Joe Biden is set to become the 46th president of the United States today (Jan.20). In Washington, DC, he is slated to take the oath of office just before 17:00 GMT which is when Donald Trump’s term as president ends. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office alongside Biden - the first woman to hold that position.
Biden's inauguration speech will focus on the need to bring the country together. DC and states across the country are under strict and heightened security over fears of possible new threats today. Some 25,000 troops will guard the inauguration ceremony after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by rioters.
A traditional highlight of any inauguration is the sea of supporters of the incoming president that flood the National Mall from all over the country. Instead of a throng of supporters, the National Mall was covered by nearly 200,000 flags and 56 pillars of light meant to represent people from U.S. states and territories.
Trump is not attending the ceremony, becoming the first president in 152 years to skip his successor's inauguration. The Bidens will be greeted at the White House by chief usher Timothy Harleth instead of the Trumps. The outgoing president did, however, leave a customary note for Biden in the Oval Office, several US media outlets reported citing White House officials, though it was not yet known what it said.
The 45th president gave a farewell address earlier in the day at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One and heading to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Trump described his presidency as four "incredible" years and said that "we've accomplished so much together."
He also hinted he will stay in public life after leaving the White House. "We will be back in some form," he said in the final speech of his presidency. Trump went on to say that he thinks the next administration "will have great success" because they have the "foundations" for it, but he also wished them "great luck."
Biden will become the oldest U.S. president in history and will assumes the helm of a country beset by deep political divides and a health, economic and social crisis. Advisers said the 78 year-old will waste little time turning the page on the Trump era, signing a raft of 15 executive actions on issues ranging from the COVID-19 to the economy.
With reporting by news agencies