The Latest: Biden takes the helm as president facing pandemic, divisions

WDIO
Updated: January 21, 2021 06:45 AM
Created: January 20, 2021 10:10 AM

Joe Biden has sworn the oath of office at noon to become the 46th president of the United States. He takes the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors. But there were comforting signs of tradition for the hallowed American democratic rite now underway at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago.

On a chilly Washington day dotted with snow flurries, a bipartisan trio of ex-presidents along with the elite of nation’s government gathered for the ceremony.

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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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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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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are showcasing American designers at their inauguration.
  
The president-elect is wearing a navy suit and navy overcoat by Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden is wearing an ocean-blue wool tweed coat and dress by American designer Alexandra O’Neill of the Markarian label. 
  
Aides say Harris is wearing Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Both are Black designers, Rogers from Louisiana and Hudson from South Carolina.
  
Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit on Wednesday.
  
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Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will resign when President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office. 
  
The Justice Department says Rosen’s resignation goes into effect at noon Wednesday. 
  
Rosen has run the department since former Attorney General William Barr resigned on Dec. 23. He was previously the deputy attorney general and deputy transportation secretary.
  
Rosen has kept a low profile since he assumed the top job at the Justice Department. He has not held a press conference or addressed the press corps since he took the role, even after a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He has only released pre-recorded videos discussing the matter and issued statements. 
  
Longtime Justice Department official Monty Wilkinson is expected to assume the role of acting attorney general while Judge Merrick Garland awaits confirmation by the Senate. 

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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