical scripture and echoed the oratory of Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. among others as she recited her poem.

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She referred to the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, an event that she said helped inspire her to finish her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2021.

Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

11 p.m.

 

Capitol formalities done, here's what's next

A Benediction by Rev. Silvester Beaman, from Delaware and a friend of Mr Biden brings the formalities to an end.

President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (the first such title) shake hands with the Clintons, the Obamas and many more as they exit the venue.

Fomer VP Mike Pence , wife Karen, are escorted to the motorcade by new VP Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff. They have a quick chat as they part ways, there's a bit of laughter too. That handover passes peacefully as Harris and Emhoff make their way up again.   

The Bidens, Obamas and Bushes will pay their respects at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Mr. Biden will have a short trip back to the White House (there will be no in-person parade as per usual); he is expected to get an escort for one block by each branch of the military.

Consequently, There will be a virtual “Parade Across America” in the afternoon featuring performances to showcase America’s diversity — not unlike what the Democrats did at their Convention last summer.

In lieu of inaugural balls and galas (the Obamas attended 10 in 2009), traditionally held on the evening of January 20th, the inaugural committee is holding virtual balls for the Asian-American, Black and Latino communities. Several prominent Indian Americans including actor Kal Penn, lawmakers Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi will participate in the Asian American event (8 PM Eastern Time; 6.30 AM IST January 21).

The evening’s festivities close off with a virtual musical event with celebrates, titled, “Celebrating America” hosted by Tom Hanks and featuring Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake among others.

10.45 p.m.

 

Renowned country singer and songwriter Garth Brooks performs “Amazing Grace”. He asks everyone to sing the last verse along with him.

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman summoned images dire and triumphant as she called out to the world “even as we grieved, we grew.”

Ms Gorman is 22, by far the youngest inaugural poet since Robert Frost read for John F. Kennedy in 1961. She quoted biblical scripture and echoed the oratory of Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. among others as she recited her poem at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

She referred to the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, an event that she said helped inspire her to finish her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” - AP

10.25 p.m.

 

The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer: Biden

Joe Biden begins his first speech as President. Excerpts:

"This is America’s day, this is democracy’s day. Today we celebrate the cause of democracy. We have learned that democracy is precious, it has prevailed.

I thank my predecessors of both parties. The American story depends on all of us. We are good people. Over the years we have come so far, we have so far to go. Much to repair, much to restore, much to gain. The virus silently stalks the country. Millions of jobs have been lost. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

Today on this January day, I stand here to bring the country together. With unity we can do great things, important things. We can overcome the deadly virus, make healthcare secure for all. I know the forces of the virus are deep and real. The forces of racism have torn us apart.

We can treat each other with dignity and respect. This is our historic moment and unity is the path forward and we must face this as the United States of America. So today let’s start  afresh. Let’s begin to respect one another, see one another. Every disagreement should not be a cause of war.

My fellow Americans, I believe America can be so much better than this.

Today we elected a woman, Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change.

Mobs tried to destroy our democracy. It will not happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me than for those who did. I am a President for all Americans.

I understand many Americans fear the future, with jobs lost, thinking about the families. I will get it back. We must end this un-civil war that pits Red vs Blue, urban vs rural. We can overcome this.

We’re going to need each other. We must set aside politics and fight this politics and fight as one nation. We will get through this together.

My first act as President is to join me in silent prayer to remember all those who we have lost.

We shall write an America story of hope, not fear."

10.20 p.m.

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 - Joseph R. Biden is now the 46th President of the United States of America.

All set now for his speech.

10.15 p.m.

 

Jennifer Lopez performs "This Land is Your Land" immediately after Kamala Harris takes oath.

10.12 p.m.

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.

Kamala Harris is sworn in as Vice-President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband U.S. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff holds the Bible during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

Kamala Harris is sworn in as Vice-President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband U.S. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff holds the Bible during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

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.

10.05 p.m.

 

Lady Gaga performs the National Anthem.

9.55 p.m.

 

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.

9.35 p.m.

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

9.10 p.m.

 

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.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, and former First Lady Michele Obama arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, and former First Lady Michele Obama arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

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.

9 p.m.

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

8.40 p.m.

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

8.15 p.m.

 

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania are greeted by Ivanka Trump (second right), husband Jared Kushner (right), their children, Eric (centre right) and Donald Jr. (centre left), Tiffany Trump and other Trump family members on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania are greeted by Ivanka Trump (second right), husband Jared Kushner (right), their children, Eric (centre right) and Donald Jr. (centre left), Tiffany Trump and other Trump family members on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

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.

 

8.00 p.m.

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.

A military aide carries the nuclear “football” with the equipment and nuclear codes to Marine One as U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania left the White House in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2021.

A military aide carries the nuclear “football” with the equipment and nuclear codes to Marine One as U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania left the White House in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

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

7.30 p.m.

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

7.20 p.m.

Donald Trump leaves White House

Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as President.

President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.

President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

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.

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- AP

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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