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Inauguration Live Updates: Biden takes office, moving quickly to implement agenda

UniqueThis 14 Jan 20

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By Stefan Becket, Grace Segers, Kathryn Watson and Melissa Quinn



Washington — Joseph R. Biden, Jr., was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, urging a bitterly divided country to come together at a perilous time in American history while moving quickly to begin implementing his agenda.

"This is America's day. This is democracy's day," Mr. Biden said in his inaugural address. "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."

Noting that he was being inaugurated on the Capitol steps just two weeks after it was stormed by a "riotous mob," Mr. Biden said the country has been reminded that "democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed."

In the hours after his address, the new president took action to target some of former President Donald Trump's most controversial initiatives and bolster the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, wearing a mask, Mr. Biden began signing a stack of executive orders and actions on immigration, climate change, COVID-19, racial equality and more.

Among his first actions were orders to mandate the wearing of masks on all federal property, rejoin the Paris climate accord and boost federal support for underserved communities.

"I think some of the things we're going to be doing are going to be bold and vital, and there's no time to start like today," he told reporters. 

Mr. Biden takes over at a time of tremendous upheaval and division, fueled both by his predecessor and the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans. 

The inauguration ceremony earlier in the day was unlike any the country has ever seen, with a new president addressing an empty National Mall while thousands of National Guard troops stood watch over downtown Washington. The Mall was filled with thousands of small flags representing Americans who might otherwise have been in attendance, were it not for the pandemic.

Instead of inaugural balls, Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris opted for a 90-minute televised special called "Celebrating America" where they both spoke. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton appeared as well. The special was live on all broadcast networks, and was hosted by Tom Hanks and featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend and more. Katy Perry capped off the night with "Firework" before a fireworks display that Mr. Biden and first lady Jill Biden watched from the White House and Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff watched from the National Mall. 

Shortly before noon, when he officially became president, Mr. Biden took the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Minutes earlier, Harris was sworn in, making history as the first woman and person of color to become second in line to the presidency.

After the swearing-in, Mr. Biden and Harris took part in modified pandemic-era versions of the ceremonial duties that traditionally surround the inauguration of a new president, accepting gifts from congressional leaders and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before participating in a short parade to the White House before a modest, mask-wearing crowd.

Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and outgoing Vice President Mike Pence were on hand to witness Mr. Biden's swearing-in, with seats spaced apart to prevent the spread of the virus. Three former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — were also among those in attendance.

Mr. Trump, however, was not there, having left Washington earlier Wednesday morning. Mr. Trump instead addressed supporters before boarding Air Force One for the last time as president to fly to Florida. He is the first outgoing president in more than 150 years to not attend the inauguration of his successor.

Biden Inauguration
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch fireworks from the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. Evan Vucci / AP

 After a rendition of Bill Withers' hit "Lovely Day" from Demi Lovato and an appearance by the Bidens from the White House balcony, Katy Perry gave the final performance of the night. She sang her hit "Firework" as a fireworks show lit up Washington, D.C. 

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watched the display from the White House balcony, while Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff watched from the National Mall.

Biden Inauguration
Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument in Washington, as seen from Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, as part of the festivities after President Joe Biden was inaugurated today. Cliff Owen / AP

Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush recorded a message at Arlington National Cemetery celebrating the importance of the "peaceful transfer of power." 

"I think the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Clinton said the country is trying to "come back to normalcy" and "trying to do what we do best, trying to create a more perfect union. It's an exciting time."

Mr. Obama touted the importance of "not just listening to folks we agree with but also folks we don't." He said one of the "fondest moments" of his inauguration was when he met with Mr. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump did not meet with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden ahead of the inauguration. 

Three presidents of the United States of America: one message of unity.#Inauguration2021

— Biden Inaugural Committee (@BidenInaugural) January 21, 2021

John Legend sang and played on the piano the James Brown song "It's a New Day" before a tribute to healthcare workers that featured a recorded message from Sandra Lindsay, the New York City nurse who was the first person in America to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Today absolutely had us *feeling good*!

Always an honor to have @JohnLegend make us dance, and @chrissyteigen make us laugh. 💃🏼#Inauguration2021

— Biden Inaugural Committee (@BidenInaugural) January 21, 2021

"Our nurses care for thousands of people daily," Lindsay said. "We're often the last people to hold their hands. It has taken a toll of so many on the frontlines."

We owe a great debt of gratitude to health care workers like Sandra Lindsay for all they do to take care of us -- especially in the past year.

— Biden Inaugural Committee (@BidenInaugural) January 21, 2021

Before Linsday spoke, Mr. Biden said "this crisis has shown the nation we literally could not survive without you." 

Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard performed "Undivided," which Hubbard said he wrote while he was quarantined with COVID-1, as a tribute to healthcare workers. "This song is a message of unity and faith, stirred my soul," McGraw said. 

.@TheTimMcGraw & @THubbmusic living our values and showing what America could look like if we were all a little more "Undivided".

— Biden Inaugural Committee (@BidenInaugural) January 21, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke for the first time after her swearing-in ceremony earlier Wednesday, highlighting "American aspiration" and "the courage to see beyond crisis."

She called it an "honor" to be there and "to stand on the shoulders of those who came before. To speak tonight as your vice president."

In keeping with the optimistic theme, she said, "in many ways, this embodies our character as a nation" and "even in dark times, we not only dream, we do." 

"We are bold, fearless, and ambitious," she said. "We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we shall rise up. This is American aspiration."

“In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be.” — Vice President Harris #Inauguration2021

— Biden Inaugural Committee (@BidenInaugural) January 21, 2021

Musical performances continued after President Joe Biden spoke from the Lincoln Memorial. Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons performed their song "Better Days."

They were followed by the Foo Fighters, who dedicated their performance of "Times Like These" to "our unshakeable teachers."

Lin-Manuel Miranda read "Make Hope and History Rhyme" by Seamus Heaney, a poet often cited by Mr. Biden.


President Joe Biden gave a brief speech by the Lincoln Memorial, calling on Americans to live up to the moment. 

America's story depends not on any one person, but on every American, he said. Unity is the only way to get through darkness, Mr. Biden added. 

There are times in the nation's history when Americans need to do that much more for their country, Mr. Biden said. This is one of those times.

“Because of you, democracy has prevailed. That is why Jill and I, Kamala and Doug, wanted to make sure that our inauguration was not about us — but about you, the American people.” — President Biden #Inauguration2021

— Biden Inaugural Committee (@BidenInaugural) January 21, 2021

"Will we meet the moment like our forebearers have? I believe we must, and I believe we will," he said. 

The new president made a promise: "I will give my all to you." 


Bruce Springsteen opened up the 90-minute special "Celebrating America," hosted by Tom Hanks. Springsteen performed "Land of Hope and Dreams" with the Lincoln Memorial behind him.

Biden Inauguration Celebrating America Event
In this image from video, Bruce Springsteen performs during the Celebrating America event on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Biden Inaugural Committee via AP

Jon Bon Jovi performed "Here Comes the Sun" from a Miami boardwalk.

President Biden will speak later at the Lincoln Memorial.

What's on the agenda for Biden? 07:27

President Joe Biden faces challenges getting his priorities through Congress with a closely divided Senate. CBS News political contributor and Democratic strategist Lynda Tran joins CBSN's "Red & Blue" to discuss how President Biden aims to bring Congress together and the prospects for another COVID-19 relief bill.

Jen Psaki gives first press briefing 30:48

White House press secretary Jen Psaki held her first press briefing Wednesday evening, saying President Joe Biden wants to bring truth and transparency back to the White House. 

"I have deep respect for the role of a free an independent press in our democracy and for the role all of you play," Psaki said. She added that there will certainly be times when the White House press corps and the White House press office disagree. 

Mr. Biden's first call with a foreign leader will be with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Psaki didn't say whether Mr. Biden will be speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but did say he intends to speak with America's allies in his early calls. 

Psaki said getting Mr. Biden's team confirmed by the Senate is "front-and-center" for Mr. Biden, prioritizing national security positions. Psaki also said Mr. Biden will be "quite involved" in COVID relief negotiations with Capitol Hill.

Asked if Mr. Biden believes Mr. Trump needs to be held accountable for the Capitol riots, Psaki said he's "going to leave it to members of Congress" to decide what the timeline and punishments will be for the former president. 

Psaki said she has no details on a first foreign trip for the president at this point in time. 


The Senate voted to confirm Avril Haines to be director of national intelligence on Wednesday evening, making her the first of President Biden's Cabinet nominees to be confirmed. Haines was approved by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 84 to 10.

The Senate adjourned for the night after confirming Haines, and will reconvene at 12 p.m. on Thursday.  

"Avril Haines was the right choice for Director of National Intelligence. We appreciate the bipartisan cooperation to get her confirmed tonight, and we hope there will be a lot more of it because the nation is in crisis and we need President Biden's team in place as quickly as possible," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor ahead of the vote that it was "appropriate" that Haines would be the first nominee confirmed by the Senate.

"I believe she is firmly committed to rebuilding the office of the Director of National Intelligence," Warner said, an implicit rebuke of the office under former President Trump. He said morale within the intelligence community had been damaged as officials had "seen many of their leaders fired for simply doing the right thing: speaking truth to power."

Read more here.


President Biden held a swearing-in ceremony for his appointees through a videoconference Wednesday evening. Appointees do not need to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Mr. Biden said this administration has an opportunity and privilege to impact people around the world. He said he expects honesty and dignity. 

The new commander-in-chief thanked the families of his appointees since the administration officials will be working long hours. 

The president spoke of the importance of containing the COVID-19 pandemic and distributing the vaccine, as well as of rescuing the economy and improving it. 

The president also promised that if he hears an appointee treat another colleague with disrespect or talk down to someone, he will fire that person on the spot. That's in contrast with Mr. Trump's approach, who sometimes believed the best ideas came from division and entertained factions among his staff. 

"If you're ever working with me and I hear you treated another colleague with disrespect — talk down to someone — I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot," Mr. Biden said. 

Mr. Biden said he is not concerned about his nominees being confirmed by the Senate. 


The Senate will vote this evening on whether to confirm Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, the first confirmation vote for a Biden nominee. Republican Senator Tom Cotton had previously objected to holding the vote on Haines' nomination quickly, but announced in a speech on the Senate floor that he was lifting his objection.

"I was the last person to object to holding that vote. I no longer object," Cotton said. He had initially objected to the vote because he was unclear on whether Haines wanted to reopen investigations into detention and interrogation programs from the early 2000s.

"She clarified in the private setting that we had that she had no intention to open up those investigations and expose operations officers inside the CIA to criminal prosecution or adverse employment action, or even holding it against them and potential future promotions or placements," Cotton said.

Haines is all but guaranteed to be confirmed, as Democrats now control the Senate.

Biden works on packed legislative agenda 09:11

Seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, the president signed three executive actions in the presence of reporters — implementing a mask mandate on federal property, increasing support for underserved communities, and rejoining the Paris climate accord. 

"I think some of the things we're going to be doing are going to be bold and vital, and there's no time to start like today," he told reporters. 

A stack of other orders was on the desk beside him. He was expected to sign 17 in total on Wednesday night, dealing with immigration, racial inequality, the pandemic and more.

Read more here.


New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor that lawmakers would get to work on implementing the "lengthy agenda" set by Mr. Biden, such as addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

"Today, the threat to our democracy from the presidency itself has ended, but the challenges we face as a nation remain," Schumer said. He added that this would be a "busy and consequential period for the United States Senate." 

Schumer said the Senate would work differently under a Democratic majority, implicitly drawing a contrast with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who as majority leader blocked several bills passed in the House from moving forward in the Senate.

"This Senate will legislate. It will be active, responsive, energetic and bold," Schumer said. He reached out to his Republican colleagues, saying he would aim to legislate on a bipartisan basis when possible, and that "the Senate works best when we work together."

However, in his first speech as minority leader, McConnell indicated he did not believe Democrats had a mandate, given their narrow majority in the Senate.

"Our country deserves both sides and both parties to find common ground for the common good where we can," McConnell said.


Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office after signing his first executive actions, Mr. Biden said the letter left for him by the former president before departing the White House was "very generous." 

"The president wrote a very generous letter," Mr. Biden, wearing a mask, said. "Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him."

Mr. Trump never met with Mr. Biden at the White House before the inauguration, and the two did not speak. The former president did, however, leave him a note, keeping with a tradition set by modern presidents.


Harris returned to the Capitol for the first time as vice president on Wednesday to administer the oath of office for Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla, in her capacity as president of the Senate. With the swearing-in of these three senators, Democrats now hold a narrow majority in the Senate of 50-50, with Harris breaking any tie.

Ossoff and Warnock won their runoff elections in Georgia earlier this month, and Padilla was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to replace Harris in the Senate.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont was sworn in as president pro tempore of the Senate, becoming third in line to the presidency.

Read more here.


After a brief military escort to Pennsylvania Avenue, the new president and first lady stepped out of the presidential motorcade and walked to the front of the White House with members of their family. 

On the way, Mr. Biden jogged over to the media to greet them, before joining his family on the walk inside. He also greeted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrive on foot at the gate of the White House alongside their family.

Flags from each state in the union line the driveway as the Biden family walks toward the front door.

— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 20, 2021

The president waved to the small number of vetted supporters on the sidelines before walking down the North Lawn driveway and entering the White House for the first time as president.


The new commander in chief and vice president were joined by former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton at a traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. 

Mr. Biden and Harris observed a moment of silence before a member of the military honor guard played "Taps" in the somber ceremony.

Three former presidents join President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 20, 2021

After receiving gifts from congressional leaders, Mr. Biden and Harris participated in the traditional Pass in Review, during which they reviewed military troops at the East Front of the Capitol.

Mr. Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden, as well as Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, then got into separate cars, which will take them to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The black limousine carrying Mr. Biden is adorned with the presidential seal and a license plate that says "46."

Amanda Gorman recites poem at inauguration 06:25

Amanda Gorman made history Wednesday as the youngest known inaugural poet. The 22-year-old Los Angeles resident delivered her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration, and earned rave reviews for her powerful message.

Ahead of the performance, Gorman spoke about the impact of her poem with "CBS This Morning" and noted how the message changed after the violent attack on the Capitol. "I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday for me really just underscored how much that was needed," she said. "But to not turn a blind eye to the cracks that really need to be filled."

In 2017, Gorman became the first National Youth Poet Laureate. The Harvard graduate plans to release a children's book of poems later this year. Like Mr. Biden, Gorman has struggled with a speech impediment throughout her life, making poetry a "lifeline" for her. Also like Mr. Biden, she has a long-term goal of running for president.

Read more here.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented Mr. Biden and Harris with the American flags that flew over the Capitol as they were sworn in, as a part of the ceremony in which congressional leaders give gifts. 

McConnell took the opportunity to make a dig at the House, pointing out that both Harris and Mr. Biden skipped the House and went straight to the Senate. 

McConnell speaks at inaugural gift ceremony: "With all due respect to our distinguished Speaker and our colleagues from the House, I have to note — not only did we just swear in a son and daughter of the Senate, but indeed, both these former senators skipped the House altogether"

— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 20, 2021

Other congressional leaders presented official photos of the inauguration to Harris and Mr. Biden.


Mr. Biden is signing three documents in the President's Room at the Capitol: an Inauguration Day Proclamation, nominations to Cabinet positions and nominations to lower-level positions.

Mr. Biden will also conduct a review of the armed forces on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol. He will be hosted by the commander of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and will review the readiness of military troops, with every branch of the military represented.


Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff bid farewell to now-former Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, escorting them down the steps on the East Front of the Capitol as they prepared to depart Washington for Indiana. 

The foursome spoke on the steps before the Pences got into a black SUV and left the Capitol complex.

Former Vice President Mike Pence and former Second Lady Karen Pence have departed Capitol Hill.@VP Kamala Harris and @SecondGentleman Douglas Emhoff shared words with Pence before leaving.#InaugurationDay

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 20, 2021

The Pences will take a small government plane on a "special air mission" to his hometown of Columbus, Indiana. One of the pilots that flew the couple from Indiana to Washington four years ago will be flying them back to their home state, a senior administration official said Tuesday.


The new White House has gained control of official Twitter handles, securing @WhiteHouse, @POTUS, @VP, @FLOTUS and @PressSec. The Trump-era accounts have been archived under new handles: @POTUS45, @WhiteHouse45, @VP45, @PressSec45, @FLOTUS45 and @SecondLady45.

The Twitter followers for the Trump-era accounts did not transfer to the new Biden White House accounts, a change from 2016, when Mr. Trump's team inherited the accounts' millions of followers.

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.

— President Biden (@POTUS) January 20, 2021

Mr. Biden's team has also taken over the White House Facebook page, and launched a revamped within minutes of Mr. Biden becoming president.

Biden's inauguration address 22:16

In his 21-minute inauguration address, President Biden outlined an optimistic view of the future, and called for Americans to unify around common goals.

"This is America's day. This is democracy's day," Mr. Biden said. "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."

Noting that he was being inaugurated on the Capitol steps just two weeks after it was stormed by a "riotous mob," Mr. Biden said that the country had learned that "democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed."

"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. And 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," Mr. Biden said.

The president thanked his "predecessors of both parties for their presence here today," although his immediate predecessor Mr. Trump was absent.

Mr. Biden highlighted the struggles that the country must still overcome, including the coronavirus pandemic, domestic terrorism, white supremacy and racial injustice.

"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," he said. He quoted President Abraham Lincoln, whose "whole soul" was dedicated to "bringing America together." 

"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," Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden acknowledged that it may seem difficult to achieve unity in such a divided nation, perhaps a tacit acknowledgment of the Republicans in Congress who objected to the Electoral College results in an effort to overturn the election.

"I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new," Mr. Biden said. "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." 

Mr. Biden also reached out to supporters of Mr. Trump, urging them to "hear me out."

"Hear me out, as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If we 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," Mr. Biden said. "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 fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did."

Mr. Biden also said that he understood those who "view the future with fear and trepidation," but urged Americans to try to connect with those who disagree with them.

"We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal," he said, adding that "we must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation."

Mr. Biden sought to reassure the American public, saying "we will get through this together," and also briefly addressed foreign audiences watching his speech.

"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," Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden also acknowledged the 400,000 Americans lost to the coronavirus pandemic, leading the audience in a "silent prayer" honoring the victims and their families.

"I promise you, we will be judged — you and I — for how we resolve these cascading crises of our era," he said.

He closed his speech with a "sacred oath," promising to defend the Constitution, tell the truth and lead the people without selfishness, an implicit rebuke to Mr. Trump.

"I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I will defend our democracy. I will defend America," Mr. Biden said. "With purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, and devoted to each other and the country that we love with all our hearts."

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president 02:29

At 11:49 a.m., Joe Biden was sworn into office by Chief Justice John Roberts. 

His wife, Second Lady Jill Biden, held up a family Bible for him. Mr. Biden pledged to "faithfully execute" the office of the United States, and "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution to the best of my ability, so help me God."

Mr. Biden officially becomes president at noon.

Ashley Biden and Hunter Biden also accompanied Mr. Biden on stage. 

Kamala Harris sworn in as vice president 02:33

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath of office for Harris. With her hand on the Bible held by her husband, Harris swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Harris is the first woman vice president, as well as the first Black and Asian-American vice president.


Mr. Biden will be sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013, a source familiar with the matter tells CBS News. It was also used each time he was sworn in as a U.S. senator. It is five inches thick, with a Celtic cross on the cover.

The president-elect's late son Beau Biden also used the Bible for his own swearing-in ceremony as attorney general of Delaware, and helped carry the Bible to his father's 2013 ceremony.


As lawmakers and guests took their seats on the platform on the West Front of the Capitol, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, the co-chairs of the committee in charge of organizing the ceremony, kicked off proceedings with remarks stressing the gravity of the moment and the importance of a peaceful transfer of power.

Klobuchar: "When an angry, violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awaken us to our responsibilities as Americans. This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust and does what America always does — goes forward"

— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 20, 2021

Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have arrived at the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony, proceeding down the Capitol steps to take their seats close to the lectern where Mr. Biden will deliver his inaugural address. 

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence arrive at the U.S. Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Pres. Trump has arrived in Florida.

— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 20, 2021

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approached Pence to shake hands soon after he arrived.

Pence declined to attend Mr. Trump's send-off at Joint Base Andrews earlier in the day, with an aide saying it would conflict with his commitment to attend the inauguration.


Mr. Trump landed at Palm Beach International Airport at 10:54 a.m., completing his final ride aboard Air Force One as president. 

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tiffany Trump and her fiance, and Barron Trump were all on board. Mr. Trump spent the flight with his family, according to pool reporters. 

Mr. Trump will be spending his days at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 


A defense official tells CBS News that a small number of additional National Guard troops have been held out of inauguration security as a result of Secret Service and FBI screening. The number of additional guardsmen withheld from security is in the single digits, the official said.

It appears that none of them were held due to possible links to extremist groups, but were held for other reasons such as outstanding legal problems. On Tuesday, two guardsmen were held out for possible extremist links, as well as 10 guardsmen for other reasons. As of Wednesday, the number held out for possible extremist links was still two, but the number held out for other reasons is closer to 20.


U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who led a mob of Mr. Trump's supporters away from the Senate floor during the January 6 riots, escorted Harris up the Capitol steps as she and Mr. Biden arrived for the inauguration.

Goodman has been named the acting deputy House sergeant at arms.

Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from the Senate chamber, will escort Kamala Harris at the inauguration as the new acting deputy House Sergeant at

— Norah O'Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) January 20, 2021
Biden Inauguration
Congressional members and guests arrive for the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Patrick Semansky / AP

The incoming president and vice president have arrived at the Capitol for their swearing-in ceremony, entering the building's East Front roughly 45 minutes before the proceedings are set to begin.

Lawmakers and guests are filing in to seating areas on the West Front of the Capitol, where Mr. Biden will deliver his inaugural address.


Former President Barack Obama extended congratulations to his former vice president ahead of his swearing-in.

"Congratulations to my friend, President @JoeBiden! This is your time," Mr. Obama tweeted.

Congratulations to my friend, President @JoeBiden! This is your time.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 20, 2021

Mr. Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will be among the former presidents in attendance at Mr. Biden's inauguration. They will also attend the wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery later this afternoon.

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