Biden stands at the feet of the Lincoln Memorial and calls on Americans to heal at concert

President Joe Biden reiterated his calls for unity and insisted he believes the best is yet to come for the nation during his speech at the primetime inauguration special, Celebrating America, on Wednesday night.

Speaking at the Lincoln Memorial just hours after he was sworn into office as the 46th US President, Biden said: ‘It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words. Humbling out of respect to President Lincoln and the office we now share and humbling because of you, the American people.

‘As I said earlier today, we have learned again that democracy is precious and because of you democracy has prevailed.’

Biden continued that he and First Lady Jill, in addition to Vice President Kamala Harris and Doug, ‘wanted to make sure out inauguration was not about us but about you, the American people.’

‘This is a great nation. We’re a good people and [to] overcome the challenges in front of us requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy — unity. It requires us to come together in common love that defines us as Americans,’ he said.

After listing difficulties faced by the nation including the pandemic, an economic crisis, racial injustice, the climate crisis and internal threats to the country’s democracy, Biden asked rhetorically if Americans were up for the challenge.

‘Will we meet the moment like our forebears have?’ he asked. ‘I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America that I am this very day.’

‘There isn’t anything we can’t do, if we do it together,’ he added. ‘So thank you for this honor, I will give my all to you.’

In her first address as the nation’s Vice President, meanwhile, Kamala Harris talked about the power of ‘American Aspiration’. 

President Joe Biden reiterated his calls for unity and insisted he believes the ‘best is yet to come’ for the nation during his speech at the primetime inauguration special, Celebrating America, on Wednesday night

President Joe Biden reiterated his calls for unity and insisted he believes the ‘best is yet to come’ for the nation during his speech at the primetime inauguration special, Celebrating America, on Wednesday night

President Joe Biden reiterated his calls for unity and insisted he believes the ‘best is yet to come’ for the nation during his speech at the primetime inauguration special, Celebrating America, on Wednesday night

Speaking at the Lincoln Memorial just hours after he was sworn into office as the 46th US President, Biden said: ‘It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words'

Speaking at the Lincoln Memorial just hours after he was sworn into office as the 46th US President, Biden said: ‘It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words'

Speaking at the Lincoln Memorial just hours after he was sworn into office as the 46th US President, Biden said: ‘It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words’

‘Will we meet the moment like our forebears have?’ he asked. ‘I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America that I am this very day'

‘Will we meet the moment like our forebears have?’ he asked. ‘I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America that I am this very day'

‘Will we meet the moment like our forebears have?’ he asked. ‘I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America that I am this very day’

President Joe Biden adjusts his coat while first lady Jill Biden holds his gloves as they stand in the Lincoln Memoria

President Joe Biden adjusts his coat while first lady Jill Biden holds his gloves as they stand in the Lincoln Memoria

President Joe Biden adjusts his coat while first lady Jill Biden holds his gloves as they stand in the Lincoln Memoria

With the Washington Monument lit up behind her Wednesday night, Harris called on Americans to remember ‘we are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up.’

She also cast her ascension as the first female vice president as a demonstration of the nation´s character.

Borrowing a line she frequently used on the campaign trail, she said, ‘We not only see what has been – we see what can be.’

Harris gave a nod to American scientists, parents and teachers who are persevering through the coronavirus pandemic and encouraged people to ‘see beyond crises.’

The star-studded Celebrating America began at 8:30pm, and was hosted by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, in addition to Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington.

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen sang ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ as he stood alone with his guitar in front of the Lincoln Memorial to open the show. 

Springsteen said, ‘Good evening, America,’ to open the 90-minute special airing across several networks on Wednesday night in place of the usual official inaugural balls.

Performing the 1999 song of solace, Springsteen sang, ‘I will provide for you, and I´ll stand by your side. You’ll need a good companion, for this part of the ride.’

Other musical contributions throughout the show included live performances from Foo Fighters, Justin Timerlake and Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, and John Legend, who sang a rendition of ‘Feeling Good’. 

Host Tom Hanks, also at the Lincoln Memorial, introduced the show by saying, ‘In the last few weeks, in the last few years, we’ve witnessed deep divisions and a troubling rancor in our land. But tonight we ponder the United States of America.’ 

‘The practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of our Constitution, the hope and dreams we all share for a more perfect union.

‘To some, a presidential inauguration is a tradition, an act that marks the commitment of a new four-year term. Yet, in truth, Inauguration Day is more than the swearing in of the next national leaders. This day is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal.

Host Tom Hanks, also at the Lincoln Memorial, introduced the show by saying, ‘In the last few weeks, in the last few years, we’ve witnessed deep divisions and a troubling rancor in our land. But tonight we ponder the United States of America’

Springsteen said, 'Good evening, America,' to open the 90-minute special airing across several networks on Wednesday night in place of the usual official inaugural balls

Springsteen said, 'Good evening, America,' to open the 90-minute special airing across several networks on Wednesday night in place of the usual official inaugural balls

Springsteen said, ‘Good evening, America,’ to open the 90-minute special airing across several networks on Wednesday night in place of the usual official inaugural balls

Other musical contributions throughout the show included live performances from Foo Fighters, Justin Timerlake and Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, and John Legend, who sang a rendition of 'Feeling Good'.

Other musical contributions throughout the show included live performances from Foo Fighters, Justin Timerlake and Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, and John Legend, who sang a rendition of 'Feeling Good'.

Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi

Other musical contributions throughout the show included live performances from Foo Fighters, Justin Timerlake (left) and Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi (right), and John Legend, who sang a rendition of ‘Feeling Good’.

A special broadcast came from the International Space Station roughly 200 miles above earth, from NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and American crew members from Expedition 64.

‘We’re up here working with our international partners to find new scientific breakthroughs from improved vaccines to safer drinking water to help people all over the world,’ Rubins said. ‘Just as we’re celebrating two decades of global cooperation and space, it’s truly an honor for us to celebrate America today. As we unite for this historic inaugural tradition that spans more than two centuries.’ 

Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old who bonded with Biden earlier this year over their shared experience with stuttering, also made an appearance.

‘In the long history of the world only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger, I do not shrink from that responsibility. I welcome it,’ Harrington said. 

‘I do not believe that any of us will exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country,’ Harrington, who also spoke during last year’s Democratic National Convention, continued. 

Earlier Wednesday, President Biden appeared in the Oval Office for the first time to sign new executive orders and read the ‘private’ letter Donald Trump left for him.

‘The president wrote a very generous letter,’ Biden said. ‘Because it was private, I won’t talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous.’

Trump left a note on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, one of the rare traditions he followed in the peaceful transfer of power. Trump never invited Biden to the White House after the election nor did he attend Biden’s inauguration.

Biden wore a face mask as he sat behind the Resolute Desk to sign the executive orders. The visual was a stark change to former President Trump, who rarely wore a covering.

‘I thought there’s no time to wait,’ he said. ‘There’s no time to start like today.’

There was a large stack of folders on the desk and pictures of his family decorated the credenza behind him.

Biden signed three executive actions: one ordering a mask mandate on federal property, another providing ‘support for under served communities’ and the third was to rejoin the Paris climate accord. Trump removed the United States from the climate agreement and Biden vowed to restore America to the accord on the first day of his presidency.

‘As we indicated we will sign a number of the executive orders over the next several days to a week and I’m going to start today. The crisis of Covid-19 along with the economic crisis, and the climate crisis, the executive actions that we are signing will help change the course of the crisis,’ he said.  Biden is expected to sign many more executive orders in the day to come.

Shortly after signing the orders, Biden swore in nearly 1,000 federal appointees and staff in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House. He spoke from behind a lectern, while the appointees appeared at the event via video streams set up on a series of television screens.

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them ‘on the spot.’ He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump’s White House.  

And in another clear reference to Trump’s administration, Biden’s White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in her first briefing that she will strive to bring truth and transparency.

President Joe Biden appeared in the Oval Office for the first time on Wednesday afternoon to sign new executive orders and read the 'private' letter Donald Trump left for him

President Joe Biden appeared in the Oval Office for the first time on Wednesday afternoon to sign new executive orders and read the 'private' letter Donald Trump left for him

President Joe Biden appeared in the Oval Office for the first time on Wednesday afternoon to sign new executive orders and read the ‘private’ letter Donald Trump left for him

Biden wore a face mask as he sat behind the Resolute Desk to sign the executive orders. The visual was a stark change to former President Trump, who rarely wore a covering. 'I thought there's no time to wait,' he said. 'There's no time to start like today'

Biden wore a face mask as he sat behind the Resolute Desk to sign the executive orders. The visual was a stark change to former President Trump, who rarely wore a covering. 'I thought there's no time to wait,' he said. 'There's no time to start like today'

Biden wore a face mask as he sat behind the Resolute Desk to sign the executive orders. The visual was a stark change to former President Trump, who rarely wore a covering. ‘I thought there’s no time to wait,’ he said. ‘There’s no time to start like today’ 

There was a large stack of folders on the desk and pictures of his family decorated the credenza behind him 

Biden swore in nearly 1,000 federal appointees and staff in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House. He spoke from behind a lectern, while the appointees appeared at the event via video streams set up on a series of television screens

Biden swore in nearly 1,000 federal appointees and staff in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House. He spoke from behind a lectern, while the appointees appeared at the event via video streams set up on a series of television screens

Biden swore in nearly 1,000 federal appointees and staff in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House. He spoke from behind a lectern, while the appointees appeared at the event via video streams set up on a series of television screens 

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them 'on the spot.' He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump´s White House

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them 'on the spot.' He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump´s White House

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them ‘on the spot.’ He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump´s White House

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them 'on the spot.' He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump´s White House

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them 'on the spot.' He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump´s White House

The 46th president said if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them ‘on the spot.’ He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump´s White House 

Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House Wednesday, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: 'It feels like I'm going home'

Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House Wednesday, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: 'It feels like I'm going home'

Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House Wednesday, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: ‘It feels like I’m going home’

Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House Wednesday, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: 'It feels like I'm going home'

Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House Wednesday, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: 'It feels like I'm going home'

Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House Wednesday, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: ‘It feels like I’m going home’

Biden strolled into the White House, with a university of Delaware and Howard University band playing a fanfare, along with First Lady Jill Biden, agents, and family members

Biden strolled into the White House, with a university of Delaware and Howard University band playing a fanfare, along with First Lady Jill Biden, agents, and family members

Biden strolled into the White House, with a university of Delaware and Howard University band playing a fanfare, along with First Lady Jill Biden, agents, and family members

He kept up an inaugural tradition Barack Obama also maintained by walking for a brief portion of the parade route. But this time, Biden did it in the most secure part – Pennsylvania Avenue just in front of the White House, which was heavily secured

After past inaugurations, the new president and vice-president have traditionally traveled to Arlington, but on Wednesday afternoon the unofficial club of former presidents joined to echo the theme of Joe Biden's inaugural address. The 96-year-old Jimmy Carter did not come to the inauguration over COVID-19 concerns but congratulated Biden in a message

After past inaugurations, the new president and vice-president have traditionally traveled to Arlington, but on Wednesday afternoon the unofficial club of former presidents joined to echo the theme of Joe Biden's inaugural address. The 96-year-old Jimmy Carter did not come to the inauguration over COVID-19 concerns but congratulated Biden in a message

After past inaugurations, the new president and vice-president have traditionally traveled to Arlington, but on Wednesday afternoon the unofficial club of former presidents joined to echo the theme of Joe Biden’s inaugural address. The 96-year-old Jimmy Carter did not come to the inauguration over COVID-19 concerns but congratulated Biden in a message

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff salute from the entrance of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff salute from the entrance of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff salute from the entrance of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House

JOE BIDEN’S 15 DAY ONE EXECUTIVE ORDERS

1. Mask mandate requiring face coverings in federal buildings and land

2. Halt border wall construction by terminating the national emergency declaration used to fund it

3. End the ‘Muslim travel ban’ from seven countries

4. Reversal of Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement

5. Stop the U.S. from withdrawing from the World Health Organization

6. Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord to reduce fossil fuel emissions

7. Reinstate a requirement for non-citizens to be included in the Census

8. Reinforce DACA after Trump sought to end protections for undocumented people brought into the country as children

9. Dissolve the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission on history curriculum in schools

10.  Cancel construction of the Keystone XL oil and gas pipeline

11. Extend the existing pause on federal student loan payments 

12. Extend existing moratorium on evictions and foreclosures

13. Prevent workplaces from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity 

14. Undo Trump’s regulatory approval process

15. Extend deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a safe haven in the United States  

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Biden got to work soon after making a grand entrance into the White House, walking hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden to their new home and saying: ‘It feels like I’m going home.’  

It wasn’t quite the same as the typical public stretches of the historic Avenue past presidents have walked for photo-ops. Coronavirus and security kept away usual onlookers. But there were children interspersed along the brief stretch outside the Treasury and White House, along with press and aides.

He also greeted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser along the way – in a city that lacks representation in Congress that was the subject of street clashes and protests over the summer, and was put on lockdown by his inauguration and the Capitol riots.

Following suit was Vice President Kamala Harris, who left her own limo and got greeted by family members outside.

She and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff walked along a similar stretch, joined by his children and other family members. The first female vice president held hands with grand niece Amala as she approached the building.

‘Madam Vice President!’ shouted reporters trying to secure a comment. She was asked how it feels. ‘Walking to work,’ she said at one point.

The efforts to court the press were an attempt to reset relations with the media – the medium through which most Americans would see the inauguration with visitors all but shut down.

Donald Trump regularly railed against what he called the ‘fake news,’ whom he called the ‘enemy of the people’ – even as he provided frequent access to reporters during the period before the elections.

Harris then held hands with Emhoff, saluted a military honor guard, and walked up the steps to the Old Executive Office building, where the vice president’s office is located. The long steps to the building were lined with their own honor guard.

Earlier in the afternoon, Biden and Harris had their first show of unity as they participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier besides past presidents and first ladies from both parties – with the obvious exception of Donald Trump. 

Standing behind Biden and Harris at Arlington National Cemetery were former presidents Barack Obama and first ladies Michelle; George W. Bush and Laura; and Bill Clinton and Hillary. 

The message of cross-party unity could not have been clearer: three former presidents and first ladies coming together to salute the fallen.

After past inaugurations, the new president and vice-president have traditionally traveled to Arlington, but on Wednesday afternoon the unofficial club of former presidents joined to echo the theme of Joe Biden’s inaugural address. The 96-year-old Jimmy Carter did not come to the inauguration over COVID-19 concerns but congratulated Biden in a message. 

The scene of three former and one current commanders-in-chief mourning the fallen together underlined how Trump had made himself an outcast from America’s smallest – and most exclusive – club. 

He had railed against all three former presidents, especially Obama, but had also dismissed Bush, privately calling him a ‘dummy,’ while his one-time friendship with Bill Clinton was shattered by the bitterness of the 2016 election campaign.

Biden signed three executive actions: one ordering a mask mandate on federal property, another providing 'support for under served communities' and the third was to rejoin the Paris climate accord. Trump removed the United States from the climate agreement and Biden vowed to restore America to the accord on the first day of his presidency

Biden signed three executive actions: one ordering a mask mandate on federal property, another providing 'support for under served communities' and the third was to rejoin the Paris climate accord. Trump removed the United States from the climate agreement and Biden vowed to restore America to the accord on the first day of his presidency

Biden signed three executive actions: one ordering a mask mandate on federal property, another providing ‘support for under served communities’ and the third was to rejoin the Paris climate accord. Trump removed the United States from the climate agreement and Biden vowed to restore America to the accord on the first day of his presidency 

'As we indicated we will sign a number of the executive orders over the next several days to a week and I'm going to start today. The crisis of Covid-19 along with the economic crisis, and the climate crisis, the executive actions that we are signing will help change the course of the crisis,' he said

'As we indicated we will sign a number of the executive orders over the next several days to a week and I'm going to start today. The crisis of Covid-19 along with the economic crisis, and the climate crisis, the executive actions that we are signing will help change the course of the crisis,' he said

‘As we indicated we will sign a number of the executive orders over the next several days to a week and I’m going to start today. The crisis of Covid-19 along with the economic crisis, and the climate crisis, the executive actions that we are signing will help change the course of the crisis,’ he said

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her first press briefing at the White House

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her first press briefing at the White House

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her first press briefing at the White House

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pause to wave while walking toward the North Portico of the White House

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pause to wave while walking toward the North Portico of the White House

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pause to wave while walking toward the North Portico of the White House

On his way to the North portico of the building, he got asked what his message to the world was. 'Unity,' Biden responded

On his way to the North portico of the building, he got asked what his message to the world was. 'Unity,' Biden responded

On his way to the North portico of the building, he got asked what his message to the world was. ‘Unity,’ Biden responded

A US Secret Service agent changes the license plate on President Joe Biden's limousine near the North Portico of the White House

A US Secret Service agent changes the license plate on President Joe Biden's limousine near the North Portico of the White House

A US Secret Service agent changes the license plate on President Joe Biden’s limousine near the North Portico of the White House

U.S. President Joe Biden travels in the presidential limousine, known as "The Beast", with the new license plate number '46'

U.S. President Joe Biden travels in the presidential limousine, known as "The Beast", with the new license plate number '46'

U.S. President Joe Biden travels in the presidential limousine, known as ‘The Beast’, with the new license plate number ’46’

Following suit was Vice President Kamala Harris, who left her own limo and got greeted by family members outside

Following suit was Vice President Kamala Harris, who left her own limo and got greeted by family members outside

Following suit was Vice President Kamala Harris, who left her own limo and got greeted by family members outside

She and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff walked along a similar stretch, joined by his children and other family members. The first female vice president held hands with grand niece Amala as she approached the building

She and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff walked along a similar stretch, joined by his children and other family members. The first female vice president held hands with grand niece Amala as she approached the building

She and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff walked along a similar stretch, joined by his children and other family members. The first female vice president held hands with grand niece Amala as she approached the building

The hostility was reciprocated: Members of the Bush family were critical of Trump throughout his administration. Four years ago at inauguration, George W. Bush commented ‘That was some weird s**t.’

In contrast, while Obama was extremely critical of Bush when running for president in 2008, those two families have developed a friendly relationship, especially between Bush and Michelle Obama. Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush became close friends after the 41st president’s defeat. 

In his inaugural address, Biden issued a call for unity and promised to govern for ‘all Americans’ Wednesday, seeking to move the nation beyond the presidency of Donald Trump and what he described as an attack on democracy itself in his first remarks to the nation as president.

In a 22-minute address after he was sworn in 11 minutes early by Chief Justice John Roberts, Biden drew a sharp contrast between his presidency and the preceding four years, saying: ‘My whole soul is in this. I’ll keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power but of possibilities, not of personal injuries but the public good.’

Biden did not mention Trump by name but wove a thread of contrast through his speech. He denounced ‘lies told for power and for profit,’ said ‘there are truth and there are lies,’ acknowledged the bitter divisions in the country as an ‘uncivil war,’ and referred to the MAGA mob which rioted in the place he spoke just two weeks ago, saying: ‘Democracy prevailed.’

He spoke in unique circumstances: no crowds because of COVID and a security clampdown in the wake of the MAGA riot, and for the first time since 1869, his predecessor absent.

Trump had left Washington D.C. with a tub-thumping speech saying ‘we will be back – in some form’ and taken Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago, issuing a final pardon with less than an hour of his presidency left, and telling his friends he will start his own ‘Patriot Party.’

On the dais on the Capitol steps, Biden put his hand on his family’s Bible, held by his wife Jill, and took the oath, then addressed the nation for the first time as the 46th president.

United: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with (from left) Michelle and Barack Obama, Laura and George W. Bush and Hillary and Bill Clinton.

United: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with (from left) Michelle and Barack Obama, Laura and George W. Bush and Hillary and Bill Clinton.

United: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with (from left) Michelle and Barack Obama, Laura and George W. Bush and Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Vice President Kamala Harris (center) and President Joe Biden (right) salute the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlinton National Cemetery

Vice President Kamala Harris (center) and President Joe Biden (right) salute the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlinton National Cemetery

Vice President Kamala Harris (center) and President Joe Biden (right) salute the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlinton National Cemetery 

BIPARTISAN ALLIANCE: Standing behind the new president and vice president were (from left) Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Laura Bush, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton

BIPARTISAN ALLIANCE: Standing behind the new president and vice president were (from left) Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Laura Bush, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton

BIPARTISAN ALLIANCE: Standing behind the new president and vice president were (from left) Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Laura Bush, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday 

READ JOE BIDEN’S PROCLAMATION OF UNITY 

I am humbled before God and my fellow Americans to take the sacred oath of President of our beloved country.

Today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy after an election that saw more Americans voting than ever before in our Nation’s history, and where the will of the people has been heard and heeded.

We do so at a moment of great peril and promise for our Nation. A once-in-a-century deadly pandemic. A historic and deepening economic crisis. Calls for racial justice some 400 years in the making. A climate crisis with force and fury. We also feel the rise in political extremism and domestic terrorism –- unleashed just days ago on our Capitol, the citadel of freedom, but brewing long before –- that we must confront and defeat.

Yet in this dire moment, democracy prevailed. On this day, we set our sights on the Nation we know we can and must be. I am honored to do so alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman who has taken the oath to serve in elected national office, and who will not be the last. Together, we know that to overcome the challenges before all of us, to restore the soul of America, requires the beating heart of a democracy: Unity.

With unity, we can save lives and beat this pandemic. We can build our economy back better and include everyone. We can right wrongs and root out systemic racism in our country. We can confront the climate crisis with American jobs and ingenuity. We can protect our democracy by seeing each other not as adversaries but as fellow Americans. For the world to see, with unity we can lead not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

As we start the hard work to be done, I pray this moment gives us the strength to rebuild this house of ours upon a rock that can never be washed away. And, as in the Prayer of St. Francis, for where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith, where there is darkness, light.

On this Inauguration Day I swear an oath to be a President for all Americans and ask every American to join me in this cause of democracy. May this be the story that unites us as fellow Americans and as the United States of America.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2021, a National Day of Unity and call upon the people of our Nation to join together and write the next story of our democracy –- an American story of decency and dignity, of love and of healing, and of greatness and of goodness.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

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He made unity the theme of his address and also highlighted the coronavirus hobbling the nation, taking a pause and asking for silent prayer for the more than 400,000 COVID dead. 

‘To all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you’ve placed in us. To all of those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart,’ said Biden.

‘If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy,’ he told opponents. ‘That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably. Within the guardrails of our republic, it’s perhaps this nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans – all Americans,’ he said.

He spoke with urgency about the ‘painful lesson’ of recent weeks, referencing the riot in the Capitol that followed Trump’s effort to overturn the results in states that voted for Biden as a historic time of testing for the nation – but also pronounced that ‘democracy has prevailed.’ 

‘We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue,’ he said, echoing some of the themes of Barack Obama, who brought him to the White House only to watch his own agenda come under assault during the Trump presidency. 

He warned of a ‘dark winter’ and listed the challenges he faces, including COVID, an economy in crisis, and the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd saying: ‘A once in a century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost, hundreds of thousands of businesses closed, a cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.’

But he said: ‘To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity.’

And he spoke of his own faith as the second-ever Catholic president, quoting St. Augustine, after a day which began with mass with Congressional leaders, and also spoke of his faith in America, saying: ‘This is a great nation. We are good people.’ 

The 78-year-old thanked his predecessors of both parties for being at his swearing-in. Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attended – making Trump’s absence even more notable. 

Trump skipped the event, flying to Mar-a-Lago after organizing his own pep rally sendoff, telling supporters and family members ‘Have a good life, we will see you soon.’

‘I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart,’ Biden said, adding he had spoken to former President Jimmy Carter on the phone the night before. Carter did not attend out of safety reasons because of the COVID pandemic. 

Biden also acknowledged the attack that took place on the Capitol two weeks ago, when a pro-Trump mob interrupted the certification of his victory.

‘Now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the capital’s very foundation. We come together under one nation, under god, indivisible, to transfer the peaceful power as we have for two centuries,’ he said.

Biden gave his inaugural remarks after history-making Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in, with the oldest person to become president taking an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution – starting his tenure amid a pandemic and putting an end to a tumultuous four-year term by President Trump. 

In his inaugural remarks, Biden declared: ‘Unity is the path forward.

He asked for all Americans to come together and join him. He also asked those 75 million Trump voters to ‘hear him out’ during his time in office.

‘My whole soul is in it today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause,’ he said. 

Biden didn’t mention President Trump by name but his speech was full of denunciation of Trump’s tactics and methods.

‘We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature,’ he said. 

Biden specifically called for an end to manipulating facts and raging at one another – two characteristics of Trump’s time in office.

‘Let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. 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 noted.

‘There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. Each of us has the duty and responsibility as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies,’ Biden said. 

He acknowledged the deep divides and wounds in the country.

‘This is a great nation. We are good people. Over the centuries, through storm and strife, and peace and at war, we’ve come so far. We still have far to go. We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain,’ he said.

Joe Biden raised his hand and took an oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution on Wednesday – starting his tenure amid a pandemic and putting an end to a tumultuous four-year term by President Donald Trump

Joe Biden raised his hand and took an oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution on Wednesday – starting his tenure amid a pandemic and putting an end to a tumultuous four-year term by President Donald Trump

Joe Biden raised his hand and took an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution on Wednesday – starting his tenure amid a pandemic and putting an end to a tumultuous four-year term by President Donald Trump

Biden, in tactic acknowledgement of Trump's refusal to concede the election, announced 'democracy has prevailed' in the opening of his inaugural address

Biden, in tactic acknowledgement of Trump's refusal to concede the election, announced 'democracy has prevailed' in the opening of his inaugural address

Biden, in tactic acknowledgement of Trump’s refusal to concede the election, announced ‘democracy has prevailed’ in the opening of his inaugural address

'The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded,' Biden said on the West Front of the Capitol just two weeks after MAGA riots threatened to stop the counting of the electoral votes for president in its tracks

'The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded,' Biden said on the West Front of the Capitol just two weeks after MAGA riots threatened to stop the counting of the electoral votes for president in its tracks

‘The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded,’ Biden said on the West Front of the Capitol just two weeks after MAGA riots threatened to stop the counting of the electoral votes for president in its tracks 

Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden kiss after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol

Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden kiss after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol

Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden kiss after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol 

Trump skipped the event, flying to Mar-a-Lago after organizing his own pep rally sendoff, telling supporters and family members 'Have a good life, we will see you soon

Trump skipped the event, flying to Mar-a-Lago after organizing his own pep rally sendoff, telling supporters and family members 'Have a good life, we will see you soon

Trump skipped the event, flying to Mar-a-Lago after organizing his own pep rally sendoff, telling supporters and family members ‘Have a good life, we will see you soon

President Donald Trump gestures to supporters en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort as Biden's inauguration was underway

President Donald Trump gestures to supporters en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort as Biden's inauguration was underway

President Donald Trump gestures to supporters en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort as Biden’s inauguration was underway

On Wednesday, with history-making Vice President Kamala Harris on his team, the oldest person to become president is vowing to focus on the virus

On Wednesday, with history-making Vice President Kamala Harris on his team, the oldest person to become president is vowing to focus on the virus

On Wednesday, with history-making Vice President Kamala Harris on his team, the oldest person to become president is vowing to focus on the virus

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden 

Biden also acknowledged the attack that took place on the Capitol two weeks ago, when a pro-Trump mob interrupted the certification of his victory

Biden also acknowledged the attack that took place on the Capitol two weeks ago, when a pro-Trump mob interrupted the certification of his victory

Biden also acknowledged the attack that took place on the Capitol two weeks ago, when a pro-Trump mob interrupted the certification of his victory

Biden also acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans and devastated the American economy.

‘We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation. One nation. I promise you this. As the bible says, we may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. We will get through this together. Together!,’ he said.

In his first act as president, he asked Americans to join him in a moment of silence to remember those who died from the deadly disease.

‘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 this past year to the pandemic, those 400,000 fellow Americans, moms, dads, husband, wives, daughters, sons, coworkers. We will honor them by becoming the people and the nation we know we can and should be. Let’s say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives and for those left behind and for our country. Amen,’ he said.

He acknowledged the challenges that face him as he takes office as the nation’s 46th president, including the pandemic, racism, the climate and America’s role in the world.

‘Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on democracy and untruth, a raging virus, growing inequity, sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways, but the fact is, we face them all at once presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up, all of us? It’s time for boldness, for there’s so much to do,’ he said. 

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden gesture as they leave after his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden gesture as they leave after his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden gesture as they leave after his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol

Biden specifically called for an end to manipulating facts and raging at one another – two characteristics of Trump's time in office

Biden specifically called for an end to manipulating facts and raging at one another – two characteristics of Trump's time in office

Biden specifically called for an end to manipulating facts and raging at one another – two characteristics of Trump’s time in office

President Joe Biden is congratulated by first lady Jill Biden, his son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn-in during the 59th Presidential Inauguration

President Joe Biden is congratulated by first lady Jill Biden, his son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn-in during the 59th Presidential Inauguration

President Joe Biden is congratulated by first lady Jill Biden, his son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn-in during the 59th Presidential Inauguration

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

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

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

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris greets former U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris greets former U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris greets former U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden

Former President George W. Bush, from left, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for the Inauguration of Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Former President George W. Bush, from left, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for the Inauguration of Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Former President George W. Bush, from left, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for the Inauguration of Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Former US President Bill Clint (L) and former US First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Bernie Sanders documents President Joe Biden's inauguration on his cellphone on Wednesday

Bernie Sanders documents President Joe Biden's inauguration on his cellphone on Wednesday

Bernie Sanders documents President Joe Biden’s inauguration on his cellphone on Wednesday 

Family members of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris attend the inauguration of Joe Biden

Family members of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris attend the inauguration of Joe Biden

Family members of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris attend the inauguration of Joe Biden

He closed with another call for unity.

‘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,’ he said.

‘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. May this be the story that guides us, the story that inspires us, and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answer the call of history. We met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die on our watch, but thrived,’ he added. 

Biden concluded his 20 minutes of remarks with: ‘So, with purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May god bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.’ 

Joe and Jill Biden greeted their predecessors in the White House with hugs and handshakes as they exited the inauguration platform. The couple shared a particularly long hug with Barack and Michelle Obama, who they were close to in the eight years Biden served as Obama’s vice president.

They also greeted George W. Bush and Laura Bush and Bill and Hillary Clinton. The former first couples will join the Bidens at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a show of bipartisan unity.  

He closed with another call for unity. '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,' he said

He closed with another call for unity. '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,' he said

He closed with another call for unity. ‘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,’ he said

Joe Biden hugs his wife Jill Biden after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

Joe Biden hugs his wife Jill Biden after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

Joe Biden hugs his wife Jill Biden after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

President Joe Biden is hugged by his wife Jill Biden after delivering his inaugural address

President Joe Biden is hugged by his wife Jill Biden after delivering his inaugural address

President Joe Biden is hugged by his wife Jill Biden after delivering his inaugural address 

Kamala Harris is sworn in as U.S. Vice President as her husband Doug Emhoff and President Elect Joe Biden look on

Kamala Harris is sworn in as U.S. Vice President as her husband Doug Emhoff and President Elect Joe Biden look on

Kamala Harris is sworn in as U.S. Vice President as her husband Doug Emhoff and President Elect Joe Biden look on

Jennifer Lopez with Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Jennifer Lopez with Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Jennifer Lopez with Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Jennifer Lopez performs during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Jennifer Lopez performs during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Jennifer Lopez performs during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Lady Gaga sings the U.S. National Anthem at the beginning of the swearing in ceremony

Lady Gaga sings the U.S. National Anthem at the beginning of the swearing in ceremony

Lady Gaga sings the U.S. National Anthem at the beginning of the swearing in ceremony

Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Singer Garth Brooks greets Joe Biden after singing Amazing Grace during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Singer Garth Brooks greets Joe Biden after singing Amazing Grace during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Singer Garth Brooks greets Joe Biden after singing Amazing Grace during the inauguration of Joe Biden

Guests and spectators attend the 59th Presidential Inauguration for President Joe Biden

Guests and spectators attend the 59th Presidential Inauguration for President Joe Biden

Guests and spectators attend the 59th Presidential Inauguration for President Joe Biden

READ JOE BIDEN’S FULL INAUGURAL ADDRESS

Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, and my distinguished guests, my fellow Americans, this is America’s day. 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. Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.

We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. 

So now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be.

I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know, and I know the resilience of our constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime in service.

I’ve just taken the sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us, on we the people, who seek a more perfect union. This is a great nation. We are good people. And over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far, but we still have far to go.

We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.

Once in a century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost, hundreds of thousands of

businesses closed, a cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. 

A cry for survival comes from planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear, and now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat. 

To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity. Unity. 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.’

‘My whole soul is in it.’ 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. 

Uniting to fight the foes we face, anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things.

We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus. We can reward — reward work and rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.

I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know that the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart.

The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured. Through civil war, the great depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifices, and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of these moments, enough of us — enough of us — have come together to carry all of us forward, and we can do that now.

History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other, not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.

No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you, we will not fail. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together.

And so today, at this time, in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again.

Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. 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. 

My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this, and I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand, in the shadow of the Capitol dome, as it was mentioned earlier, completed amid the civil war, when the union itself was literally hanging in the balance. Yet, we endured. We prevailed.

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.

Don’t tell me things can’t change!

Here we stand, across the Potomac, from Arlington Cemetery, where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion, rest in eternal peace. And here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Not ever. 

To all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you’ve placed in us. To all of those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart.

If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably. Within the guardrails of our republic, it’s perhaps this nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans, all Americans. 

And I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did. 

Many centuries ago, St. Augustine, a saint in my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. Defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans?

I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor and, yes, the truth. The recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit.

And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand like my dad, they lay in bed wondering, can I keep my health care, can I pay my mortgage. Thinking about their families, about what comes next. I promise you, I get it.

But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like — look like you or worship the way you do or don’t get their news from the same source as you do. 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 — as my mom would say — just for a moment, stand in their shoes. Because here’s the thing about life: there’s no accounting for what fate will deal you.

Some days, when you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another.

And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree. My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to preserve — to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus.

We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation. And I promise you this. As the Bible says, ‘weep, ye may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ We will get through this together. Together. Look, folks, all my colleagues that I served with in the house and the senate up here, we all understand, the world is watching, watching all of us today. So here’s my message to those beyond our borders.

America has been tested, and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. 

And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. We’ll be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.

Look, you all know, we’ve been through so much in this nation. 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.

So, I ask you, let’s say a silent prayer for those who have lost their lives and those left behind and for our country.

Amen. Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth. A raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis. America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once. Presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested.

Are we going to step up, all of us? It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain. I promise you, we will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. We will rise to the occasion, is the question. Will we master this rare and difficult hour?

Will we meet our obligations, and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must. I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will. And when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America, the American story, a story that might sound something like a song that means a lot to me. It’s called ‘American Anthem.’ And there’s one verse that stands out, at least for me.

And it goes like this: ‘The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day. What shall be our legacy? What will our children say? Let me know in my heart when my days are through. America, America, I gave my best to you.’ Let’s add. Let’s, us, add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation.

If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us, they gave their best, they did their duty, they healed a broken land. 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.

And I’ll give all, all of you, keep everything you — 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.

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. Democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch, but thrived, that America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forebears, one another, and generations to follow.

So, 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. Thank you, America. 

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Biden also exchanged salutes with General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A military honor guard saluted the new president as he departed as ‘Stars & Stripes’ played.

The Bidens held hands as they walked through the Capitol building after the ceremony

Biden had cued up a batch of executives for signing late Wednesday afternoon to begin the effort to roll back elements of the Trump agenda and demonstrate a restoration to the last Democratic administration.

Biden was planning to sign orders to stop construction of Trump’s border wall, end the ban on immigration from majority Muslim nations, and reenter the Paris climate accord.

Others would get the U.S. back into the World Health Organization, require mask use in federal buildings, and end a 1776 commission conceived as a way to push back against ‘woke’ efforts to take down confederate statues and otherwise reexamine the nation’s monuments and memory.

Biden, 78 and the oldest person sworn in as president, inherits a divided country, wracked by the virus, with millions on unemployment, and huge swaths of Republicans doubting the legitimacy of his election.

Biden was joined on the West Front of the Capitol by predecessors and lawmakers from both parties – including now-former Vice President Mike Pence, who had overseen the counting of Biden’s 306 to 232 electoral vote win in a normally perfunctory count that was interrupted by the riot.

Biden made the coronavirus pandemic a central part of his campaign, and there were reminders all around him of the difficult circumstances the nation faces. Attendees had their chairs spaced out in an effort at social distancing. Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, and other guests wore masks in an effort to limit the spread of the virus that has killed 400,000 Americans.

Just as evident was the constitutional crisis the nation faced, with figures from both parties present as a show of unity and continuity. Former President Barack Obama, who put Biden on the ticket, was there with former first lady Michelle Obama, who made impassioned pleas for Biden’s election.

Biden made the coronavirus pandemic a central part of his campaign, and there were reminders all around him of the difficult circumstances the nation faces. Attendees had their chairs spaced out in an effort at social distancing

Biden made the coronavirus pandemic a central part of his campaign, and there were reminders all around him of the difficult circumstances the nation faces. Attendees had their chairs spaced out in an effort at social distancing

Biden made the coronavirus pandemic a central part of his campaign, and there were reminders all around him of the difficult circumstances the nation faces. Attendees had their chairs spaced out in an effort at social distancing

Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrive in the Crypt of the US Capitol for Biden's inauguration ceremony to be the 46th President of the United States

Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrive in the Crypt of the US Capitol for Biden's inauguration ceremony to be the 46th President of the United States

Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrive in the Crypt of the US Capitol for Biden’s inauguration ceremony to be the 46th President of the United States

Supporters of President Joseph Biden celebrate as they listen to him speak during the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Supporters of President Joseph Biden celebrate as they listen to him speak during the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Supporters of President Joseph Biden celebrate as they listen to him speak during the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Supporters of U.S. President Joe Biden celebrate after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

Supporters of U.S. President Joe Biden celebrate after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

Supporters of U.S. President Joe Biden celebrate after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

Hunter Biden and Ashley Biden arrive before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Hunter Biden and Ashley Biden arrive before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Hunter Biden and Ashley Biden arrive before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Former President Barack Obama and former First lady Michele Obama arrive at the U.S. Capitol for Wednesday's inauguration

Former President Barack Obama and former First lady Michele Obama arrive at the U.S. Capitol for Wednesday's inauguration

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are seen arriving at the Capitol for Joe Biden's inauguration

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are seen arriving at the Capitol for Joe Biden's inauguration

Former President Barack Obama and former First lady Michele Obama, Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are seen arriving at the Capitol for Joe Biden’s inauguration 

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are seen before US president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are seen before US president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura are seen before US president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in

A general view as attendees arrive to the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday

A general view as attendees arrive to the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday

A general view as attendees arrive to the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday 

General view of audience during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

General view of audience during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

General view of audience during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States

Trump’s contempt for Obama and birther claims helped fuel the president’s rise. Also there was former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. Bush had been astonished by some of Trump’s rhetoric at Trump’s inaugural address four years ago, and his own dynasty fell victim to Trump’s political attacks on his brother, Jeb.

During the day’s events, a series of speakers pointed to the Capitol riot, praising the peaceful transition in a capitol locked down by 25,000 National Guard forces brought in to maintain security.

‘This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what it always does,’ said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of a bevy of Democrats Biden defeated in his road to the White House.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri noted that there was ‘one political party more pleased today’ just as ‘on every inaugural day’ – than the other.

Biden had lined up other gestures to demonstrate unity of purpose – and his own firm control of the government after Trump spent months calling the election ‘rigged’ and claiming he had won.

After attending mass with Republican and Democratic leaders, Biden planned to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. He was to be accompanied by predecessors Obama, Bush, and Clinton.

His return to the White House would also reestablish norms. After Trump has been out of sight for days, releasing canned video farewell remarks, Biden was to allow reporters into the Oval Office when he signed orders.

His new White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, was to hold an on-camera briefing Wednesday night.  

Earlier that morning, Biden orchestrated a demonstration of faith and political power before he took the oath of office – attending mass with congressional leaders from both parties.

Biden and the powerbrokers who will help steer or stall his agenda joined for the service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, where funeral services were held for President John F. Kenned in 1963. 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet the crowd before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 - snubbing Biden's inauguration

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet the crowd before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 - snubbing Biden's inauguration

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet the crowd before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 – snubbing Biden’s inauguration 

Trump gives his farewell speech at Andrews Air Force Base in the last hours of his Presidency. He said it had been an ‘honor and a privilege’ 

The pair spoke briefly to the media before they boarded Marine One. Trump will give a lengthier speech at Joint Base Andrews

The pair spoke briefly to the media before they boarded Marine One. Trump will give a lengthier speech at Joint Base Andrews

The pair spoke briefly to the media before they boarded Marine One. Trump will give a lengthier speech at Joint Base Andrews

They met in a city under heavy military guard amid security threats following the MAGA riots January 6.

He was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said Tuesday that President Trump ‘provoked’ the crowd that ransacked the Capitol and has not said how he will vote on impeachment. Also joining was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who reportedly infuriated Trump with his remarks on the floor of the House where he blasted Trump’s conduct but still voted not to impeach him.

McCarthy was one of the more than 100 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. ‘The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack by mob rioters,’ Mr. McCarthy said on the House floor Wednesday. ‘What we saw last week was not the American way. Neither is the continued rhetoric that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president.’

He was also joined by Harris, her husband Doug Emhoff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Trump may have been an accessory to murder through his actions connected to the MAGA riot at the Capitol, and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who will oversee Trump’s impeachment after he leaves.

His visit came just minutes after President Donald Trump departed the White House and stepped aboard Marine One for the last time – without engaging in any of the brash ‘chopper talk’ with the press that had become his trademark. Instead, the president flew to a staged rally on a military base where Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner other family members and other remaining supporters gathered. Laura Branigan’s ‘Gloria’ was playing when Trump landed. 

Biden will be the nation’s second Catholic president. The cathedral is just blocks away from the White House – although getting there would require circumventing a massive security presence with fencing and members of the 25,000 strong National Guard force protecting the city.

The demonstration of unity – a prelude to what was set to occur at the West Front of the Capitol – separated the powerful lawmakers who remain from President Trump, who set up his own separate departure while skipping many of the traditional gestures of continuity. Trump didn’t host Biden at the the White House; the first lady didn’t host Dr. Jill Biden; Trump skipped the inauguration altogether and left Washington before Biden was to take office.

Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, departed Blair House across the street from the White House just after Trump wrapped up remarks to his family and supporters at Joint Base Andrews, telling them: ‘Have a good life, we will see you soon.’

The Bidens traveled by motorcade to St. Matthews. He has regularly attended mass during the campaign and during the transition.

Biden wore a mask – as he seeks to mobilize Americans to mask-up for 100 days to try to stem the spread of infection.

Biden’s act of ritual and supplication came after the Bidens and President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff on Tuesday attended a memorial to the 400,000 victims of the coronavirus at the Lincoln Memorial. 

In the split-screen coverage of the transition brought on by Trump’s failure to linger, while the Bidens were gathered inside the cathedral for mass, Air Force One took off with Trump’s rally soundtrack playing Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way.’  

Members of the National Guard gather near the U.S. Capitol before the inauguration at the Capitol

Members of the National Guard gather near the U.S. Capitol before the inauguration at the Capitol

Members of the National Guard gather near the U.S. Capitol before the inauguration at the Capitol 

As seen from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, preparations are made before the inauguration of Joe Biden

As seen from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, preparations are made before the inauguration of Joe Biden

As seen from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, preparations are made before the inauguration of Joe Biden 

Just two weeks ago to the day, the Capitol was the target of violence and unrest. Today it will be the backdrop for a new president

Just two weeks ago to the day, the Capitol was the target of violence and unrest. Today it will be the backdrop for a new president

Just two weeks ago to the day, the Capitol was the target of violence and unrest. Today it will be the backdrop for a new president 

A-Rod and Lady Gaga were seen arriving at the inauguration. Lady Gaga will be performing, as well as A-Rod's fiancee Jennifer Lopez

A-Rod and Lady Gaga were seen arriving at the inauguration. Lady Gaga will be performing, as well as A-Rod's fiancee Jennifer Lopez

A-Rod and Lady Gaga were seen arriving at the inauguration. Lady Gaga will be performing, as well as A-Rod's fiancee Jennifer Lopez

A-Rod and Lady Gaga were seen arriving at the inauguration. Lady Gaga will be performing, as well as A-Rod's fiancee Jennifer Lopez

A-Rod and Lady Gaga were seen arriving at the inauguration. Lady Gaga will be performing, as well as A-Rod’s fiancee Jennifer Lopez 

Donald Trump vowed ‘we will be back – in some form’ as he left Washington D.C. for the last time Wednesday, flying off on Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago to snub Joe Biden – then claiming credit in advance for the new administration’s success.

‘Have a good life,’ he told a crowd of a few hundred supporters at Joint Base Andrews, after listing his ‘achievements’ in a speech which began after a 21-gun salute.

In the front row, Ivanka Trump cried, while behind the maskless crowd chanted ‘thank you Trump,’ before the first family climbed the stairs to Air Force One for the final time. 

The military ceremony had the atmosphere of a Trump rally: Gloria was played as Air Force One taxied, and then the YMCA as Trump hugged and kissed his children.

‘We love you. We will be back in some form,’ he told the crowd of cheering supporters before signing off: ‘Have a good life, we will see you soon.’  

The farewell resembled one of Trump’s infamous campaign rallies, ending with ‘YMCA’ – the song Trump would depart to – as supporters cheered ‘USA, USA, USA.’

The president paused at times in his remarks. While he did not show tears, he appeared to feel the weight of the occasion while taking time to enjoy the final moments of his time in office. He notably did not mention the name of incoming President Joe Biden.

‘Hail to Chief’ played as Trump and Melania – who was wearing a Chanel jacket, sunglasses and carrying a $60,000 black crocodile Hermes Birkin bag – walked from Marine One to the platform where the president addressed the crowd. 

‘We love you,’ the supporters yelled as Trump took the stage after arriving while his children watched on proudly. 

‘We accomplished a lot,’ Trump said. ‘We worked hard. We left it all – as the athletes would say – we left it in the field.’   

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden 

President-elect Joe Biden his greeted by former President Barrack Obama

President-elect Joe Biden his greeted by former President Barrack Obama

President-elect Joe Biden his greeted by former President Barrack Obama

Jill Biden, wife of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden arrives for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S

Jill Biden, wife of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden arrives for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S

Jill Biden, wife of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden arrives for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S

Harris and Douglas Emhoff arrive at the United States Capitol for the inauguration of Joe Biden as US President

Harris and Douglas Emhoff arrive at the United States Capitol for the inauguration of Joe Biden as US President

Harris and Douglas Emhoff arrive at the United States Capitol for the inauguration of Joe Biden as US President

Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris, incoming US First Lady Jill Biden, US President-elect Joe Biden arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President

Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris, incoming US First Lady Jill Biden, US President-elect Joe Biden arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President

Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris, incoming US First Lady Jill Biden, US President-elect Joe Biden arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President

Donald Trump left the White House on Marine One for the final time Wednesday, pumping his fist and giving a thumbs-up as he walked with Melania to the start of a new life. 

The only people gathered outside to wish him goodbye were the press, to whom he briefly spoke to them before getting on board.

In a glaring split-screen moment defining the end of the Trump years, Joe Biden was about to leave Blair House, the White House’s official guest house, to go to mass with his wife Jill and Congressional leaders.

Trump was flying to Joint Base Andrews to speak in front of Air Force One to a small crowd of supporters. 

The pair stopped briefly to speak to the media before they boarded the helicopter with a stream of staffers hurrying behind them. Melania was dressed in all black and wore sunglasses. 

Trump’s early departure for Florida has caused a logistical and security nightmare since he is taking with him the nuclear codes. They will then be flown back to DC to be handed over to Biden this afternoon. 

On Tuesday night, Trump made one of his final acts in office granting pardons to dozens of rappers, millionaires and strategists, including his old friend Steve Bannon. 

As he makes his way to Florida on Wednesday morning, Biden will begin his day by attending mass with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He will then watch stars including Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga serenade him on the Captiol before delivering his address to the nation and being sworn in.  

This year, due to the ongoing pandemic and fears of a security threat, the mall – where thousands normally line up to greet the new President and First Lady – will be closed to the public.  

A smaller-than-usual crowd of guests including former Presidents and lawmakers will attend the inauguration ceremony in a socially-distanced manner instead.   

Donald and Melania Trump leave the White House on Wednesday morning for the last time to be taken to Air Force One 

Marine One lands at the White House to collect President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for the last time to take them to Joint Base Andrews where they will board Air Force Once to fly to Mar-a-Lago ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration

Marine One lands at the White House to collect President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for the last time to take them to Joint Base Andrews where they will board Air Force Once to fly to Mar-a-Lago ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration

Marine One lands at the White House to collect President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for the last time to take them to Joint Base Andrews where they will board Air Force Once to fly to Mar-a-Lago ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration 

A moving truck drives away from the West Wing of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, on Wednesday January 20

A moving truck drives away from the West Wing of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, on Wednesday January 20

A moving truck drives away from the West Wing of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, on Wednesday January 20 

Aids carry boxes to Marine One before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Aids carry boxes to Marine One before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Aids carry boxes to Marine One before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

White House staff members carry boxes to Marine One before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

White House staff members carry boxes to Marine One before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

White House staff members carry boxes to Marine One before President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

The White House was plunged mostly in darkness on Wednesday morning as the Trumps moved out ahead of Biden's inauguration

The White House was plunged mostly in darkness on Wednesday morning as the Trumps moved out ahead of Biden's inauguration

The White House was plunged mostly in darkness on Wednesday morning as the Trumps moved out ahead of Biden’s inauguration  

The only lights on were in the Residence and parts of the West Wing, where movers were seen loading up trucks

The only lights on were in the Residence and parts of the West Wing, where movers were seen loading up trucks

The only lights on were in the Residence and parts of the West Wing, where movers were seen loading up trucks

Some staffers were seen working at the White House before the sun rose on Wednesday morning

Some staffers were seen working at the White House before the sun rose on Wednesday morning

Some staffers were seen working at the White House before the sun rose on Wednesday morning 

The empty office of the White House press secretary is empty in the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington

The empty office of the White House press secretary is empty in the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington

The empty office of the White House press secretary is empty in the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington

In the Lower Press Office, staffers left behind magazines with Trump on the cover

In the Lower Press Office, staffers left behind magazines with Trump on the cover

In the Lower Press Office, staffers left behind magazines with Trump on the cover 

A keyboard and mouse are wrapped in plastic waiting for the new Press Secretary on Wednesday morning

A keyboard and mouse are wrapped in plastic waiting for the new Press Secretary on Wednesday morning

A keyboard and mouse are wrapped in plastic waiting for the new Press Secretary on Wednesday morning 

A newspaper addressed to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany lies on a table in an empty Upper Press Office area prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's departure ahead of the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden

A newspaper addressed to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany lies on a table in an empty Upper Press Office area prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's departure ahead of the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden

A newspaper addressed to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany lies on a table in an empty Upper Press Office area prior to U.S. President Donald Trump’s departure ahead of the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden

The office of the White House press secretary sits empty prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's departure ahead of the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden, in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2021

The office of the White House press secretary sits empty prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's departure ahead of the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden, in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2021

The office of the White House press secretary sits empty prior to U.S. President Donald Trump’s departure ahead of the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden, in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2021

 

In place: The red carpet is laid down at the steps to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews for the flight to Mar-a-Lago

In place: The red carpet is laid down at the steps to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews for the flight to Mar-a-Lago

In place: The red carpet is laid down at the steps to Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews for the flight to Mar-a-Lago

Trump PARDONS Steve Bannon: President grants clemency to 143 people including White House strategist who ‘defrauded MAGA fans out of $25M’, Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and convicted politicians

Donald Trump has granted clemency to Steve Bannon as part of a wave of 143 pardons and commutations announced early Wednesday morning during the president’s final hours in office.

Bannon, 67, helped Trump win the election in 2016 and was a senior White House adviser. In August last year he pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded MAGA donors to ‘We Build the Wall,’ an online campaign that raised $25 million.

Pardoning Bannon in a list that dropped shortly after midnight the White House said: ‘President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon. Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project.

Donald Trump  has pardoned Steve Bannon. The former White House Chief Strategist, center, exits the Manhattan Federal Court on August 20 last year after he was accused of defrauding donors in a $25 million border wall fundraising campaign

Donald Trump  has pardoned Steve Bannon. The former White House Chief Strategist, center, exits the Manhattan Federal Court on August 20 last year after he was accused of defrauding donors in a $25 million border wall fundraising campaign

Donald Trump  has pardoned Steve Bannon. The former White House Chief Strategist, center, exits the Manhattan Federal Court on August 20 last year after he was accused of defrauding donors in a $25 million border wall fundraising campaign

‘Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen.’

The top names on Trump’s pardon list 

STEVE BANNON – Former Trump strategist who was charged with swindling the president’s supporters in a fundraising bid for the infamous Mexico border wall 

LIL WAYNE – Rapper who had voiced support for Trump and faced up to 10 years in prison for illegally possessing a .45 caliber handgun 

KODAK BLACK – Rapper who was serving a nearly four-year prison term for making a false statement to buy a firearm. Received a commutation rather than a pardon

KWAME KILPATRICK – Detroit mayor from 2002-08 who had his 28-year prison sentence on corruption charges commuted by Trump   

KENNETH KURSON – Friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner who was charged with cyberstalking during a heated divorce 

ANTHONY LEVANDOWSKI – Google self-driving car engineer who faced prison for stealing 14,000 files of trade secrets before moving to Uber 

ELLIOTT BROIDY – GOP fundraiser who pleaded guilty in a scheme to lobby the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the looting of a Malaysian wealth fund 

MICHAEL ‘HARRY O’ HARRIS – Founder of Death Row Records who had served 30 years for conspiracy to commit murder. Had his sentence commuted 

RICK RENZI – GOP congressman from Arizona 2003-09, served three years in prison for corruption, money laundering and other charges

DUKE CUNNINGHAM – California GOP congressman 1991-2005, served prison time for accepting $2.4million in bribes from defense contractors

ROBIN HAYES – GOP congressman from North Carolina 1999-2009, convicted of lying to FBI agents during a bribery investigation   

And some of those not on the list…

JULIAN ASSANGE – Wikileaks founder facing 18 charges over release of military and diplomatic secrets 

RUDY GIULIANI – Trump’s personal lawyer who had spearheaded efforts to defy the election result 

JOE EXOTIC – Zookeeper and subject of Netflix series ‘Tiger King’ who hired a hitman to try to kill a rival

DONALD TRUMP – The president had boasted he could pardon himself, but legal scholars thought it doubtful. There were also no pardons for Trump relatives 

Scroll down for the full list  

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Trump has also pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses, as well as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was serving a 28-year prison term on corruption charges.

He will also pardon Elliott Broidy, a former top fundraiser for Trump who pleaded guilty last year to violating foreign lobbying laws, Ken Kurson, a friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner who was charged last October with cyberstalking during a heated divorce and Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing the internet giant’s self-driving car files ahead of joining Uber.

But notable names not on the list were Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Tiger King’s Joe Exotic, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani or any members of the Trump family, all of whom were rumored to be under consideration.

It also ended years of speculation that Trump would try to immunize himself, an unprecedented and legally questionable step which he had previously claimed he had the power to take.

The list was issued just hours before Trump leaves the White House for the last time and the pardon power, nuclear codes and other trappings of the presidency are transferred to Joe Biden, who will take the oath of office at noon Eastern time.

Leaving under the cloud of a second impeachment and the riot he provoked at the Capitol two weeks ago, Trump wished luck to the new administration in a ‘farewell address’ last night but did not mention Biden by name and still has not accepted in public that he legitimately lost the election.

Bannon had fallen out with Trump after he was quoted calling the president’s son Don Jr. ‘treasonous’ and his daughter Ivanka ‘dumb as a brick’. Trump said then: ‘Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency.’

But the two men have since rekindled their relationship as Trump sought support for his unproven claims of voter fraud, an official familiar with the situation said. White House officials are said to have advised Trump against pardoning Bannon.

Bannon can still be charged in state court in New York, where a pardon would not help him, said Daniel R. Alonso, a former prosecutor now at the Buckley law firm. Fraud prosecutions are frequently brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Alonso said.

‘Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for,’ Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on Twitter. ‘And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves.’

Bannon was in August last year pulled from a luxury yacht and arrested on allegations that he and three associates ripped off donors trying to fund a southern border wall.

The organizers of the ‘We Build The Wall’ group portrayed themselves as eager to help the president build a ‘big beautiful’ barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, as he promised during the 2016 campaign.

They raised more than $25million from thousands of donors and pledged that 100% of the money would be used for the project.

But according to the criminal charges, much of the money never made it to the wall. Instead, it was used to line the pockets of group members, including Bannon, who served in Trump’s White House and worked for his campaign.

He allegedly took over $1 million, using some to secretly pay co-defendant Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran who lost both legs in a mortar attack in Iraq and the founder of the project, and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses. 

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