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U.S. President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, U.S., January 20, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Joe Biden takes oath of office, becoming the 46th President of the United States. He does so under the shadow of a raging pandemic, economic crisis, deep racial wounds and an irate predecessor. He does so just weeks after the US Capitol barriers were breached and Donald Trump re-impeached. His motto: "Build back America". Follow us for live updates from the inauguration of the 78-year-old Biden, who becomes the oldest man to take oath as president of America.

Biden signs swathe of executive orders reversing Trump policies

President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders from the Oval Office hours after his inauguration.

Biden wore a mask while seated behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of orders early Wednesday evening. He said there was "no time to start like today."

The first order Biden signed was related to the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an order reentering the US into the Paris climate accord.

While his predecessor Donald Trump broke long-standing practice by skipping Biden's inauguration, he did follow through on one tradition and left behind a letter for Biden.

The new Democratic president said Trump "wrote a very generous letter." But Biden said he wouldn't reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with Trump.

Extended family joins Harris on VP procession

Vice President Kamala Harris has entered her new office building for the first time in her new role.

Harris was joined Wednesday by her husband, Doug Emhoff, as she entered the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses the vice president's office and is located near the White House.

The marching band of her alma mater, Howard University, helped lead Harris' procession.

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US Vice President Kamala Harris walks with her husband Douglas Emhoff and her great-niece Amara Ajagu during the Inauguration Day parade for U.S. President Joe Biden, in Washington, US, January 20, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

She was joined by her extended family and held hands with one of her young grandnieces, who was beaming and wearing a fur coat meant to mimic one Harris wore as a child.

Shouts of "We love you!" greeted her as she walked along the procession route. She waved at White House staffers gathered to watch and gave one final wave to the crowd before entering the building.

Biden enters White House for first time as President

President Joe Biden has entered the White House for the first time as chief executive after walking an abbreviated parade route, still wearing his protective mask amid sounds of "Hail to the Chief."

The 46th president and first lady Jill Biden walked through a military cordon lining the White House driveway with the flags of US states, leading the first couple to the main entrance under the North Portico on Wednesday.

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US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden wave outside the North Portico of the White House after the 59th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Biden was expected to immediately begin working, with a stack of executive orders on immigration and other matters awaiting his signature.

The final ceremonial flourish completed an abbreviated inaugural afternoon unlike any Washington has seen, with Biden being seen in person by only a relative smattering of Americans given security lockdowns after the January 6 Capitol attack and public health protocols amid the ongoing pandemic.

Clinton says Biden inauguration lifted her heart

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says it really lifted her heart to see Joe Biden sworn in as president on the same platform that supporters of President Donald Trump climbed when they attacked the Capitol two weeks ago.

Clinton and her husband, the former President Bill Clinton, attended Wednesday's inauguration of Biden. Afterward, she told The Associated Press that she was "relieved and grateful" to see Biden sworn in with a peaceful transition of power.

That's been taken for granted in the US for over two centuries. But two weeks ago, hundreds of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from formally certifying Biden's election victory over Trump.

The House impeached Trump a week later on a charge of inciting an insurrection.

Clinton says she thinks it was meaningful to many Americans to see Biden take his oath of office where, "just a few weeks ago, marauders and terrorists had been attempting to stop democracy."

Trump defeated Clinton for the presidency in 2016.

UAE leaders congratulate Biden

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday congratulated Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America.

Read more here.

Biden, Harris pay tribute to war dead

President Joe Biden has spent a few of the first moments of his term at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring fallen veterans with three former presidents and their families.

The president, first lady Jill Biden, and newly sworn-in Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, presided over a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider on Wednesday.

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U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Image Credit: Bloomberg

After cannon fire rumbled in the distance, Biden saluted as a military band played the national anthem.

Biden and Harris later briefly touched the wreath before bowing their heads in prayer. The president also made the sign of the cross, then he and Harris stood somberly for the playing of taps.

Joining them at the ceremony were former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura and former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary.

Former President Donald Trump flew to Florida before Biden was sworn into office.

Biden's team gets to work

President Joe Biden's team has started moving into the White House.

The building began humming again with activity a few hours after Biden's inauguration Wednesday as staff for the new president started moving into their offices, unpacking belongings and getting the badges that grant them easy access to the property.

New press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that she was "in the building and ready to get to work." Psaki has scheduled the new administration's first White House press briefing for later Wednesday.

Biden plans to sign a flurry of executive orders, some overturning actions by former President Donald Trump, once he gets to the Oval Office.

The White House had been largely emptied out of staff after Trump flew to Florida on Wednesday morning, skipping his successor's swearing-in.

Gifts from Congressional leaders

Congressional leaders have presented President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris with a variety of gifts, including a pair of flags flown over the US Capitol during the inauguration.

The presentations to the officials and their respective spouses happened Wednesday in lieu of a congressional luncheon that typically follows the inauguration ceremony.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Lenox had crafted a pair of commemorative vases for Biden and Harris, each weighing 14.5 kilograms.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell gifted them with a pair of U.S. flags that were flown over the Capitol during the inauguration. McConnell noted that both Biden and Harris served in the Senate and "skipped the House altogether."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer presented photos from Wednesday's ceremony.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri noted that the Smithsonian had loaned a painting titled "Landscape with Rainbow" by a notable Black painter from around the time of the Civil War.

The signing ceremony gets underway

Biden takes part in a signing ceremony in the President's room at the Capitol.

He is signing the following documents:

  • Inauguration Day Proclamation
  • Nominations to Cabinet Positions
  • Nominations to sub-Cabinet Positions

Biden also tweets as @POTUS for the first time. He writes: "There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That's why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families."

Real work begins

Newly sworn-in US President Joe Biden tweets "Now the real work begins, folks."

Rev. Silvester Beaman of Delaware gives the benediction

Rev. Beaman prays for reconciliation among all people. 

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Rev. Silvester Beaman gives the benediction during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Amanda Gorman speaks on 'being American'

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

In language referencing Biblical scripture and at times echoing the oratory of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the 22-year-old Gorman read with urgency and assertion as she began by asking ``Where can we find light/In this never-ending shade?'' and used her own poetry and life story as an answer. The poem's very title, "The Hill We Climb,'' suggested both labor and transcendence.

"We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

Of such a terrifying hour.

But within it we've found the power

To author a new chapter,

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves."

Singer-songwriter Garth Brooks sings 'Amazing Grace'

Garth Brooks sang ‘Amazing Grace’, pausing to ask the audience, both in attendance and at home, to sing along to the last verse. As he left the podium, he shook hands with Biden, former Vice President Mike Pence, donned his cowboy hat and hugged former President Barack Obama.

President Biden delivers inaugural address

"At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed," Biden said in his inaugural speech. "Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy.

"This is a day of history and hope.

"Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but a cause, the cause of democracy.

US President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington.
US President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington. Image Credit: AP

"We have much to do, much to heal, much to build and much to gain," he added.

Biden argued that unity was the only successful path forward for the country.

“I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. I also know they are not new,” the president said in his inaugural address. “Unity is the path forward.”

Biden described America’s history as a “constant struggle” between the country’s professed ideals and its lived reality.

The president then pointed to Kamala Harris being sworn in as vice-president as an indication of how much positive change the nation can achieve.

“Don’t tell me things can’t change,” Biden said.

Joe Biden is sworn in

Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Image Credit: AP

How long is the oath?

The presidential oath of office is enshrined in the Constitution: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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."

Each president must recite the oath of office, which has been taken 72 times by the 45 presidents of the United States who have preceded Biden.

Jennifer Lopez performs musical selection

Lopez sings 'This land is your land'

Kamala Harris takes oath as Vice-President of the US

Kamala Harris becomes the first female vice-president - and the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to hold the role.

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Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice-president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Lady Gaga belts out the National Anthem

A full-throated, supremely confident Lady Gaga belted out the national anthem Wednesday in a very Gaga way -with flamboyance, fashion and passion.

The Grammy winner wore a large dove pin and an equally large red and billowing sculpted skirt as she sang into a golden microphone, delivering an emotional and powerful rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga Image Credit: https://bideninaugural.org

Rev. Father Leo Jeremiah O'Donovan delivers invocation

Inauguration ceremony for Joe Biden gets underway at US Capitol

Joe Biden's presidential inauguration ceremony has begun.

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Guests are seated on Capitol Hill before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Image Credit: AFP

Biden swears the oath of office at noon Wednesday, becoming the 46th president of the United States. 

History will be made at Biden's side, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.

Biden arrives at ceremony for inauguration

Hero police officer accompanies Kamala Harris

A Capitol police officer hailed as a hero for his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol is accompanying Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris at the inauguration of Harris and President-elect Joe Biden.

Officer Eugene Goodman confronted the insurrectionists and led them away from Senate chambers moments after Vice President Mike Pence was escorted from the Senate chamber as the rioters stormed the Capitol.

Goodman is a Black man and was facing an overwhelmingly white mob. He is the only officer seen for a full minute on widely circulated footage captured by a news reporter. Goodman stands in front of the rioters and walks backward as the group follows him to a second-floor hallway, where other officers finally assist him.

A police spokeswoman says Goodman's plainclothes assignment to accompany Harris "is a ceremonial role".

Trump lands in Florida, Biden has a message for wife

Donald Trump lands in Florida in final hour of presidency, rejecting tradition by skipping Joe Biden's swearing-in.

Meanwhile, Biden tweets a sweet message to his wife of over 40 years. He wrote: "I love you, Jilly, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you with me on the journey ahead."

Biden, Harris showcase American designers

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are showcasing American designers at their inauguration.

The president-elect is wearing a navy suit and navy overcoat by Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden is wearing an ocean-blue wool tweed coat and dress by American designer Alexandra O'Neill of the Markarian label.

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US President-elect Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, her husband Doug Emhoff arrive ahead of the inauguration of Biden, in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Aides say Harris is wearing Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Both are Black designers, Rogers from Louisiana and Hudson from South Carolina.

Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit on Wednesday.

Biden and Harris families reach Capitol

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(L-R) Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Image Credit: AFP

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris arrived at the US Capitol on Wednesday for their official inauguration ceremony.

Biden, 78, is to be sworn in at noon (1700 GMT) by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the 46th president of the United States.

Harris, 56, will be the first Black woman and first woman of South Asian descent to become vice-president.

The Obamas arrive at the Capitol

Dignitaries begin to arrive at the US Capitol. Former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton arrive with their spouses, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton respectively.

Obama on Wednesday congratulated his former deputy, Joe Biden, who is set to take over the top post.

"Congratulations to my friend, President @JoeBiden! This is your time," Obama tweeted, attaching a photo of them walking out of the Oval Office together.

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.

Carter had been the first former president to confirm that he was attending Donald Trump's inaugural in 2017.

Washington braces for tense inauguration

Washington is bracing for a tense inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday, as more than 25,000 National Guard troops stand watch over the barricaded city, emptied of the spectators who usually throng the ritual.

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Police officers patrol the area near the US Capitol before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Image Credit: AFP

With much of downtown fenced off, security analysts expressed confidence the unprecedented precautions would protect Biden's noon oath of office from a major assault.

Few signs of an organised plot to disrupt the inauguration have emerged, experts say, but the threat of "lone wolf" attacks, or violence carried out by radicalised individuals, was still a concern, particularly at state capitals.

Biden tweets a hope-filled message


Trump leaves behind a letter

President Donald Trump has followed at least one presidential tradition. The White House says the Republican president left behind a note for his successor, Democrat Joe Biden.

Deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to reveal what Trump wrote to Biden or to characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.

Earlier, as he left the White House,  Trump said he thinks the new administration will have "great success" and claims to have laid the foundation for it.

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US President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, January 20, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

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.

Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name during his Wednesday remarks.

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.

Trump wanted to be in Florida before Biden becomes president at noon.

Biden attends church ahead of inauguration

Washington: President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

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 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. Biden is the second Catholic US president, and St. Matthew's is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.

Biden spent Tuesday night at Blair House, a traditional move ahead of a president's inauguration.

Trump leaves White House

Washington: US President Donald Trump left the White House for the final time on Wednesday, heading by helicopter to a nearby military base where he will fly to Florida, skipping the inauguration of successor Joe Biden in an extraordinary break with tradition.

Trump, 74, and First Lady Melania Trump walked a short red carpet and boarded Marine One on the White House lawn on a sunny but chilly day in Washington for the short flight to Joint Base Andrews where he will board Air Force One.

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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, on Wednesday, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort. Image Credit: AP

Trump will be at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida when Biden is sworn in at noon (1700 GMT) as the 46th president of the United States.

"It's been a great honour, the honour of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world," Trump told reporters before heading to Marine One, rotors whirring, on South Lawn.

"We love the American people, and again, it has been something very special. And I just want to say goodbye but hopefully it's not a long term goodbye. We'll see each other again."

Image Credit: Gulf News