By LIBBY CATHEY and ADIA ROBINSON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States shortly before noon on Wednesday.
Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 20, 12:20 pm
Biden asks nation to join in silent prayer as first act as president
In his first act as president, Biden asked the nation to join in a moment of silent prayer for those who have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been through so much in this nation,” Biden said during his inaugural address. “In my first act as president, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those who we lost in this past year to the pandemic, those 400,000 fellow Americans — moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and co-workers.”
President Joe Biden: “We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and face this pandemic as one nation.” https://t.co/P0yApMOka7 #InaugurationDay pic.twitter.com/HfQvabnPEO
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 20, 2021
“We’ll honor them by becoming the people and the nation we know we can and should be,” he added.
On Tuesday, the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 400,000 people in the U.S.
Jan 20, 12:21 pm
Biden focuses on commitment to unity in inaugural address
In a speech that stood in sharp contrast to his predecessors’ message of “American carnage,” Biden quoted Abraham Lincoln, before making his own commitment to devote his time in office to uniting the nation and calling on Americans to open their souls to each other, too.
“In another January, on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “If my name ever goes down into history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it,” Biden said.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 20, 2021
“My whole soul is in it,” Biden continued to applause. “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.”
He also took a moment to recognize the historic nature of Kamala Harris being sworn-in as the nation’s first woman and South Asian woman, to become vice president.
“Here we stand, looking out on the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where, 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today, we mark the swearing of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris.”
Jan 20, 12:12 pm
Biden gives first speech as president
Biden is delivering his first speech since taking the oath of office and assuming the office of the presidency moments before on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol — calling on Americans to meet in this moment with a united front and start fresh without political divisions.
“This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew. And America has risen to the challenge,” Biden began. “Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause — the cause of democracy.”
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious,” Biden said from the steps stormed, two weeks before, by a pro-Trump mob. “Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Speaking directly to the nation, Biden called country’s current state a “historic moment of crisis and challenge” but said “unity is the path forward” and asked Americans to “start fresh” and “begin to listen to one another again.”
“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured,” he said.
Jan 20, 11:51 am
Biden takes oath of office, assumes presidency
President Joe Biden has taken the oath of office — becoming the 46th president of the United States.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office.
Roberts congratulated Biden as “Mr. President.”
“Hail to the Chief” then played for the first time for Biden.
The oath comes after nearly 50 years in public life for Biden, three tries for the White House and after a victory delayed by vote counts, complicated by potential legal challenges and unacknowledged by the outgoing president.
Laying his hand on the massive Biden family bible held by his wife, Jill Biden, Biden ended the oath with a signature grin on his face.
Jan 20, 11:47 am
Harris takes oath of office, first woman to assume vice presidency
Vice President Kamala Harris has taken the oath of office — becoming first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to assume the office of vice president.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 20, 2021
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, administered the oath of office to Harris.
Harris had her hand on two bibles. One previously belonged to Regina Shelton, who was like a second mother to Harris and her sister Maya. The second bible belonged to Justice Thurgood Marshall, someone who inspired Harris’ career.
Jan 20, 11:44 am
Lady Gaga signs that National Anthem
International superstar Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem into a gold microphone on the West Front steps of the Capitol for the inaugural ceremonies — to cheers and applause from the limited audience.
Gaga wore a long sleeve black dress with a pouffy red skirt and golden eagle broach across her heart..
Captain Andrea Hall, the first African American female firefighter to become captain of the Fire Rescue Department in South Fulton, Georgia, read the pledge of allegiance.
Jan 20, 11:35 am
Klobuchar kicks off inaugural ceremonies’ speeches ahead of Biden, Harris taking oaths
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., one of the chairs on the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, kicked off the inauguration by acknowledging the attack on the Capitol two weeks ago.
“Two weeks ago when an angry violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans,” Klobuchar began. “This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America always does: goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
— ABC News (@ABC) January 20, 2021
She also acknowledged the historic nature of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ ascension to office as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to be sworn in as vice president.
“When she takes the oath of office, little girls and boys across the world will know that anything and everything is possible,” Klobuchar said. “And in the end, that is America, our democracy, a country of so much good, and today, on these Capitol steps and before this glorious field of flags, we rededicate ourselves to its cause.”
Jan 20, 11:29 am
A sign of the times: inaugural guests wearing masks, some lawmakers in body armor
Guests at Wednesday’s inauguration are all wearing masks, a sign of the COVID-19 pandemic which has officially killed more than 400,000 Americans.
And following the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, several members of Congress are wearing body armor, ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce reported.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 20, 2021
ABC reporter Benjamin Siegel saw some Democrats greeting each other by tapping each other on the chest, a “sort of a subtle acknowledgement that they are prepared,” Bruce said.
Jan 20, 11:17 am
6 of 9 SCOTUS justices present at inauguration
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor are administering the oaths of office at the presidential inaugural ceremonies on Capitol Hill.
The vice president-elect — making history as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American vice president — will be sworn in by Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
All three Trump appointees to the high court — Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett are also in attendance with Barrett appearing in public in her black judicial robe for the first time.
The court says Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas opted not to attend because of public health risks from the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s the first time since 2001 that the entire court is not in attendance at an inauguration.
Jan 20, 11:07 am
Trump, Pence leave handwritten notes for successors
Vice President Mike Pence has left a handwritten note for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, an aide to Pence confirmed, meaning both Trump and Pence left behind notes for their successors.
Trump did not make direct contact with Biden beyond the note left in the Oval Office earlier Wednesday morning.
Pence spoke with Harris on a call last Thursday, sources familiar with the call told ABC News, 68 days after Biden and Harris were projected the winners.
The outgoing vice president is on Capitol Hill for the inaugural ceremonies and did not attend Trump’s earlier sendoffs at the White House or Joint Base Andrews.
Jan 20, 10:54 am
Officer who led rioters away from Senate to escort Harris
Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from the Senate chamber during the Capitol assault two weeks ago, is escorting Kamala Harris at the inaugural ceremonies.
Goodman has been named an honorary deputy House Sergeant at Arms for the day, ABC News has learned.
Three members of Congress introduced a bill last week to honor Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal “for his bravery and quick thinking.”
Jan 20, 10:30 am
Bipartisan and star-studded showing for Capitol Hill ceremonies
Ahead of Biden being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, guests are arriving at a fortified U.S. Capitol — where just two weeks to the day pro-Trump supporters stormed the West Front steps.
But two weeks later, even Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley — who objected to Biden’s Electoral College victory that same day — have arrived on Capitol Hill for Biden’s inauguration.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who attended Mass with Biden earlier and has condemned Trump, who he said “provoked” the mob — has also arrived with wife Elaine Chao, Trump’s former transportation secretary who became the first Cabinet member to resign because of the Capitol riot.
Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, also present, told reporters he was there to “honor this process,” adding that Biden was “legitimately elected.”
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have arrived, as well, with Michelle Obama posting on Instagram shortly before that she is feeling “hopeful for what’s to come.”
Former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez was also spotted on the carpet ahead of Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Garth Brooks’ performances.
Jan 20, 10:17 am
Incoming White House adviser previews Biden’s speech on Capitol West Front
In an earlier interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, incoming White House communications director Kate Bedingfield spoke about Biden’s inaugural address, reiterating Biden plans to strike an optimistic tone in the forward-looking remarks calling for unity and drawing inspiration from his time on the campaign trail.
“He spent the last year and a half traveling the country and then when he couldn’t travel the country speaking virtually with people all over the country, hearing their story, hearing about their resilience, seeing them being the best that they could be in their communities in incredibly hard times,” Bedingfield said.
On NBC’s Today program, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said despite heighted concerns around security, Biden’s team thought it was “important” to take the oath of office outside at the Capitol.
“It sends an incredibly powerful message to the country and to the world, to see the president of the United States being sworn in outside. We’ve taken a number of precautions. We have heeded the advice and guidance of our security team, of the secret service, who have been preparing for this for a year,” she said.
After attending Mass with bipartisan congressional leaders, Biden and Harris are headed to their inaugural ceremonies on Capitol Hill where leaders on both sides of the aisle have already showed up.
Jan 20, 10:14 am
Obama tells Biden: ‘This is your time’
Former President Barack Obama has tweeted to his former vice president, “Congratulations to my friend, President @JoeBiden! This is your time.”
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 20, 2021
After the inaugural ceremonies on Capitol Hill, Obama and Michelle Obama are expected to join Biden and Harris at Arlington National Cemetery in the afternoon, where the new leaders of the free world will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In a show of unity, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton are also expected to attend.
Jan 20, 10:12 am
Biden plans ‘dozens’ of executive actions in first days
Not long after he takes the presidential oath Wednesday, Joe Biden will use the power of his pen to begin a sweeping transformation of U.S. policy through dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda and other official directives.
The wave of executive action will unfold over Biden’s first 10 days, according to incoming administration officials. If the plan plays out as expected, the number, scope and impact of the new president’s early moves would exceed those undertaken by his three most recent predecessors.
Jan 20, 9:56 am
Harris promotes Black designers, Bidens wearing American designers
Harris — making history as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to be sworn in as vice president — will be wearing a look designed by Black designers when she takes the oath of office.
Harris is wearing Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Christopher is a young Black designer, from Baton Rouge, and lives in New York City. Sergio is Black designer from South Carolina, according to a Harris aide. The second gentleman is wearing a Ralph Lauren suit.
The future first couple is also wearing American designers for Inauguration Day.
Biden is wearing a navy suit and overcoat, both by Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden is wearing a custom-made ocean blue wool tweed coat and dress by emerging designer Alexandra O’Neil of Markarian, according to the Biden transition.
Jan 20, 9:22 am
Why Joe Biden’s inauguration will be like no other — and how to watch
In the wake of the violent and deadly breach of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be unlike any other in American history.
Jan 20, 9:13 am
Trump left Biden a note in the Oval Office
Trump has left a note in the Oval Office for Biden, ABC News has learned.
The content of the note is not clear at this time.
The development comes after Biden’s communications director told ABC’s Good Morning America that Trump still hadn’t made direct contact with the president-elect.
Jan 20, 9:15 am
BIden attends Mass with congressional leaders in show of unity
Biden, a devout Catholic and the second to take the presidency, is starting Inauguration Day with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, joined by the top congressional leaders.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — another devout Catholic — outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined Biden for the service, along with his wife, Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff — the nation’s first second gentlemen.
Biden extended invitations to top congressional leaders. In a show of unity, all accepted those invites.
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Chairs Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., were also in attendance.
Faith has played a significant role in Biden’s life — when he lost his wife Neilia and young daughter Naomi in a horrific 1972 car accident in which his young sons Beau and Hunter were severely injured. Beau died of a brain tumor in 2015 at age 46.
An Irish violinist will play and soprano Renee Fleming will sing “On Eagle’s Wings” — the Catholic hymn Biden said his son loved and which he quoted from in his November victory speech.
Jan 20, 9:03 am
Trump at send-off rally: ‘We will be back in some form’
With the trappings of a Trump rally on a cold and windy morning, President Trump arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland just after 8:30 a.m. on Biden’s Inauguration Day to once again try to rewrite the history of the last four years.
A military band played “All Hail the Chief” as Trump walked onto a small stage, lined with American flags, and up to a lectern bearing the presidential seal. He first praised his own family — whom he put into positions of power, breaking with presidential norms — and singled out first lady Melania Trump — known for her privacy — to say a few words.
“Being your first lady was my greatest honor. Thank you for your love and your support. You will be in my thoughts and prayers,” she said.
Trump ticked off his accomplishments, spoke about the pandemic in past tense and predicted a boom in the stock market in the coming weeks, before offering a warning of the new administration — without ever mentioning Biden’s name.
“I hope they don’t raise your taxes,” Trump said, “but if they do, I told you so!”
He later added, “I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular.”
“So just a good-bye. We love you. We will be back in some form,” Trump vowed. “Have a good life. We will see you soon.”
Trump is now headed on Air Force One to his resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the final time as president.
Jan 20, 8:25 am
Trump departs White House for last time as president
President Trump departed the White House for the final time as president — leaving embattled, twice-impeached and with his lowest approval rating in his four years in office.
Trump, in a black suit with a white dress shirt and trademark red tie, alongside outgoing first lady Melania Trump, in a black dress and coat, walked out on a red carpet before Trump briefly spoke to reporters and, for one last time as president, boarded Marine One, to depart the White House.
Trump’s unconventional, norm-busting approach to the country’s institutions — that will likely outlast the one-term leader and leave a transformative and divisive legacy in Washington — continue on Biden’s Inauguration Day.
He is not greeting the incoming president on the North Portico and joining him to the Capitol, as is tradition, but leaving town early for his Mar-a-Lago Resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, while he still bears the title as president and the aeronautical resources the office provides.
Aides were seen carrying boxes to Marine One ahead of Trump’s departure.
As Trump continues to refuse to accept the election results, he has also refused to make contact with the incoming president, despite the Bidens staying across the street Monday night in Blair House — far from the warm welcomes given by previous presidents to their successors, no matter the party lines.
Vice President Mike Pence will not appear at Trump’s departure at the White House, nor his “military-style send-off” at Joint Base Andrews. The outgoing vice president is scheduled to attend Biden’s inauguration.
Though hours remain in his presidency, Trump hasn’t heard the last of Washington either as he still faces a second impeachment trial in the Senate.
Jan 20, 8:01 am
Trump did not invite Biden to White House, has made no contact
Despite Biden and his family staying just across the street overnight in Blair House — outgoing President Trump did not invite them to the White House and still has not made contact with the president-elect with just hours to go until one loses the power of the presidency and the other gains it.
Incoming White House communications director Kate Bedingfield was asked directly by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America whether Biden has had “any contact at all, direct contact, with President Trump.”
“He has not, no,” Bedingfield said.
Trump is skipping Biden’s inauguration this morning and the traditional welcome on the White House North Portico to star in his own cold and windy sendoff at Joint Base Andrews while he still bears the title of president — making him the first president to skip his successor’s swearing since an impeached Andrew Johnson in 1869 snubbed Ulysses Grant.
Jan 20, 7:40 am
Biden prepares to take office as Trump leaves Washington behind
Biden is waking up as president-elect at Blair House — across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, where in a matter of hours he will enter as the 46th president of the United States.
Assuming the office on his third try for the White House, Biden is assuming a busy schedule for his first day alongside soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris — who is making history as the first woman, first Black woman and first South Asian American to serve as the country’s second in command.
Biden and wife Jill Biden and Harris and husband Doug Emhoff — the nation’s first second gentlemen — will begin the morning with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. In a show of unity, Biden extended invitations and is expected to be joined by bipartisan congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The inaugural ceremonies, limited in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic, begin at 11:30 a.m. at a fortified U.S. Capitol — two weeks to the date pro-Trump supporters stormed the West Front steps. Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ahead of Biden who will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at noon, as 25,000 National Guard members patrol the Washington area.
After taking their oaths of office, Biden and Harris will head to Arlington National Cemetery and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California will also be sworn into office by the new vice president at an afternoon ceremony at the Capitol — triggering Democrats taking the majority in the Senate as Harris will cast tie-breaking votes as president of the Senate.
In the evening, Biden will sign executive orders in the Oval Office and swear in Day One appointees in a virtual ceremony. Biden and Harris are then scheduled to deliver remarks before 9 p.m. during the “Celebrating America” inaugural program and close off the night with a wave to the nation from the Blue Room Balcony.
Meanwhile, with their titles until noon, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to depart the White House around 8 a.m. for Palm Beach, Florida, on Air Force One with a “military-style send-off” for Trump as Joint Base Andrews, per his request. Though Trump’s presidency will soon be over, his presence will loom in Washington as he still faces a second impeachment trial in the Senate.
Jan 20, 5:02 am
Biden to sign 15 executive orders on Inauguration Day
President-elect Joe Biden will sign 15 executive actions on this first day as president — an increase in the number of executive orders initially previewed by incoming Chief of Staff Ron Klain this weekend and a show of force by Biden as he occupies the Oval Office.
The orders take aim at undoing much of President Trump’s signature and controversial actions during his four years as president including reversing the Muslim ban, stopping construction of the border wall, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and preserving the DACA program.
Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki stressed that while Biden’s actions would directly address some actions taken under Trump, the focus of Biden’s Inauguration Day work will be looking ahead.
“His focus is on moving the country forward and that will be thematic tomorrow and in all of the actions he’s taking,” she said, adding that Biden will sign the executive orders in the Oval Office and the text of the orders will be released after they’re signed.
On a call with reporters Tuesday night, several of Biden’s top policy advisors, including COVID-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zeints; incoming National Economic Council director, Brian Deese; incoming White House Domestic Climate Policy Director Gina McCarthy; incoming White House Domestic Policy Council Director Ambassador Susan Rice; and incoming national security adviser to the president, Jake Sullivan, spoke about the specific actions Biden will take on his first day.
Biden’s team emphasized that the actions listed on the call were not comprehensive of all executive actions Biden planned to take in his early days in office.
One of Biden’s orders will direct his Secretary of Homeland Security to take all legal actions to preserve and fortify DACA. This follows ABC reporting that Biden will be sending Congress a policy that includes an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants with no legal status and expanding admissions for refugees into the U.S.
Biden will also rescind the Trump Administration’s 1776 Commission and revoke Trump’s executive order that limited federal agencies from implementing diversity and inclusion training.
His order will also task the Office of Management and Budget with investing in underserved communities and communities of color.
And following last summer’s landmark SCOTUS case that protects LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination, another EO plans to build off of that to ensure the federal government interprets Title VII and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by this decision.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also a Day One issue and Biden will sign an order implementing his mask requirement in federal buildings and on federal land, as part of launching his “100 Days Mask Challenge,” which asks Americans to mask up for that time period.
Biden also plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on his first day in office and encourage federal agencies to review and appropriately address federal actions taken under the Trump administration, including revoking the Keystone pipeline permit.
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