Joe Biden is being inaugurated today as the 46th president of the United States. He is taking the oath of office at noon, putting an end to the tumultuous single term of Donald Trump and taking on the handling of a devastating pandemic.
On Tuesday evening, Biden and incoming Vice President Kamala Harris led a national mourning for coronavirus victims at the Lincoln Memorial. Four hundred lights illuminated the reflecting pool, representing the over 400,000 people who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. Biden and Harris both spoke at the memorial.
President-elect Joe Biden: “To heal, we must remember. And it’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: “For many months we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together. Though we may be physically separated, we, the American people, are united in spirit.”
Kamala Harris will make history as the first woman vice president. She is also the first African American, first Asian American and first Indian American to hold the office. As vice president, Harris will swear in three new Democratic senators this afternoon, giving control of the chamber to her party: Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who both won their Georgia runoffs earlier this month, and Alex Padilla, who will replace her in the Senate, representing California.
Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence is attending the inauguration today and will miss Trump’s send-off at Joint Base Andrews. Trump, who is not going to the inauguration, released a farewell video Tuesday.
President Donald Trump: “Now as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning.”
In one of his last acts as president, Trump revoked his own 2017 executive order barring federal government appointees from lobbying the agencies in which they worked within five years of leaving the administration.