As it happened

From swearing in to musical send-off: Joe Biden becomes 46th US President

U.S. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, and their family watch fireworks from the White House as Katy Perry performs after Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, U.S., January 20, 2021.
U.S. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, and their family watch fireworks from the White House as Katy Perry performs after Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, U.S., January 20, 2021. © Tom Brenner, Reuters
2 min

Joe Biden took the helm of the US presidency on Wednesday, declaring that “democracy has prevailed” and summoning American resilience and unity to confront the deeply divided nation's historic confluence of crises. Relive the day’s events on our live blog. 

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  • At 78, Biden becomes the oldest president in US history while Harris becomes the first female vice president, the first Black woman and the first Asian-American to hold the office.
  • Biden and Harris were sworn in at a Washington, DC ceremony that was scaled-back due to the Covid-19 pandemic and security concerns. 
  • More than 25,000 National Guard troops from across the country were deployed to the American capital, supporting federal and district agencies, amid fears of an insider attack.
  • Biden's inauguration comes two weeks after rioters opposing his election stormed the US Capitol. 
  • Trump, who never conceded the election, was not present for the swearing-in. However, former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton attended with their wives, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.
  • In his first Oval Office press appearance, Biden signed a stack of executive orders, which include the US rejoining the Paris climate accords and reversing signature Trump policies on immigration.
  • A mostly virtual, cultural event dubbed “Celebrating America” and featuring performances by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry and Lin-Manuel Miranda capped off the day’s ceremonies. The Bidens watched the closing fireworks from a White House balcony, while Harris and her husband watched from the steps of the Washington Monument.

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