‘Let’s start afresh’: Biden moves to reverse Trump policies

New US president signs orders on COVID, climate and ‘support for underserved communities’.

US President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States [Tom Brenner/Reuters]
US President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States [Tom Brenner/Reuters]
  • President Joe Biden, after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, has signed a raft of executive orders to roll-back the policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has been sworn in as vice president, becoming the first woman, and person of colour, to serve as the US government’s second in command.
  • President Donald Trump left the White House early on Wednesday and became the first president in more than 150 years not to attend his successor’s inauguration.
  • The inauguration crowd size was limited as a result of security concerns prompted by the deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6.
  • Trump was impeached for “incitement to insurrection” for his role in the Capitol mayhem, becoming the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

This was Al Jazeera’s live coverage of inauguration day, from Tamila Varshalomidze, Joseph Stepansky, Mersiha Gadzo and Kate Mayberry.

Fireworks light up Washington sky

Some pictures from the just-wrapped ‘Celebrating America’ event, which brought Biden’s inauguration day to an end.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden watch the fireworks from the balcony of the Blue Room with their wider family [Jim Watson/AFP]
Fireworks explode above the White House at the end of the Inauguration day for US President Joe Biden [Patrick T Fallon/AFP]
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pose with their family in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the “Celebrating America” event at the Lincoln Memorial after his inauguration [Joshua Roberts/Pool via AFP]
Fireworks are seen above Washington to mark the end of the Inauguration day for US President Joe Biden [Patrick T Fallon/AFP]


Lincoln celebration ends with Katy Perry and spectacular firework display

The celebration at the Lincoln Memorial has just ended with a spectacular firework display over the night sky of Washington DC, with Biden and the First Lady watching from the White House balcony, and Katy Perry singing – what else – but her hit Firework.

 

 


Biden administration to take “hard look” at North Korea

Christopher Hill, a former ambassador and senior diplomat in the Asia Pacific, says the Biden team will want to take a “hard look” at the situation in North Korea and how the US can work with its allies, and China, to bring North Korea back to denuclearisation talks.

Hill told Al Jazeera the results of the last four years – despite the summitry between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – was “pretty dismal”.

“The upshot of the past four years is that we don’t have a lot of progress and the problem has grown,” he said, noting that the deteriorating relationship with China, the North’s biggest ally, had made the situation more difficult to resolve. “Working with China is pretty challenging. Working without China is pretty near impossible.”

 


Senate confirms Biden’s first cabinet official

Avril Haines, Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, has been confirmed by the US Senate, becoming the first member of Biden’s Cabinet to be approved.

The former deputy CIA director and Obama administration deputy national security adviser was approved 84-10, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

The confirmation process for Biden’s nominees is moving much more slowly than recent incoming presidents. Republicans’ control of the Senate was in question as Biden announced his Cabinet choices beginning in December, with Democrats finally securing control of the upper house after two January 5 runoff elections. Work in the chamber was halted until Tuesday, the day before Democrats officially took control.


‘Celebrating America’ gets underway at Lincoln Memorial in Washington

Hollywood star Tom Hanks is hosting ‘Celebrating America’, the event at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the inauguration of Biden and Harris.

Hanks opened the nationally broadcast television special from the “secured” US capital, noting that the past few weeks had seen “deep divisions and a troubling rancour” in the country. “Tonight, we honour the United States of America,” he said, as he called on Americans to celebrate “the permanence of our American ideal”.

The show will include performances from stars including Katy Perry, John Legend, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake.

Here’s a clip from Hanks opening commentary, courtesy of the Biden Inauguration Committee.

 


Psaki stresses issues of trust and transparency

Truth and transparency were key themes of Psaki’s first media briefing.

“Rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House every single day,” she said.

She stressed that the administration would focus on data and facts as it focuses on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other key issues. Briefings will be held from Monday to Friday.

“This commitment to truth and transparency is clearly important to the Biden administration,” said Al Jazeera correspondent Mike Hanna, who is reporting from Washington.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at the first press briefing of the Biden administration in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

Biden wants to see Iran resume nuclear compliance

Asked about Biden’s likely policies towards Iran, Psaki stressed that Biden believes in diplomacy with a view to “lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints” on the country.

She added that the US expected Iran to resume compliance with the international nuclear agreement and that the issue was likely to form part of the conversations with the United States’ partners and allies.


Biden’s first foreign leader call will be with Trudeau

Psaki says Biden will make his first call to a foreign leader on Friday, when he speaks to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

She declined to talk about other planned conversations but stressed “his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it’s important that he rebuild those relationships.”


White House Press Secretary starts news conference

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is holding her first media conference for the Biden Administration, listing all the executive orders signed on Biden’s first day in office.

She has confirmed the US will rejoin the World Health Organization and Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease specialist will attend the organisation’s virtual meeting as the leader of the US delegation.


Intel chief first Biden nominee to get Senate approval

The US Senate has voted to approve former CIA official Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, making her the first member of Biden’s cabinet to gain approval.

Biden and the Senate are moving quickly to get key members of his government in place, with votes expected soon on the secretary of defense and secretary of state.

The US Senate has voted to approve former CIA official Avril Haines as director of national intelligence [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Biden tells appointees: ‘We work for the people’

Biden is reminding his federal appointees and staff that “we work for the people” and is calling on them to be “decent, honourable and smart”.

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 new president told the group that “we have such an awful lot to do” and said that containing the pandemic and administering COVID-19 vaccines will be the “most consequential logistical thing that’s ever been done in the United States”.

US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

China imposes sanctions on 28 Trump-era officials, including Pompeo

China says it wants to cooperate with Biden’s new administration while announcing sanctions against “lying and cheating” outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Trump.

The move was a sign of China’s anger, especially at an accusation Pompeo made on his final full day in office that China had committed genocide against its Uighur Muslims, an assessment that Biden’s choice to succeed Pompeo, Anthony Blinken, said he shared.

The Chinese foreign ministry announced the sanctions in a statement that appeared on its website around the time that Biden was taking the presidential oath.

Pompeo and the others had “planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves, gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations,” it said.


Republicans call for Senate review before US reenters climate deal

A group of Republican senators have called on Biden to submit his plan to re-engage the US in the Paris climate agreement to lawmakers for “review and consideration,” moments after Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the accord.

Biden’s announcement that he would seek to return the US to the international Paris Agreement to fight climate change was the centrepiece of a raft of day-one executive orders aimed at restoring US leadership in combating global warming.

US President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

EU welcomes Biden’s decision for US to rejoin climate accord

The European Union has welcomed Biden’s for the US to re-join the Paris Agreement on climate change, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans has said.

Read more about the US move to re-join the Paris Accord here.


UN chief hails Biden’s move to rejoin Paris climate accord

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed Biden’s move to rejoin the Paris climate agreement.

“Following last year’s Climate Ambition Summit, countries producing half of global carbon pollution had committed to carbon neutrality,” Guterres said.

“Today’s commitment by President Biden brings that figure to two-thirds.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed Biden’s move to rejoin the Paris climate agreement [File: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]
“We look forward to the leadership of United States in accelerating global efforts towards net zero,” he said, vowing to work closely with Biden to overcome the climate emergency.

Biden has signed an instrument to rejoin the Paris agreement, allowing the US to be part of the international effort to slow climate change again in 30 days.


Biden signs executive order mandating masks use on federal property

Biden has signed an executive order mandating that people wear masks in all federal buildings and on federal lands to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden is also asking everyone in the US to wear a mask when in public for at least the next 100 days.

Around 400,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US.

US President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

UN chief calls on Biden to propose new ‘ambitious’ climate target


Biden says Trump wrote him a very generous letter

Biden told reporters at the White House that Trump wrote “a very generous letter” but declined to say more “because it is private and I will not talk about it until I talk to him.”


Biden signs executive orders

Biden has signed a series of orders, addressing the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and racial inequality, undoing some policies put in place by Trump.

The actions, fulfilling his promise to move quickly on Day One of his presidency, initiate the process of the US rejoining the Paris climate accord and include the revocation of the presidential permit granted for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

US President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States [Tom Brenner/Reuters]
The steps Biden is taking will end a travel ban Trump put in place on some majority-Muslim countries. He is also calling upon his administration to strengthen the DACA programme for immigrants brought to the US as children.

He is also ordering the wearing of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings and on all federal lands and is ending a national emergency declaration that was the basis for diverting some federal funds to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.


Democrat Chuck Schumer becomes majority leader of US Senate as control switches from Republicans

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has become the Senate Majority Leader, replacing Republican Mitch McConnell.

As the leader, Schumer will have the power to set the Senate’s legislative agenda.

“So much is happening, I have to catch my breath,” Schumer said when he was recognised as majority leader.

“As the majority changes in the Senate, the Senate will do business differently,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will address the challenges our country faces head-on and without delay, not with timid solutions but with boldness and with courage. The Senate will tackle the perils of the moment,” he said.


Amazon offers to help Biden speed delivery of vaccines: Bloomberg

Amazon.com Inc is offering to help the Biden administration accelerate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including to its own employees.

Read more here.


Three new senators give Democrats a razor-thin majority

The winners of the January 5 Senate runoff elections in Georgia – Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock – were sworn in this afternoon by Harris, who also swore in her Senate successor, Alex Padilla.

“Yeah, that was very weird,” Harris said after announcing Padilla’s certificate of appointment noting his replacement of her in the Senate.

The three new Democrats mark the Senate’s shift from Republican to Democratic control, giving each 50 seats.

Harris, who constitutionally also serves as president of the Senate, would be the tie-breaking vote, therefore giving Democrats a majority.

Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, right, are working on a power-sharing agreement for the new 50-50 Senate [File: J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]
New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are negotiating a power-sharing agreement that will determine how the chamber will conduct its business with a 50-50 split.

Al Jazeera’s Chris Moody reports on how that agreement might work here.


Biden inauguration holds a ‘virtual parade’

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the traditional parade in Washington, DC was cancelled and replaced with an online celebration from US states and territories.

Bands, dancing groups, Indigenous groups and others across the US congratulated Biden and Harris.


US stocks close at new all-time highs

Major US stock indexes have closed at new all-time highs, fuelling investor wagers that more generous coronavirus relief aid will be unleashed under Biden’s new administration.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 257 points or 0.83 percent to finish at 31,188.38.

The S&P 500 – a proxy for the health of US retirement and college savings accounts – closed up more than 52 points or 1.39 percent at 3,851.85.

And the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index finished the session more than 260 points higher or 1.97 percent a record 13,457.248.

Read more here.


Biden looks to galvanise COVID-19 fight

Biden will attempt to jump-start the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic with a string of immediate executive orders.

“We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus and must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” Biden said in his inauguration speech.

Biden will sign an order requiring all federal employees to wear masks and making face coverings mandatory on federal property.

The president will also establish a new White House office to coordinate coronavirus response and he will halt the withdrawal of the US from the World Health Organization, a process initiated by Trump.


Poet Amanda Gorman steals the show

In one of the most talked-about moments at the inauguration, poet Amanda Gorman summoned images dire and triumphant as she called out to the world “even as we grieved, we grew”.

Gorman, 22, is the youngest poet in US history to mark the transition of presidential power, offering a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country with her poem The Hill We Climb.

Read more here.

Gorman’s poem was greeted with a hail of critical acclaim on social media [Patrick Semansky/Pool via Reuters]

Bernie Sanders trends on Twitter

A photo of US Senator Bernie Sanders at the inauguration looking cozy with his mittens has caught the interest of many on Twitter, spurring a flurry of memes.

Joe Biden enters White House for first time as president

President Joe Biden has entered the White House for the first time as president.

Biden is expected to sign 17 executive orders on his first day in office.

His arrival at the White House, which comes following a “virtual parade” down Pennsylvania Avenue, comes after a pared down inauguration ceremony at the US Capitol due to coronavirus precautions and heightened security.

President Joe Biden and his wife Jill embrace as they arrive to the White House during the Inauguration Day parade [Andrew Kelly/Reuters]

Read Joe Biden’s full inaugural address

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States just before noon EST (17:00 GMT) on Wednesday and then delivered his inaugural address, asking Americans to put their differences aside amid the pandemic and deep political divisions

Read the full address here.


Biden, Harris lay wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

President Biden Vice President Harris laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of Washington, DC.

The ceremony is meant to honour the “men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate sacrifice” in defending the US, according to Biden’s inaugural committee.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery [Evan Vucci/The Associated Press]

Biden, Harris take part in ‘Pass in Review’

President Biden and Vice President Harris have taken part in the traditional inaugural military tradition of “Pass in Review”.

Biden, Harris and their spouses stood Wednesday on the East Front steps of the US Capitol to observe the procession of ceremonial military regiments.

Several groupings passed by the steps, with military members saluting the newly minted president and musicians playing traditional patriotic tunes.

The inaugural parade that typically follows was to be replaced by a virtual parade later in the day because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the procession, the couples climbed into vehicles to travel to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They were to be joined by the former presidents who attended the earlier inaugural ceremony.

President Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden watch a military pass in review ceremony on the East Front of the Capitol [J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

Unknown man respectfully kneels at Beau Biden’s grave during inaugural address

As Joe Biden delivered his inaugural address, a man in a blue uniform knelt silently, head bowed and hands clasped, at the grave of Biden’s son Beau, reports the Delaware News Journal.

Aside from the unidentified man and a few maintenance workers, the cemetery at St Joseph on the Brandywine church was empty.

A reporter from the Delaware News Journal newpaper did not approach the man out of respect but wrote that the man remained at the grave after Joe Biden’s speech ended.

Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general and Army veteran, died in 2015 after a battle with brain cancer.


Congressional leaders give Biden, Harris gifts

President Biden and Vice President Harris were presented with commemorative gifts by leaders of the House and Senate.

“I am very glad we are able to carry on some of our favourite inaugural traditions,” said top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell who presented Biden and Harris with American flags that had flown over the Capitol during the inauguration.

“The Star-Spangled Banner is our greatest symbol of our endurance of the America idea…It flies over this building on triumphant days and on tragic ones, over all factions and all parties,” he said, praising and congratulating Biden and Harris, both former Senate colleagues.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, a political ally of Trump, presented them with framed photographs of the Inauguration.

“I listened to your speech today. You talked about the tension and division,” McCarthy said to Biden.“Our task as leaders is to bind this nation’s wounds and dedicate ourselves to the values all Americans share.”

“As leaders we are judged not by our words, but by our actions. So let’s go forth from here together, accomplish great things for the American people,” he said.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao arrive in the Crypt of the US Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP)

‘At the forefront of the presidency’

Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla sent this report from Washington, DC

Hannah Allen booked her ticket to Washington, DC back in November, when Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election.

When a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capital two weeks ago causing the whole city to go into lockdown, it was too late to cancel her reservation. So she came anyway.

She said she had envisioned being able to stand on the National Mall cheering the day, now she was sitting on a cement block in Black Lives Matter Plaza watching people wave Biden flags and blasting music from speakers.

“I just wanted to be a part of this celebration, it’s sad to see what it is because of what has happened,” Allen told Al Jazeera “I just thought it was important to be here because I feel that this is a really important time in American history,” she said.

She said that Biden inherits a nation confronting multiple challenges, but the pandemic, the disease that has killed over 400,000 Americans, will have to take precedent.

“I don’t think we can truly move forward on too many things until the pandemic is truly addressed,” she said.

“I don’t think our economy is going to be able to come back until that happens,” she added. “I think that the coronavirus has to be the forefront of the first few weeks of the presidency.”

Lady Gaga sings the National Anthem during the inauguration of Joe Biden [Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Biden signs official proclamations in first official act

President Biden signed three documents while in the President’s Room at the Capitol after his swearing-in ceremony Wednesday.

The signings, Biden’s first official presidential acts, included the Inauguration Day Proclamation, as well as nominations to Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions in his administration.


The country’s first female vice president

Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla sent this report from Washington, DC

Women on Wednesday pointed to the historic significance of having a woman become vice president of the United States – for the first time.

Kamala Harris, who is Black and of South Asian descent, is the first woman to hold that position.

“I think it’s really important to see women in these important leadership positions because all it does is encourage more young women to be able to see themselves in that position as well,” Emma Ford, from San Diego California, told Al Jazeera “and I want to see that first hand.

Washington, DC has particular significance for Harris, who lived in the city when she was a student at Howard University, a historically Black college.

The University’s marching band is expected to escort Harris to the White House for her first day on the job later in the day. Local media reported that the Howard campus rang its bells 49 times just before noon in honour of Harris becoming the 49th vice president.


‘History in the making’

Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla sent this report from Washington, DC

The subdued inauguration ceremony in Washington DC, amid heavy security and coronavirus restrictions, was no cause of concern for D’jion Harris who came from Florida to visit her adult son who lives in the city.

“I am so excited to see history in the making, to see the Biden-Harris team bring peace and unity to our country, I am just so excited,” Harris told Al Jazeera.

She says throughout the summer she had looked forward to coming to Black Lives Matter Plaza, a place she had heard about.

It is now surrounded by cement and metal barriers. The block letters that spell the phrase BLACK LIVES MATTER on two blocks on 16th Street have recently been painted with a coat of fresh yellow paint.

“Safety is the most thing right now,” she says.

“We can tune in virtually, and that’s the most because everyone staying healthy should be the priority right now,” Harris said from underneath a pink and green mask.


Iran says ‘only the US can fix itself in practice not words’

Iran is calling for action and “not just words” shortly after President Biden was sworn, according to a tweet from Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.

“The world knows that only the US can fix itself – in practice; not just words,” Khatibzadeh said in a Twitter post.


WHO chief congratulates Biden, Harris

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), on Wednesday congratulated U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris after their inauguration.

“Congratulations President @JoeBiden and Vice-President @KamalaHarris on your #Inauguration today. Here’s to a healthier, fairer, safer, more sustainable world”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter.

Biden has said he will halt the withdrawal of the US from the WHO, a process initiated by former President Trump.


Comparing 2017 and 2021 inaugurations

The inaugurations of President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump were vastly different.

President Barack Obama attended Trump’s inauguration. Trump did not attend Biden’s, which was vastly scaled down to the COVID-19 pandemic and security threats.

Below are comparisons of the two events. Find more here.

Presidential families:

National Mall

Capitol Hill


Pope tells Biden he prays for US reconciliation

Pope Francis has told President Joe Biden that he was praying that God would guide his efforts to bring reconciliation in the United States and among the nations of the world.

In a message sent shortly after the second Catholic president in US history was was sworn in, Francis also said he hoped Biden would work towards a society marked by true justice, freedom and respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those with no voice.


Small, sombre crowd listen to Biden speech in US capital

Al Jazeera’s Jihan Abdalla sent this report from Washington, DC

A small group of people stood outside the metal and cement barricade set up around Black Lives Matter Plaza listening to Biden’s speech blaring from a speaker.

Beyond the barrier a half dozen armed National Guard troops stand by.To get to Black Live Matter Plaza in downtown Washington, DC, pedestrians have to walk one street over to 15th street where a militarised checkpoint has been set up and people are asked to show their phones and open their coats.

Braving a cold, windy day, people say they are relieved that Biden has taken office, after a tumultuous four-year Trump administration.

“Hate, division, discrimination, racism – that’s what he brought,” Geradine Rivera from Orlando Florida said.

“And now he’s leaving a mess behind,” she told Al Jazeera.  “Now for the next president there’s a big challenge, but I think it’s gonna be a good term.”

President Joe Biden delivers his speech after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the US [Jim Bourg

Biden tweets for first time as president

Shortly after delivering his inaugural address, the @POTUS twitter account sent its first tweet from Joe Biden.

“There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families,” the tweet reads.

The @POTUS Twitter handle transferred from Trump, who was suspended from major social media platforms, to Biden just before Biden was sworn in as president and, controversially, Twitter reset the number of followers to zero upon the transfer.

The account currently has 1.7 million followers.


Biden, Harris conclude inauguration

President Biden and Vice President Harris have concluded their inaugural ceremony, after both being sworn into office.

Biden called the coming days “a time of testing.”

“We face an attack on our democracy and truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world,” Biden said.

“Any one of the 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,” Biden said.

Biden is expected to head to the White House, where he will sign a flurry of executive orders, including halting construction of Trump’s border wall and reversing the travel ban that targets predominantly Muslim countries.


QAnon begins to come to terms with Biden presidency

Adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a wide set of beliefs centred on the notion that Trump was chosen to defeat cannibalistic cabal of child-trafficking elites, began to face the reality of a Biden presidency on online forums.

Some in QAnon circles believed a great “storm”, or culling of the liberal elites by force, would occur before Biden took the oath of office, allowing Trump to remain in power, and were encouraged by the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.

Titles of forum posts show their displeasure.

“Oath is taking place, there is no plan”, one person titled their forum thread. “It’s over and nothing makes sense … absolutely nothing …” read another.

Experts believe QAnon will remain active in spite of Biden’s presidency as the far-right movement reforms after Trump’s departure.


Biden says it’s everyone’s duty to ‘defeat the lies’

Biden, during his inaugural address, said it was everyone’s duty to “defeat the lies”

“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson,” Biden said.

“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,” he said.

“Leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.”


Biden appeals to Trump voters for a chance to lead

President Biden has appealed to Trump supporters.

“To all those who did not support us, let me say this: hear me out,” Biden said during his first address to the country as president.

“As we move forward, take your 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 is perhaps this nation’s greatest strength,” Biden said.

“I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did,” he said.


Biden calls to ‘start afresh’

President Joe Biden, in his first address to the country, called a fresh start in US politics and rejection of “manipulated” truth.

“At this time in this place let’s start afresh. All of us must begin to listen to one another again, to hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another,” Biden said.

“And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured,” Biden said, drawing applause.

Biden called for the rejection of “political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism”, he said.

“American has to be better than this,” he said.

“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” said Biden, “and unity is the path forward”.

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Biden praises ‘peaceful transfer of power’

President Joe Biden, moments after being sworn in, called for unity, while decrying the violence at the US Capitol on January 6.

“Now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake this country’s very foundation,” said Biden.

“We come together as one nation, under God, indivisible and carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries,” he said.

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the US [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46 president of the US

Joe Biden has become the 46th president of the United States.

Biden was administered the oath of office by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.


Kamala Harris sworn in as vice president

Kamala Harris, a former senator and attorney general of California, has become the first woman and first person of colour to serve as vice president of the United States

Harris was sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Wearing a purple blazer, she hugged her husband and waved to the crowd after taking the oath.

Harris took her oath on a bible once owned by the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the US high court. Harris is of Jamaican and Indian descent.

Kamala Harris is sworn in as U. Vice President as her spouse Doug Emhoff holds a bible during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the US [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

One final last-minute Trump pardon

President Trump’s spokesman Judd Deere announced one additional presidential pardon for the ex-husband of one of his favorite TV hosts.

Albert Pirro Jr, who served 17 months in federal prison for conspiracy and tax evasion two decades ago, was “granted a full pardon” by Trump.

The announcement was made 35 minutes before his term ended and following his arrival in Florida, where he will begin his post-presidency life.

Pirro is the ex-husband of Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro, who is one of Trump’s most ardent defenders on the conservative cable TV network.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump granted clemency to 143 individuals.


Joe Biden inauguration: World reaction

President-elect Biden is due to be sworn in as president 46th president of the US, following his election victory over Trump last year.

Here are some of the global responses to Wednesday’s transfer of power in Washington, DC. This list will be updated as more reactions from leaders around the world pour in.

Read more here.

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden, arrive the inauguration.[Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press]

Senator Amy Klobuchar opens inaugural proceedings

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar has opened the inaugural proceedings.

“This ceremony is a culmination of 244 years of a democracy,” said Klobuchar.

“It falls on all of us, not just the two leaders inaugurated today, to take up the torch of our democracy, not as a weapon of political arson, but as an instrument for good,” she said.

“We celebrate a new President, Joe Biden, who vows to restore the soul of America and cross the river of our divides to a higher plane,” she said.

“We celebrate our first African American, first Asian American and first woman vice president, Kamala Harris,” she said.

Guests arrive during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the US [Jim Bourg/Reuters]

Trump arrives in Florida

President Trump has landed in Florida, where he will spend the final hour of his presidency.

Trump boarded Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning, giving a brief farewell address to supporters.

He is the first president in over 150 years to not attend his successor’s inauguration.

Vice President Mike Pence, however, is attending the event.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are greeted by a military honour guard as they board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews [Luis M Alvarez/The Associated Press]

Calm inauguration result of COVID-19, security threats: Analyst

Jennifer Victor, a professor at DC’s George Mason University, told Al Jazeera “this day is historic and it needs to be celebratory … on the other hand, we’ve never seen one like this in our lifetime”.

Biden’s inauguration features one of the smallest crowds in history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Victor said the January 6 Capitol riot is also a cause.

Marine One with President Donald Trump onboard leaves the White House ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington. [Saul Loeb/The Associated Press]
About 25,000 National Guard troops are in DC after thousands of Trump supporters stormed the US seat of government to stop the certification of Biden’s victory.

Law enforcement said ahead of the inauguration there were concerns of violence at the ceremony.

“The calmness and the lack of people at this event is a function of both the pandemic and the security threat”, Victor said.


Podcast: After inauguration, what’s next for the US?

Al Jazeera’s the Take podcast explores the legacy of Trump and what to expect in a Biden presidency.

https://art19.com/shows/the-take/episodes/d61f8c5c-9956-4583-8a8f-53781dacf884/embed?theme=light-orange” style=“width: 100%; height: 200px; border: 0 none;” scrolling=“no”>iframe>


President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris arrive at US Capitol

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have arrived at the US Capitol for the inauguration.

Biden, a senator and former vice president, is set to become the 46th president of the United States when Trump’s term ends at 12pm EST (17:00 GMT).

President-elect Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the US [File: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Former presidents arrive at the Capitol

Former US presidents have begun to arrive at the US Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Former President Bill Clinton former and Former President Barack Obama had arrived around 10am ET (15 GMT). Former President George W Bush will also attend the pared-down event.

Obama tweeted his congratulations to Biden, his former vice president.


Mexico calls on Biden to fix immigration status of Mexican nationals

The incoming administration of President-Elect Biden should take steps to settle the immigration status of Mexicans working in the US, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has.

“We have been proposing that our countrymen who have been working for years should be regularised, contributing to the development of that great nation,” Lopez Obrador told reporters in his regular daily news conference.

The Mexican president said such a move should complement plans to support poor Central American nations and southern Mexico, areas which send many migrants to the United States.


Bidens attends church with Republican, Democratic Congress leaders

President-elect Biden attended church at St Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC on Wednesday morning, accompanied by Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress in a symbol of unity ahead of his inauguration.

The future 46th President of the United States was accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House leader Kevin McCarthy.

President-elect Joe Biden and Dr Jill Biden attend services at the Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle with Congressional leaders prior to the inauguration [Chip Somodevilla/AFP]

Trump boards Air Force One to head to Florida

Trump has boarded Air Force One after a brief farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.

He will head to Florida, a state he became a resident during his presidency.

Trump’s term will end at 12pm ET (17 GMT), but he is expected to remain a force in US politic. He has floated starting his own news network and political party.

He also continues to face several criminal investigations, as well as an impeachment trial in the senate over allegations he incited rioters who breached the US Capitol as Congress met to certify the election results on January 6.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base [Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press]

Trump says ‘we were not a regular administration’

Al Jazeera’s Kamahl Santamaria said Trump’s farewell address was a collection of his “greatest hits”.

Trump mentioned the booming stock market, protection of troops and tax cuts as successes, all of which are subject to debate.

Santamaria remarked that “everyone” on the political spectrum could agree with at least one thing Trump said during his farewell address: “We were not a regular administration”.


Trump: ‘We will be back in some form’

Trump arrived at Joint Base Andrews to a 21 gunshot salute.

He addressed a small crowd gathered, saying “we accomplished so much together. I want to thank all of my family and my friends and my staff and so many other people for being here.”

Trump wished the incoming administration “luck”, saying think they’ll have great success they have the foundation to do something really spectacular and we put it in a position like it’s never been before.”

He also gave a possible nod to his political future, after the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday he is mulling starting his own political party.

“I will always fight for you. I will be watching. I will be listening,” he said.

“We love you,” Trump said. “We will be back in some form.”

President Donald Trump speaks next to first lady Melania Trump as he departs from the Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on his final day in office [Carlos Barria/The Associated Press]

Donald Trump leaves White House for the final time in presidential term

Trump emerged from White House on Wednesday morning and strode across the South Lawn to board Marine One.

He said: “It’s been a great honour, the honour of a lifetime.”

“I just want to say goodbye. And hopefully, it’s not a long-term goodbye, we’ll see each other again. Thank you all very much,” Trump said.

Trump now heads to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he’ll have a military sendoff.

A red carpet has been placed on the tarmac for Trump to walk as he boards the plane. Four US Army cannons are set up for a 21-gun salute.

Trump then flies to Florida, where he’ll stay at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump is leaving Washington just hours before Joe Biden takes the oath of office as the 46th president. It’s the first time in more than a century that a sitting president has rejected the tradition of attending his successor’s inauguration.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House  ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden, in Washington. [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Trump signed order against his executive order on lobbying

According to the White House, Donald Trump signed an executive order, lifting the ban that was prohibiting officials who leave the administration from lobbying the White House for at least two years.


British PM says he’s looking forward to working with Biden

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he looked forward to working with Joe Biden on their “shared priorities”, just hours before Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.

“As I said when I spoke with him on his election as President, I look forward to working with him, and with his new administration, strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities: from tackling climate change, building back better from the pandemic and strengthening our Transatlantic security,” Johnson said in parliament.



Russia says better ties with US up to Biden

The Kremlin said that any improvement in Moscow’s tense relationship with Washington would depend on Joe Biden when he enters the White House.

The United States recently blamed Kremlin-backed hackers for a massive cyberattack that breached government institutions, adding to a long list of grievances plaguing ties between the former Cold War rivals.

“Russia will live as it has lived for hundreds of years: seeking good relations with the United States,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Whether or not Washington works towards achieving the same goal “will depend on Mr Biden and his team,” Peskov added.


Joe Biden’s inauguration day: What you need to know

When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in as president and vice president at Noon EST (17:00 GMT) on Wednesday, they will be doing so on a day that will resemble no other previous inauguration.

Biden has been planning a significantly scaled-down inauguration day for two months due to the pandemic: a minimal crowd will be on hand at the US Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony and his inaugural speech.

The traditional inauguration luncheon with Congress and the Supreme Court followed by the Inaugural Parade were both scuttled weeks ago, as were the traditional inaugural balls.

The celebratory events will be replaced by a “virtual” parade, featuring parade participants from all across the US and a “Celebrating America” television special hosted by actor Tom Hanks replaces the balls.

Read more here.



Remembering 11 of Trump’s forgotten ‘moments’

As the sun sets on US President Donald Trump’s presidency, the chilling events of January 6, when his supporters stormed the US Capitol, continue to hang over his departure. But there is no denying that Trump will be remembered for many other moments.

Some of them were historic, unprecedented and, in many cases, completely bizarre. Americans will remember his public suggestion that COVID-19 could possibly be knocked out by injecting disinfectant in the human body or the time he tweeted out the word “covfefe” (still no explanation of what he meant). But there were many other unusual and awkward moments.

Read more here.


Scaramucci brands Trump ‘seditious traitor’

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci described outgoing US President Donald Trump as a “seditious traitor”.

Scaramucci, who has become a Trump critic since his departure from the White House, said many American’s would “breathe a sigh of relief” after Biden’s inauguration.

“All of us are waiting with bated breath, many of my friends are frankly up this evening because we’re worried, because of what he’s capable of and what he did to our country,” Scaramucci said on Trump’s final few hours as president.

“He’s a seditious traitor and he will be known for history as a domestic terrorist in the United States.”


German president ‘greatly relieved’ at US change of power

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed relief that Joe Biden was replacing Donald Trump as US president on Wednesday, calling it a “good day for democracy”.

“I am greatly relieved that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president today and move into the White House,” the head of state said. “I know this feeling is shared by many people in Germany.”


Biden to sign 15 actions to address US ‘crises’

Joe Biden will sign 15 executive actions after he is sworn in as US president on Wednesday, aides said, undoing policies put in place by outgoing President Donald Trump and making his first moves on the pandemic and climate change.

To address the “crises” of the pandemic, the economy, climate change and racial inequity, Biden will sign the executive orders and memorandums in the Oval Office in the afternoon, and ask agencies to take steps in two additional areas, said incoming Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

The actions include a mask mandate on federal property and for federal employees and an order to establish a new White House office coordinating response to the coronavirus.

Biden will also begin the process of re-entering the Paris climate accord and issue a sweeping order tackling climate change, including revoking the presidential permit granted to the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Among a raft of orders addressing immigration, Biden will revoke Trump’s emergency declaration that helped fund the construction of a border wall and end a travel ban on some majority-Muslim countries.

Further actions will include revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing a policy that blocks US funding for programs overseas linked to abortion.


EU’s von der Leyen says Europe ‘has a friend in the White House’

The European Union’s chief executive hailed on Wednesday as a new dawn Joe Biden’s term as US president but warned that the bloc would strive to regulate American technology companies, calling for global standards.

“After four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, who welcomed outgoing President Donald Trump’s ban on Twitter.

But she added: “This kind of decision must be taken in accordance with laws and rules … not by an arbitrary decision in the power of Silicon Valley CEOs.”


Europe, US need ‘new founding pact’ after Trump: EU’s Michel

European Council President Charles Michel called for the United States and European Union to create a “new founding pact” for their transatlantic relations.

“Today is an opportunity to rejuvenate our transatlantic relationship which has greatly suffered in the last 4 years,” he said.

“On the first day of his mandate, I address a solemn proposal to the new US president: Let’s build a new founding pact for a stronger Europe, for a stronger America, and for a better world,” Michel said.


Trump pardons ex-aide Bannon, dozens of others: White House

US President Donald Trump has granted a pardon to his disgraced former aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations during his final hours in office.

The statement issued by the White House on Wednesday included a list of the names of 73 pardoned individuals and 70 others whose sentences were commuted.

Read more here.


Biden marks nation’s COVID grief before inauguration pomp

Hours from the inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden paused on what might have been his triumphal entrance to Washington, DC on Tuesday evening to mark instead the national tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic with a moment of collective grief for Americans lost.

“To heal we must remember,” the incoming president told the nation at a sunset ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial.

Four hundred lights representing the pandemic’s victims were illuminated behind him around the monument’s Reflecting Pool.

“Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights into the darkness … and remember all who we lost,” Biden said.


Trump, in farewell address, says movement ‘only just beginning’

President Donald Trump has released a farewell video, touting what he described as the success of his “America First” platform and telling his supporters that “the movement we started is only just beginning”.

Trump, who will leave office on Wednesday but will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, acknowledged in the nearly 20-minute video that a new administration would be sworn in this week.

Read more here.


Indian village cheers for Kamala Harris before US inauguration

A tiny, lush Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields is beaming with joy, hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the vice president of the US.

Harris is set to make history as the first woman, first woman of colour and first person of South Asian descent to hold the vice presidency.

Read more here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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