The Latest: Biden calls on Americans to overcome divisions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration (all times local):
President Joe Biden is calling on Americans to overcome their divisions, declaring in his first address in office that “without unity, there is no peace.”
Biden also pledged during his inaugural address Wednesday that he would be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying that leaders have an obligation “to defend the truth and defeat the lies.”
He asked even those who did not vote for him to give him a chance. He said, “Hear me out as we move forward.”
As he did frequently during the campaign, Biden pledged that he will be a “president for all Americans” and will “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.”
He added, “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.”
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT JOE BIDEN’S INAUGURATION AS THE 46TH U.S. PRESIDENT:
Joe Biden took the oath of office at noon Wednesday to become the 46th president of the United States. He takes charge in a deeply divided nation, inheriting a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.
— On Day One, Biden to undo Trump policies on climate, virus
— Biden’s first act: Orders on pandemic, climate, immigration
— Biden charts new US direction, promises many Trump reversals
— DC on lockdown and on edge before Biden’s inauguration
— Vice President Harris: A new chapter opens in US politics
— Analysis: For Biden, chance to turn crisis into opportunity
— What to Watch: An inauguration unlike any other amid pandemic, unrest
— Trump pardons ex-strategist Steve Bannon, dozens of others
— Trump frees former aides from ethics pledge, lobbying ban
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
President Joe Biden says “democracy has prevailed” in a country reeling amid a pandemic and a violent melee two weeks ago at the U.S. Capitol.
In his first remarks as president, Biden said Wednesday that his swearing-in marks a day of “history and hope.”
Biden said in his inaugural address that the country has “learned again that democracy is precious.”
He added, “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”
Biden also thanked his predecessors from both parties for attending Wednesday’s ceremonies. Former Vice President Mike Pence was also in attendance, while former President Donald Trump skipped the festivities and headed to Florida earlier in the day.
Joe Biden has officially become the 46th president of the United States.
Biden took the oath of office just before noon Wednesday during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013. The 5-inch thick Bible, which could be seen on a table next to Biden’s chair on the dais, has a Celtic cross on its cover and was also used each time he was sworn- n as a U.S. senator.
Biden’s late son, Beau, also used the Bible for his own swearing-in ceremony as attorney general of Delaware and helped carry the Bible to his father’s 2013 ceremony.
Kamala Harris has been sworn in as the nation’s first female 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 becomes the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government.
She was sworn in Wednesday by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence, standing in for President Donald Trump, was sitting nearby as Lady Gaga sang the national anthem accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps band.
Lady Gaga belted out the national anthem in a very Lady Gaga way — full of fashion and passion.
The Grammy winner wore a large dove pin and a large red sculpted skirt as she sang into a gold microphone, delivering an emotional rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
As she left the podium, she spoke with President-elect Joe Biden and glanced at former President Barack Obama. On Twitter, she was given great marks, especially by many who joked that her skirt was automatically socially distancing.
Lady Gaga campaigned in November with Biden in Pennsylvania, and the two worked together the last time he was in the White House to combat sexual assault on college campuses.
The White House says President Donald Trump has pardoned Al Pirro, the ex-husband of Fox News Channel host and Trump ally Jeanine Pirro.
The pardon for Al Pirro is in addition to the 143 pardons and sentence commutations that Trump announced earlier Wednesday. Pirro’s pardon was announced just after Trump landed in Florida after leaving the White House and before Joe Biden was inaugurated as the nation’s 46th president.
Jeanine Pirro hosts Fox News Channel’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine.”
Al Pirro was convicted of conspiracy and tax evasion charges and sentenced to more than two years in prison in 2000.
President Joe Biden has chosen career diplomat Daniel Smith to serve as acting secretary of state until his pick for top diplomat, Antony Blinken, is confirmed by the Senate.
Smith currently runs the Foreign Service Institute that trains U.S. diplomats and is a former ambassador to Greece.
Current and incoming U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday of his temporary appointment, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement. Biden is set to be sworn in at noon as the 46th president of the United States.
Blinken had a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, and his confirmation is not expected to face obstacles. He would succeed President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
— By AP writer Matthew Lee
Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration ceremony has begun.
Biden swears the oath of office at noon Wednesday, becoming the 46th president of the United States. The Democrat is preparing to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.
History will be made at Biden’s side, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.
The ceremony in which presidential power is transferred is a hallowed American democratic tradition. And this time it serves as a jarring reminder of the challenges Biden faces: The inauguration unfolds at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago, encircled by security forces. It’s devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Flouting tradition, Donald Trump departed Washington on Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration rather than accompany his successor to the Capitol.
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are attending.
The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend.
Three Supreme Court justices are absent from President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, citing health risks from the coronavirus pandemic.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito did not join the others on the west front of the Capitol Wednesday. Breyer is 82, the oldest member of the court. Thomas is 72 and Alito is 70.
Supreme Court spokesperson Kathy Arberg says some members of the court “elected not to attend the inauguration ceremony in light of the public health risks posed by the COVID pandemic.”
The justices have begun receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is not clear if they all have received both doses.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the other appointees of President Donald Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were in attendance Wednesday, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Roberts was to swear in Biden, while Sotomayor was giving the oath of office to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Vice President Mike Pence has arrived at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, were announced at inaugural festivities at the U.S. Capitol about one hour ahead of Biden’s expected swearing-in ceremony.
Pence is representing the outgoing Trump administration at Biden’s inaugural. President Donald Trump is skipping the festivities, departing Washington earlier in the day for the last time as sitting president.
Aboard Air Force One a final time, Trump landed in West Palm Beach, Florida, just before Pence’s arrival at the inaugural platform.
During remarks before his departure, Trump hinted at a comeback despite a legacy of chaos, tumult and bitter divisions in the country he led for four years, telling supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland “We will be back in some form.”
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.″
Former Republican leaders and lawmakers are among those gathering at the Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was attending the Wednesday ceremony to “honor the process” after a year that he said tested the nation’s institutions. He said he was there “out of respect for the peaceful transfer of power.”
Former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona says it’s “too bad” that outgoing President Donald Trump did not attend for “that handoff that the world can see.”
Flake is a Trump critic. He says he hopes it’s a “moment of renewal” for the nation. He says he thinks “Americans will sleep easier knowing that we have a more steady hand in the White House.”
President Donald Trump has arrived in Florida after leaving the White House for the final time as president.
Trump said farewell to Washington early Wednesday, leaving before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump’s plane flew low along the coast as Biden’s inauguration played on TV on Fox News Channel.
Trump’s family was on the plane with him. He spent some of the flight meeting with flight staff, who went up to say goodbye.
Trump has hinted about a comeback despite a legacy of chaos, tumult and bitter divisions in the country he led for four years.
Trump spoke to supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where he walked across a red carpet and boarded Air Force One to head to Florida. He said: “So just a goodbye. We love you.” And the 45th president added, “We will be back in some form.”
Trump departs office as the only president ever impeached twice, and with millions more out of work than when he was sworn in and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus.
President-elect Joe Biden has arrived at the U.S. Capitol ahead of his inauguration as the United States’ 46th president.
Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by 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.
Biden paused to wave from the Capitol steps before entering the building.
All of the former U.S. presidents attending President-elect Joe 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 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.
Carter had been the first former president to confirm that he was attending Donald Trump’s inaugural in 2017.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed Washington earlier Wednesday, skipping the Biden inaugural festivities and heading straight to their home in Florida. Trump is the first president since Andrew Johnson not to attend the inauguration of his successor.
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.
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.
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will resign when President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office.
The Justice Department says Rosen’s resignation goes into effect at noon Wednesday.
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.
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.
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.
Trump has refused to publicly concede to Biden and did not mention the Democrat by name in a pair of farewell addresses.
Trump interrupted many traditions of the presidency, including by not attending Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Trump also did not invite Biden to the White House for a meeting after Biden was declared the winner of November’s presidential election
Trump left the White House for the final time as president on Wednesday morning, saying, “It’s been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime.”
President Donald Trump says he thinks the new administration will have “great success” and claims to have laid the foundation for it.
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.
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 U.S. 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.
Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as president.
Trump emerged from the building 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.”
Trump now heads to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he’ll have a military sendoff. A red carpet has been placed on the tarmac for Trump to walk as he boards the plane. Four U.S. Army cannons are set up for a 21-gun salute. Trump then flies to Florida, where he’ll stay at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump is leaving Washington just hours before Joe Biden takes the oath of office as the 46th president. It’s the first time in more than a century that a sitting president has rejected the tradition of attending his successor’s inauguration.
Two of the Biden administration’s top communications officials are describing the incoming president’s inaugural address as a forward-looking speech that will make little to no mention of his predecessor.
Communications director Kate Bedingfield told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that President-elect Joe Biden’s address would “speak to the moment that we are in, but it will also lay out a vision for the future.”
Biden press secretary Jen Psaki tells CNN that Biden’s inaugural address is “definitely not a speech about Donald Trump” and she “wouldn’t expect” to hear about him in it.
Bedingfield says Biden had not had any contact with the outgoing president.
Asked why Biden had invited political opponents including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to join him at a Mass on Wednesday morning, Psaki said it “felt important to him personally to have members of both parties … and use that as an example to the American public.”
Bedingfield says Biden will sign 15 executive orders in some of his first moves as president.
As the sun rose over Washington’s Freedom Plaza between the U.S. Capitol and the White House ahead of Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration, clusters of soldiers in full battle fatigues clustered inside metal barriers erected to restrict access to the procession route.
Some yellow placards on the barriers read “Biden-Harris 2021,” while others carried the seal of the presidency or inaugural insignias. American and District of Columbia flags flapped in high winds.
Traffic has been blocked off nearby in all directions. Revelers have been told to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Most offices in the surrounding buildings are closed, many boarded up with plywood to prevent damage in case violence breaks out Wednesday.
But one tall office building in view of the procession route has been fitted with towering signs reading “Welcome, Mr. President” and “Welcome Madam Vice President,” for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
After being sworn in, Biden is set to inspect the readiness of military troops in a traditional “pass in review.”