Biden inauguration live updates: Biden takes over at White House

Biden inauguration live updates: Biden takes over at White House
Alex Wong/Getty Images
| ABC News Radio


(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris embark on their first 100 days in office.

Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 20, 10:42 pm
Inauguration festivities end with fireworks display

The president and first lady emerged from the White House shortly before 10 p.m. to watch a fireworks display that ended the inaugural festivities on Wednesday night.

While the Bidens were on the Blue Room Balcony, the vice president and second gentleman watched from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Harris had spoken to the public a few minutes earlier and where Katy Perry was performing her song, “Firework.”

Jan 20, 10:28 pm
Former presidents call for unity, wish Biden luck in video

In a show of unity and bipartisanship, the three former president who attended Wednesday’s inauguration recorded a video while they were at Arlington National Cemetery earlier in the day.

Former President Barack Obama kicked off the discussion, noting his pride in watching his former vice president and the first Black, South Asian American and female vice president being sworn into office. Then the group turned to address the day’s theme of unity.

“I think that the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country,” said former President George W. Bush.

He also called on Americans to love one another the way they’d like to be loved, while former President Bill Clinton said more directly, that “everybody needs to get off their high horse and reach out to their friend and neighbors to try to make it possible.”

The three former presidents ended the video by offering some parting words to Biden.

“Mr. President, I’m pulling for your success. Your success is our country’s success,” Bush said, paraphrasing a message his father left for Clinton during their transition.

“I’m glad you’re there,” Clinton said. “And I wish you well. You have spoken for us today. Now you will lead for us and we’re ready to march with you.”

And Obama told his former vice president that they’d all be there for him.

“Joe, I’m proud of you. And you and Kamala need to know that you’ve got all of us here rooting for your success, keeping you in our prayers, and we will be available in any ways that we can as citizens to help you guide our country forward,” Obama said. “We wish you godspeed.”

Jan 20, 9:50 pm
Harris addresses nation for first time since taking oath

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the public for the first time since taking the oath of office during the “Celebrating America” inaugural program Wednesday night and she echoed Biden’s call for unity and overcoming adversity.

“In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are,” Harris said. “Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless, and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration.”

The vice president referenced Abraham Lincoln’s work with land grant colleges and the transcontinental railroad during the Civil War and Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for racial justice during the Civil Rights Movement as aspirational moments.

“American aspiration is what drove the women of this nation throughout history to demand equal rights and the authors of the Bill of Rights to claim freedoms that had rarely been written down before,” she said. “A great experiment takes great determination. The will to do the work and then the wisdom to keep refining, keep tinkering, keep perfecting.”
This “same determination,” she continued, “is being realized in America today,” through the work of scientists and parents nurturing the next generation of educators and innovators.
“This, too, is American aspiration,” she said. “This is what president Joe Biden has called upon us to summon now. The courage to see beyond crisis, to do what is hard, to do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together.”

Jan 20, 9:24 pm
Former presidents record message for Inauguration Day

Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama highlighted the importance of a peaceful transfer of power in a new video message set to air Wednesday night, ABC News confirmed.

The video, organized by the inaugural committee, features a conversation with the leaders about upholding democracy and staying civically engaged.

The three were the only former presidents at the inauguration ceremony. Jimmy Carter was unable to attend and Donald Trump left the White House ahead of the swearing-in.

Jan 20, 9:18 pm
Biden: ‘I’ve never been more optimistic about America’

The president continued to stress unity and optimism despite the challenges the U.S. faces during the inauguration’s “Celebrating America” program Wednesday night.

“This is a great nation. We’re a good people. And overcoming the challenges in front of us requires the most elusive things in a democracy — unity,” Biden said during live remarks from the Lincoln Memorial, after being introduced by host Tom Hanks.

“It requires us to come together in common love that defines us as Americans,” he continued. “America’s story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but all of us. On we, the people. That’s the task before us.”

He described this moment — confronted with a “pandemic, economic crisis, racial injustice, a climate crisis, and threats to our very democracy” — as one that asks more of Americans, and said he believes the country will rise to the occasion.

“You, the American people are the reason why I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day,” Biden said. “There isn’t anything we can’t do if we do it together.”

Jan 20, 8:33 pm
Harris won’t immediately move into VP’s residence due to repairs

Kamala Harris will not immediately move into the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory, an aide confirmed to ABC News.

The unspecified delay is to “allow for repairs to the home that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied,” the aide said.

The repairs are to replace the liners in the chimneys “and other household maintenance,” the aide said.

-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

Jan 20, 7:51 pm
Biden felt like he was ‘coming home’ on 1st day

Biden felt like he was “coming home” after being sworn in as president Wednesday, according to the White House press secretary.

“Remember, he spent eight years here as the vice president, playing an important role as a partner to President Obama. And, you know, that was the emotion that overtook him today,” Jen Psaki said during a press briefing when asked what it was like for Biden to be in the Oval Office.

The president also felt an “incredible sense of calm” and “joy” on Wednesday, she said.

“He spent the day with his family and his grandchildren and his children, and that always has an impact, I think,” Psaki said.

Jan 20, 7:42 pm
Biden signed 15 legislative actions on Day One

Biden signed 15 legislative actions on his first day in office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing, several of which reversed actions by the previous administration.

The president signed an executive order reversing Trump’s decisions to withdraw from the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Biden also put an end to the so-called Muslim Ban, “a policy rooted in religious animus and xenophobia,” Psaki said, and signed a proclamation halting further funding or construction of the border wall and terminating the emergency diversion of funds for wall construction.

A broad executive order would also roll back regulatory reversals made by the Trump administration and place a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the press secretary said.



Biden also sent his immigration bill to Congress. The act would provide long-term residents an opportunity to earn citizenship and “ensure that America can remain a refuge” for those fleeing prosecution, Psaki said. Biden additionally directed the secretary of homeland security to preserve the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Other actions addressed the coronavirus pandemic and economic relief, including a mask mandate on federal grounds, appointing a COVID-19 response coordinator and asking relevant agencies to extend nationwide moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures and the pause on student loan payments and interests.
Biden also launched an effort to “advance racial equity and root out systemic racism from federal programs and institutions,” Psaki said.

Jan 20, 7:10 pm
Senate confirms 1st member of Biden’s Cabinet

The Senate confirmed Avril Haines as director of national intelligence by a vote of 84 to 10.

She is the first member of Biden’s Cabinet to secure confirmation.

Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and served as principal deputy national security adviser under former President Barack Obama. She was the first woman to hold both of those roles.

With the Senate’s vote, Haines would become the first woman to lead the country’s intelligence community.

Haines replaces former President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, who served in the post for under a year.

-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin, Shannon Crawford, Libby Cathey and Meredith Deliso

Jan 20, 6:32 pm
Senate voting to confirm 1st member of Biden’s Cabinet

The Senate is voting to confirm Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

If approved, she would be the first member of Biden’s Cabinet to secure confirmation.

Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and served as principal deputy national security adviser under former President Barack Obama. She was the first woman to hold both of those roles.

With the Senate’s vote, Haines would become the first woman to lead the country’s intelligence community.

Haines would replace former President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, who served in the post for under a year.

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford, Libby Cathey and Meredith Deliso

Jan 20, 6:29 pm
Biden swears in Day One presidential appointees in virtual ceremony

Biden swore in hundreds of White House staff and agency appointees during a virtual ceremony Wednesday evening, saying he expects “honesty and decency” from the public servants.

“We have to restore the soul of this country,” Biden told the appointees. “And I’m counting on all of you to be part of that, and it’s not hyperbole.”

He reiterated that point when he added, “But I’m not joking when I say this: if you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot — on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts — everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity.”

He administered the oath in the State Dining Room of the White House, as appointees appeared remotely on several large screens.

“As my mom would say, God love y’all,” Biden said after the swearing-in. “We got a lot of work to do. Thank you for being willing to join.”

Jan 20, 5:52 pm
Biden says Trump wrote him ‘a very generous letter’

Appearing before reporters in the Oval Office for the first time since he was sworn in, Biden described the letter left for him by Donald Trump as “very generous,” but said he would not say more until he has spoken with the former president.
“The president wrote a very generous letter,” Biden said in response to a question from ABC News. “Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous.”



-ABC News’ Molly Nagle and Ben Gittleson

Jan 20, 5:42 pm
Schumer, McConnell urge ‘unity’ as power balance shifts in Senate

With the Democrats taking control of the Senate, both Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to urge unity as the country remains divided in the tumultuous aftermath of the 2020 election season.

“In his inaugural address, President Biden spoke to this moment, a moment of great great challenge, and told us two simple truths. One, that our responsibilities are numerous. And, two, it will take unity, unity of spirit, unity of purpose to fulfill them,” Schumer told senators.

“But we must now turn the spirit of his words into action. The Senate must immediately set to work on the mission President Biden described — restoring the greatness and goodness of America,” he added.

McConnell, speaking as minority leader for the first time in six years, echoed Schumer’s calls for unity while arguing the Democrats’ mandate is slim.

“Our country deserves for both sides, both parties to find common ground for the common good everywhere that we can and disagree respectfully where we must. Last fall, the American people chose to elect a narrowly divided House of Representatives, a 50-50 Senate and a president who promised unity,” McConnell said.

“The people intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power to shape our nation’s direction. May we work together to honor that trust.”

Speaking for the first time as majority leader, Schumer also expressed his gratitude and recognized the historic nature of his holding the position as the first Jewish American and New Yorker to assume the post.

“(The Senate) will turn to Democratic control under the first New York-born majority leader in American history, a kid from Brooklyn, the son of an exterminator and a housewife, descendent of victims of the Holocaust … today I feel the full weight of that responsibility,” the majority leader said.

Jan 20, 4:56 pm
Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader

With the swearing in of Sens. John Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., becomes the new majority leader, replacing Sen. Mitch McConnell, who now becomes minority leader.

Schumer has served as senator from New York for over 22 years, assuming the role as the leader of Senate Democrats in 2017. Before he entered the Senate, the new majority leader represented Brooklyn and Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives.

With the Senate split 50-50, Schumer and McConnell are still working out how they will share power. The senators are negotiating a schedule that will include confirming nominations to executive branch positions, passing legislation to confront the coronavirus and voting on the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Jan 20, 4:54 pm
Democrats take majority of Senate

In one of her first official acts as vice president, Harris administered oaths of office to her successor from California and the winners of the Georgia Senate runoff races — giving the Democrats control of the Senate.

Sen. Alex Padilla, the former California secretary of state nominated to the Senate by Gov. Gavin Newsom, will serve out Harris’ vacated term as the state’s junior senator.

After winning the contentious Georgia Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5, Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock give Democrats the majority in the Senate as they seek to carry out Biden and Harris’ new agenda.

Following the swearing-in of the three senators, it is expected that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, will be designated as president pro-tempore emeritus and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., will be elected as president pro-tempore of the Senate. Later, the body is expected to appoint secretaries for the majority and minority.

With the Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, Harris will likely need to cast tie-breaking votes in the body.

Jan 20, 4:34 pm
Harris arrives on White House grounds for 1st time as vice president

Closing out the inaugural parade, Vice President Kamala Harris — the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to serve as the country’s second in command — and husband Doug Emhoff — the nation’s first second gentlemen — were escorted in their first walk onto the White House grounds by the Howard University Showtime Marching Band.

As ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega and other reporters shouted questions at Harris as she walked by to enter the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door where the vice president’s office is located, she was asked, “What’s your first job?”

“Walking to work,” Harris replied, accompanied on that first walk by Howard’s marching band.

Harris, a proud alum of Howard University, is also the first graduate of a historically Black university in the White House.

She made her Howard education a central part of her campaign for president and nodded to her “HBCU brothers and sisters” when accepting Biden’s offer to join him on the now-winning ticket.

Later on in the day, Harris will return to Capitol Hill to swear in Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and her successor, Alex Padilla of California — triggering Democrats taking the majority in the Senate where Harris will cast tie-breaking votes as Senate president.

Jan 20, 3:50 pm
Biden arrives at the White House for the 1st time as president

Biden, for the first time as the 46th president of the United States, has arrived at the White House, his expected home for the next four years, holding hands with the first family, all donning masks, after walking the final blocks.

The day’s inaugural ceremonies are set to continue into the night.

Biden is slated to sign executive orders in the Oval Office Wednesday evening and swear-in Day One appointees in a virtual ceremony. Biden and Harris are then scheduled to deliver remarks before 9 p.m. during the “Celebrating America” inaugural program and close the night out with a wave to the nation from the Blue Room Balcony.

Unlike previous administrations, Biden comes into office without any of his Cabinet nominees confirmed. As he enters the White House, his nominees enter Day One performing in an acting capacity.

Jan 20, 3:33 pm
Biden receives 1st presidential escort to the White House with Washington under tight security

As Biden and Harris receive their first presidential escort to the White House, they’re surrounded by a fortified Washington, D.C.

At least 25,000 National Guard members are in the District to safeguard the inaugural ceremonies after a seige on the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago heightened security concerns.

And at least a dozen Army National Guard members were removed from the inauguration security mission this week, including two members who were sent home after vetting uncovered extremist links, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Jan 20, 2:55 pm
Biden, Harris visit Arlington National Cemetery with Obama, Bush, Clinton

The newly-anointed first and second families are at Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Biden and Harris are accompanied by all living former presidents — other than now former President Donald Trump, who landed in his Florida Resort earlier in the day without greeting Biden, and former President Jimmy Carter, who spoke with Biden and sent his well wishes but was unable to travel due to coronavirus concerns.

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined now President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in a historic moment at the solemn site. At the start of the ceremony, a military band played the “National Anthem” and “Taps.”

When Biden’s motorcade arrived, now with a “46” on the limo’s license plate, smoke from the traditional 21-gun salute drifted through the air.

Jan 20, 2:32 pm
Biden reviews the readiness of military troops

In another customary event, Biden — the nation’s new commander in chief — reviewed the readiness of troops from the steps of the Capitol’s East Front.

Pass in Review is a military tradition in which the incoming president reviews the readiness of military troops with every branch of the military represented in the demonstration.

At the conclusion of the inauguration ceremonies on Capitol Hill, troops in Revolutionary War-era uniforms, some with instruments — and all in masks — marched before the first and second families to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Following the pass, Biden, Harris and their families headed to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In a show of unity, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined them.

Jan 20, 2:17 pm
Congressional leaders present gifts to Biden

In their first promenade around Capitol Hill in their new roles, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were presented with gifts from congressional leaders — a light-hearted, customary event that featured laughter and jokes in a familiar atmosphere given both Biden’s and Harris’ ties to the Senate.

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., presented Biden and Harris with custom-made crystal vases, which the Lenox Company has crafted for the last nine inaugurations, with Biden’s vase featuring the White House and Harris’ featuring the Capitol. She said they “represent the hope and the faith the American people have placed in you to move our country forward.”

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened his remarks with a light joke, saying he “had to note” that “not only did we just swear in a son and daughter of the Senate to these high offices but both these former senators skipped the House altogether.”

McConnell went on to give Harris a flag that flew over the earlier swearing-in ceremony and praise her history-making moment.

“Today this flag flew over our former colleagues’ inauguration as the very first female vice president of the United States, so to our very distinguished colleague, madam vice president,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then also presented an inauguration flag to Biden, which she stressed was a “symbol of the hope, healing and the enthusiasm that you have for our country.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — who objected to election results — presented Harris, “a proud daughter of California,” with a photo of the moment she took the oath on the Capitol steps. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., presented the same to Biden, invoking their shared faith and appreciation of hymns.

Jan 20, 1:34 pm
Biden signs first documents as president

As is customary after taking the oath of office, Biden signed three documents while in the President’s Room at the Capitol, according to the office of the president.

Biden signed an Inauguration Day Proclamation, nominations to Cabinet positions and nominations to sub-Cabinet positions.



Traditionally, a luncheon on Capitol Hill follows the signing, but with coronavirus concerns it was canceled this year.

Jan 20, 1:07 pm
Biden, Harris send first tweets in office from new accounts

The first tweet from Biden as president using the @POTUS Twitter account handle has hit the internet.

“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,” it reads.



Moments after she took the oath of office, Vice President Kamala Harris issued her first tweet through her new Twitter handle as vice president.



All White House Twitter accounts have now been transitioned from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, Twitter announced.

Jan 20, 12:56 pm
Pence departs the Capitol

Former Vice President Mike Pence — now also the former president of the Senate — and former second lady Karen Pence have departed the Capitol following the inaugural ceremonies.

Harris and Pence greeted each other at the event after Pence left a handwritten note for Harris and called her last week — 68 days after Biden and Harris were projected the winners.

Jan 20, 12:53 pm
Amanda Gorman, youngest poet to read at the inauguration in recent history, reads ‘The Hill We Climb’

Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet to read at the inauguration in recent history and the first national youth poet laureate, read her poem “The Hill We Climb,” following Biden’s inaugural address.

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy,” she said. “And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”



“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid,” she added at the end of the poem. “The new dawn blooms as we free it for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.

Jan 20, 12:36 pm
Jennifer Lopez sings ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘This Land is Your Land,’ Garth Brooks sings ‘Amazing Grace’

Before Biden took the oath of office, Jennifer Lopez sang “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land.”

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, introducing the oath of office, commented that this was the first inauguration where “J. Lo was the warm-up act for Chief Justice Roberts.”



Following Biden’s inaugural address, country singer Garth Brooks sang “Amazing Grace,” asking the country to join in for the last verse of the song.

Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, called the song one “in our culture is as close to both poetry and prayer as you could possibly come.”

Jan 20, 12:40 pm
Biden says next chapter in American history will be one of ‘hope not fear’

In a hopeful inaugural address, which included extending an olive branch to those Americans who didn’t support him, Biden said — with a united front — the nation will go on from this day to “write the next chapter in American history.”


“My fellow Americans, I close the day where I began, with a sacred oath before God and all of you. I give you my word, I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I’ll defend our democracy. I’ll defend America,” Biden said.

“I do in your service, thinking not of power but of possibilities, not of personal injuries but the public good. And together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness,” Biden continued.



Biden received over 81 million votes in the election, but throughout his remarks he reached across the aisle, asking those 74 million who didn’t vote for him to measure him by his heart, saying he would fight for them just as much as for those who supported him — repeating a promise Biden made on the campaign trail.

Invoking his Catholic faith, Biden went on to say, “May this be the story that guides us, the story that inspires us, and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history, we met the moment.”

“With purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasked of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and may God protect our troops,” he said to finish his first speech as president.



Jan 20, 12:30 pm
Biden calls on nation to end ‘this uncivil war’

In his first speech as president, illustrating his empathy and his personal upbringing, Biden addressed his “fellow Americans” who may view the future with fear and trepidation — but called on them not to turn inwards in difficult times.

“The answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you or worship the way you do or don’t get their news from the same source as you do,” Biden said. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus — rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.”

“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we are willing to stand in the other person’s shoes,” he continued.



Biden did not say the word “Trump” in his speech — nor did any of the speakers who preceded him.

Jan 20, 12:20 pm
Biden asks nation to join in silent prayer as first act as president

In his first act as president, Biden asked the nation to join in a moment of silent prayer for those who have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been through so much in this nation,” Biden said during his inaugural address. “In my first act as president, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those who we lost in this past year to the pandemic, those 400,000 fellow Americans — moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and co-workers.”



“We’ll honor them by becoming the people and the nation we know we can and should be,” he added.

On Tuesday, the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 400,000 people in the U.S.

Jan 20, 12:21 pm
Biden focuses on commitment to unity in inaugural address

In a speech that stood in sharp contrast to his predecessors’ message of “American carnage,” Biden quoted Abraham Lincoln, before making his own commitment to devote his time in office to uniting the nation and calling on Americans to open their souls to each other, too.
“In another January, on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “If my name ever goes down into history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it,” Biden said.



“My whole soul is in it,” Biden continued to applause. “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.”
He also took a moment to recognize the historic nature of Kamala Harris being sworn-in as the nation’s first woman and South Asian woman, to become vice president.
“Here we stand, looking out on the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where, 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today, we mark the swearing of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris.”

Jan 20, 12:12 pm
Biden gives first speech as president

Biden is delivering his first speech since taking the oath of office and assuming the office of the presidency moments before on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol — calling on Americans to meet in this moment with a united front and start fresh without political divisions.

“This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew. And America has risen to the challenge,” Biden began. “Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause — the cause of democracy.”

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious,” Biden said from the steps stormed, two weeks before, by a pro-Trump mob. “Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

Speaking directly to the nation, Biden called country’s current state a “historic moment of crisis and challenge” but said “unity is the path forward” and asked Americans to “start fresh” and “begin to listen to one another again.”

“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured,” he said.

Jan 20, 11:51 am
Biden takes oath of office, assumes presidency

President Joe Biden has taken the oath of office — becoming the 46th president of the United States.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office.

Roberts congratulated Biden as “Mr. President.”

“Hail to the Chief” then played for the first time for Biden.

The oath comes after nearly 50 years in public life for Biden, three tries for the White House and after a victory delayed by vote counts, complicated by potential legal challenges and unacknowledged by the outgoing president.

Laying his hand on the massive Biden family bible held by his wife, Jill Biden, Biden ended the oath with a signature grin on his face.

Jan 20, 11:47 am
Harris takes oath of office, first woman to assume vice presidency

Vice President Kamala Harris has taken the oath of office — becoming first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to assume the office of vice president.



Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, administered the oath of office to Harris.

Harris had her hand on two bibles. One previously belonged to Regina Shelton, who was like a second mother to Harris and her sister Maya. The second bible belonged to Justice Thurgood Marshall, someone who inspired Harris’ career.

Jan 20, 11:44 am
Lady Gaga signs that National Anthem

International superstar Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem into a gold microphone on the West Front steps of the Capitol for the inaugural ceremonies — to cheers and applause from the limited audience.

Gaga wore a long sleeve black dress with a pouffy red skirt and golden eagle broach across her heart..

Captain Andrea Hall, the first African American female firefighter to become captain of the Fire Rescue Department in South Fulton, Georgia, read the pledge of allegiance.

Jan 20, 11:35 am
Klobuchar kicks off inaugural ceremonies’ speeches ahead of Biden, Harris taking oaths

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., one of the chairs on the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, kicked off the inauguration by acknowledging the attack on the Capitol two weeks ago.

“Two weeks ago when an angry violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans,” Klobuchar began. “This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America always does: goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”



She also acknowledged the historic nature of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ ascension to office as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to be sworn in as vice president.

“When she takes the oath of office, little girls and boys across the world will know that anything and everything is possible,” Klobuchar said. “And in the end, that is America, our democracy, a country of so much good, and today, on these Capitol steps and before this glorious field of flags, we rededicate ourselves to its cause.”

Jan 20, 11:29 am
A sign of the times: inaugural guests wearing masks, some lawmakers in body armor

Guests at Wednesday’s inauguration are all wearing masks, a sign of the COVID-19 pandemic which has officially killed more than 400,000 Americans.

And following the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, several members of Congress are wearing body armor, ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce reported.



ABC reporter Benjamin Siegel saw some Democrats greeting each other by tapping each other on the chest, a “sort of a subtle acknowledgement that they are prepared,” Bruce said.

Jan 20, 11:17 am
6 of 9 SCOTUS justices present at inauguration

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor are administering the oaths of office at the presidential inaugural ceremonies on Capitol Hill.

The vice president-elect — making history as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American vice president — will be sworn in by Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

All three Trump appointees to the high court — Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett are also in attendance with Barrett appearing in public in her black judicial robe for the first time.

The court says Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas opted not to attend because of public health risks from the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first time since 2001 that the entire court is not in attendance at an inauguration.

Jan 20, 11:07 am
Trump, Pence leave handwritten notes for successors

Vice President Mike Pence has left a handwritten note for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, an aide to Pence confirmed, meaning both Trump and Pence left behind notes for their successors.

Trump did not make direct contact with Biden beyond the note left in the Oval Office earlier Wednesday morning.

Pence spoke with Harris on a call last Thursday, sources familiar with the call told ABC News, 68 days after Biden and Harris were projected the winners.

The outgoing vice president is on Capitol Hill for the inaugural ceremonies and did not attend Trump’s earlier sendoffs at the White House or Joint Base Andrews.

Jan 20, 10:54 am
Officer who led rioters away from Senate to escort Harris

Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from the Senate chamber during the Capitol assault two weeks ago, is escorting Kamala Harris at the inaugural ceremonies.

Goodman has been named an honorary deputy House Sergeant at Arms for the day, ABC News has learned.

Three members of Congress introduced a bill last week to honor Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal “for his bravery and quick thinking.”

Jan 20, 10:30 am
Bipartisan and star-studded showing for Capitol Hill ceremonies

Ahead of Biden being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, guests are arriving at a fortified U.S. Capitol — where just two weeks to the day pro-Trump supporters stormed the West Front steps.

But two weeks later, even Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley — who objected to Biden’s Electoral College victory that same day — have arrived on Capitol Hill for Biden’s inauguration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who attended Mass with Biden earlier and has condemned Trump, who he said “provoked” the mob — has also arrived with wife Elaine Chao, Trump’s former transportation secretary who became the first Cabinet member to resign because of the Capitol riot.

Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, also present, told reporters he was there to “honor this process,” adding that Biden was “legitimately elected.”

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have arrived, as well, with Michelle Obama posting on Instagram shortly before that she is feeling “hopeful for what’s to come.”

Former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez was also spotted on the carpet ahead of Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Garth Brooks’ performances.

Jan 20, 10:17 am
Incoming White House adviser previews Biden’s speech on Capitol West Front

In an earlier interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, incoming White House communications director Kate Bedingfield spoke about Biden’s inaugural address, reiterating Biden plans to strike an optimistic tone in the forward-looking remarks calling for unity and drawing inspiration from his time on the campaign trail.
“He spent the last year and a half traveling the country and then when he couldn’t travel the country speaking virtually with people all over the country, hearing their story, hearing about their resilience, seeing them being the best that they could be in their communities in incredibly hard times,” Bedingfield said.

On NBC’s Today program, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said despite heighted concerns around security, Biden’s team thought it was “important” to take the oath of office outside at the Capitol.

“It sends an incredibly powerful message to the country and to the world, to see the president of the United States being sworn in outside. We’ve taken a number of precautions. We have heeded the advice and guidance of our security team, of the secret service, who have been preparing for this for a year,” she said.

After attending Mass with bipartisan congressional leaders, Biden and Harris are headed to their inaugural ceremonies on Capitol Hill where leaders on both sides of the aisle have already showed up.

Jan 20, 10:14 am
Obama tells Biden: ‘This is your time’

Former President Barack Obama has tweeted to his former vice president, “Congratulations to my friend, President @JoeBiden! This is your time.”



After the inaugural ceremonies on Capitol Hill, Obama and Michelle Obama are expected to join Biden and Harris at Arlington National Cemetery in the afternoon, where the new leaders of the free world will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In a show of unity, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton are also expected to attend.

Jan 20, 10:12 am
Biden plans ‘dozens’ of executive actions in first days

Not long after he takes the presidential oath Wednesday, Joe Biden will use the power of his pen to begin a sweeping transformation of U.S. policy through dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda and other official directives.

The wave of executive action will unfold over Biden’s first 10 days, according to incoming administration officials. If the plan plays out as expected, the number, scope and impact of the new president’s early moves would exceed those undertaken by his three most recent predecessors.

Jan 20, 9:56 am
Harris promotes Black designers, Bidens wearing American designers

Harris — making history as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to be sworn in as vice president — will be wearing a look designed by Black designers when she takes the oath of office.

Harris is wearing Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Christopher is a young Black designer, from Baton Rouge, and lives in New York City. Sergio is Black designer from South Carolina, according to a Harris aide. The second gentleman is wearing a Ralph Lauren suit.

The future first couple is also wearing American designers for Inauguration Day.

Biden is wearing a navy suit and overcoat, both by Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden is wearing a custom-made ocean blue wool tweed coat and dress by emerging designer Alexandra O’Neil of Markarian, according to the Biden transition.

Jan 20, 9:22 am
Why Joe Biden’s inauguration will be like no other — and how to watch

In the wake of the violent and deadly breach of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be unlike any other in American history.

Jan 20, 9:13 am
Trump left Biden a note in the Oval Office

Trump has left a note in the Oval Office for Biden, ABC News has learned.

The content of the note is not clear at this time.

The development comes after Biden’s communications director told ABC’s Good Morning America that Trump still hadn’t made direct contact with the president-elect.

Jan 20, 9:15 am
BIden attends Mass with congressional leaders in show of unity

Biden, a devout Catholic and the second to take the presidency, is starting Inauguration Day with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, joined by the top congressional leaders.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — another devout Catholic — outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined Biden for the service, along with his wife, Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff — the nation’s first second gentlemen.

Biden extended invitations to top congressional leaders. In a show of unity, all accepted those invites.

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Chairs Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., were also in attendance.

Faith has played a significant role in Biden’s life — when he lost his wife Neilia and young daughter Naomi in a horrific 1972 car accident in which his young sons Beau and Hunter were severely injured. Beau died of a brain tumor in 2015 at age 46.

An Irish violinist will play and soprano Renee Fleming will sing “On Eagle’s Wings” — the Catholic hymn Biden said his son loved and which he quoted from in his November victory speech.

Jan 20, 9:03 am
Trump at send-off rally: ‘We will be back in some form’

With the trappings of a Trump rally on a cold and windy morning, President Trump arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland just after 8:30 a.m. on Biden’s Inauguration Day to once again try to rewrite the history of the last four years.

A military band played “All Hail the Chief” as Trump walked onto a small stage, lined with American flags, and up to a lectern bearing the presidential seal. He first praised his own family — whom he put into positions of power, breaking with presidential norms — and singled out first lady Melania Trump — known for her privacy — to say a few words.

“Being your first lady was my greatest honor. Thank you for your love and your support. You will be in my thoughts and prayers,” she said.

Trump ticked off his accomplishments, spoke about the pandemic in past tense and predicted a boom in the stock market in the coming weeks, before offering a warning of the new administration — without ever mentioning Biden’s name. 

“I hope they don’t raise your taxes,” Trump said, “but if they do, I told you so!”

He later added, “I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular.”

“So just a good-bye. We love you. We will be back in some form,” Trump vowed. “Have a good life. We will see you soon.”

Trump is now headed on Air Force One to his resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the final time as president.

Jan 20, 8:25 am
Trump departs White House for last time as president

President Trump departed the White House for the final time as president — leaving embattled, twice-impeached and with his lowest approval rating in his four years in office.

Trump, in a black suit with a white dress shirt and trademark red tie, alongside outgoing first lady Melania Trump, in a black dress and coat, walked out on a red carpet before Trump briefly spoke to reporters and, for one last time as president, boarded Marine One, to depart the White House.

Trump’s unconventional, norm-busting approach to the country’s institutions — that will likely outlast the one-term leader and leave a transformative and divisive legacy in Washington — continue on Biden’s Inauguration Day.

He is not greeting the incoming president on the North Portico and joining him to the Capitol, as is tradition, but leaving town early for his Mar-a-Lago Resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, while he still bears the title as president and the aeronautical resources the office provides.

Aides were seen carrying boxes to Marine One ahead of Trump’s departure.

As Trump continues to refuse to accept the election results, he has also refused to make contact with the incoming president, despite the Bidens staying across the street Monday night in Blair House — far from the warm welcomes given by previous presidents to their successors, no matter the party lines.

Vice President Mike Pence will not appear at Trump’s departure at the White House, nor his “military-style send-off” at Joint Base Andrews. The outgoing vice president is scheduled to attend Biden’s inauguration.

Though hours remain in his presidency, Trump hasn’t heard the last of Washington either as he still faces a second impeachment trial in the Senate.

Jan 20, 8:01 am
Trump did not invite Biden to White House, has made no contact

Despite Biden and his family staying just across the street overnight in Blair House — outgoing President Trump did not invite them to the White House and still has not made contact with the president-elect with just hours to go until one loses the power of the presidency and the other gains it.

Incoming White House communications director Kate Bedingfield was asked directly by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America whether Biden has had “any contact at all, direct contact, with President Trump.”

“He has not, no,” Bedingfield said.

Trump is skipping Biden’s inauguration this morning and the traditional welcome on the White House North Portico to star in his own cold and windy sendoff at Joint Base Andrews while he still bears the title of president  — making him the first president to skip his successor’s swearing since an impeached Andrew Johnson in 1869 snubbed Ulysses Grant.

Jan 20, 7:40 am
Biden prepares to take office as Trump leaves Washington behind

Biden is waking up as president-elect at Blair House — across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, where in a matter of hours he will enter as the 46th president of the United States.

Assuming the office on his third try for the White House, Biden is assuming a busy schedule for his first day alongside soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris — who is making history as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to serve as the country’s second in command.

Biden and wife Jill Biden and Harris and husband Doug Emhoff — the nation’s first second gentlemen — will begin the morning with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. In a show of unity, Biden extended invitations and is expected to be joined by bipartisan congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The inaugural ceremonies, limited in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic, begin at 11:30 a.m. at a fortified U.S. Capitol — two weeks to the date pro-Trump supporters stormed the West Front steps. Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ahead of Biden who will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at noon, as 25,000 National Guard members patrol the Washington area.

After taking their oaths of office, Biden and Harris will head to Arlington National Cemetery and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California will also be sworn into office by the new vice president at an afternoon ceremony at the Capitol — triggering Democrats taking the majority in the Senate as Harris will cast tie-breaking votes as president of the Senate.

In the evening, Biden will sign executive orders in the Oval Office and swear in Day One appointees in a virtual ceremony. Biden and Harris are then scheduled to deliver remarks before 9 p.m. during the “Celebrating America” inaugural program and close off the night with a wave to the nation from the Blue Room Balcony.

Meanwhile, with their titles until noon, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to depart the White House around 8 a.m. for Palm Beach, Florida, on Air Force One with a “military-style send-off” for Trump as Joint Base Andrews, per his request. Though Trump’s presidency will soon be over, his presence will loom in Washington as he still faces a second impeachment trial in the Senate.

Jan 20, 5:02 am
Biden to sign 15 executive orders on Inauguration Day

President-elect Joe Biden will sign 15 executive actions on this first day as president — an increase in the number of executive orders initially previewed by incoming Chief of Staff Ron Klain this weekend and a show of force by Biden as he occupies the Oval Office.
The orders take aim at undoing much of President Trump’s signature and controversial actions during his four years as president including reversing the Muslim ban, stopping construction of the border wall, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and preserving the DACA program.
Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki stressed that while Biden’s actions would directly address some actions taken under Trump, the focus of Biden’s Inauguration Day work will be looking ahead.
“His focus is on moving the country forward and that will be thematic tomorrow and in all of the actions he’s taking,” she said, adding that Biden will sign the executive orders in the Oval Office and the text of the orders will be released after they’re signed.
On a call with reporters Tuesday night, several of Biden’s top policy advisors, including COVID-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zeints; incoming National Economic Council director, Brian Deese; incoming White House Domestic Climate Policy Director Gina McCarthy; incoming White House Domestic Policy Council Director Ambassador Susan Rice; and incoming national security adviser to the president, Jake Sullivan, spoke about the specific actions Biden will take on his first day.
Biden’s team emphasized that the actions listed on the call were not comprehensive of all executive actions Biden planned to take in his early days in office.
One of Biden’s orders will direct his Secretary of Homeland Security to take all legal actions to preserve and fortify DACA. This follows ABC reporting that Biden will be sending Congress a policy that includes an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants with no legal status and expanding admissions for refugees into the U.S.

Biden will also rescind the Trump Administration’s 1776 Commission and revoke Trump’s executive order that limited federal agencies from implementing diversity and inclusion training.
His order will also task the Office of Management and Budget with investing in underserved communities and communities of color.
And following last summer’s landmark SCOTUS case that protects LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination, another EO plans to build off of that to ensure the federal government interprets Title VII and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by this decision.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also a Day One issue and Biden will sign an order implementing his mask requirement in federal buildings and on federal land, as part of launching his “100 Days Mask Challenge,” which asks Americans to mask up for that time period.

Biden also plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on his first day in office and encourage federal agencies to review and appropriately address federal actions taken under the Trump administration, including revoking the Keystone pipeline permit.

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