Biden to be sworn in as U.S. president Wednesday

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

By BT Toronto

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

Biden beat out Donald Trump in a highly contested election which saw the rifts between Democrat and Republican supporters deepen. The outgoing president falsely claimed he had won the election and then launched legal challenges against the results. Earlier this month Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in protest.

Trump has said he will not be attending the inauguration but vice-president Mike Pence, along with other former U.S. presidents, will be in attendance.

Wednesday’s inauguration is expected to have a much less dramatic feel and will include a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner by Lady Gaga.

The ceremony is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m., with the Oath of Office scheduled to be taken at noon.

The entire ceremony will be streamed live on this website.

Aides say that Biden’s first event in Washington, along with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, will be to take part in an evening ceremony at the Reflecting Pool near the Lincoln Memorial to honour the nearly 400,000 American lives lost to COVID-19.

Harris will make history when she officially becomes the first woman to hold the position of Vice President of the United States tomorrow.

Aides say Biden will use Wednesday’s inaugural address — one that will be delivered in front of an unusually small in-person group because of virus protocols and security concerns — to call for American unity. To that end, he extended invitations to Congress’ top four Republican and Democratic leaders to attend Mass with him at St. Matthew’s Cathedral ahead of the inauguration ceremony.

The Democratic president-elect has talked throughout the campaign and the post-election period about his goal of uniting a sharply divided country.

The inauguration is also expected to celebrate the resiliency of Black Americans.

The event is expected to have heightened security, as well as enhanced COVID-19 measures.

Biden plans to issue a series of executive orders on Day One — including reversing President Donald Trump’s effort to leave the Paris climate accord, cancelling his travel ban on visitors from several predominantly Muslim countries, and extending pandemic-era limits on evictions and student loan payments.

With files from Bill Barrow And Aamer Madhani of The Associated Press

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