Inauguration live updates: Biden, Harris inauguration ceremony begins

11:15 a.m. ET 

Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration ceremony has begun.

Biden swears the oath of office at noon Wednesday, becoming the 46th president of the United States. The Democrat is preparing to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.

History will be made at Biden’s side, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.

The ceremony in which presidential power is transferred is a hallowed American democratic tradition. And this time it serves as a jarring reminder of the challenges Biden faces: The inauguration unfolds at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago, encircled by security forces. It’s devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flouting tradition, Donald Trump departed Washington on Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration rather than accompany his successor to the Capitol.

Former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are attending.

The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend.

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10:35 a.m. ET update

President-elect Joe Biden has arrived at the U.S. Capitol ahead of his inauguration as the United States’ 46th president.

Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and were greeted by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

The president-elect’s motorcade wound its way through a mostly deserted Washington following a morning church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Streets that would typically be lined with thousands of inaugural onlookers were ringed instead with a massive security presence to include military vehicles and armed troops.

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington following the violent melee at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.

Biden paused to wave from the Capitol steps before entering the building.

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10:25 a.m. ET update

All of the former U.S. presidents attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration have arrived at the U.S. Capitol.

George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were first to arrive at the complex on Wednesday morning, several hours before Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.

Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton followed shortly thereafter, with each couple arriving in separate motorcades.

The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. Carter and his wife, 93-year-old Rosalynn Carter, have largely spent the coronavirus pandemic at their home in Plains, Georgia.

Carter had been the first former president to confirm that he was attending Donald Trump’s inaugural in 2017.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed Washington earlier Wednesday, skipping the Biden inaugural festivities and heading straight to their home in Florida. Trump is the first president since Andrew Johnson not to attend the inauguration of his successor.

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9:05 a.m. ET update

President Donald Trump says he thinks the new administration will have “great success” and claims to have laid the foundation for it.

Trump says the new administration has the “foundation to do something really spectacular.” He made brief farewell remarks at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews before he boarded Air Force One for a flight to his Florida home.

Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name during his Wednesday remarks.

Trump told cheering, chanting supporters he’ll be watching and listening from a distance. He promised he will be back “in some form” and wished the crowd a “good life” before he and his wife boarded the plane.

Trump wanted to be in Florida before Biden becomes president at noon.

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8:35 a.m.

President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday are attending a service at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them are incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

At Biden’s invitation, the first couple is joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.

That includes both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Many presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents,” for the inaugural day service. Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and St. Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.

Biden spent Tuesday night at Blair House, a traditional move ahead of a president’s inauguration.

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8:15 a.m.

Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as president.

Trump emerged from the building Wednesday morning and strode across the South Lawn to board Marine One. He said, “It’s been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime.”

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 U.S. 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.


Your guide to today’s inauguration events