LONDON: Joe Biden has officially become the 46th president of the United States.
Biden took the oath of office just before noon Wednesday during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013.
History was made at Biden’s side, as Kamala Harris became 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 US 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.
Follow live updates of the inauguration below (all times GMT):
17:15 – Biden called on Americans to overcome their divisions, declaring in his first address in office that “without unity, there is no peace.”
He also pledged during his inaugural address Wednesday that he would be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying that leaders have an obligation “to defend the truth and defeat the lies.” He asked even those who did not vote for him to give him a chance. He said, “Hear me out as we move forward.”
As he did frequently during the campaign, Biden pledged that he will be a “president for all Americans” and will “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.”
He added, “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.”
16:50 – LIVE – Joe Biden completes his oath and becomes the 46th President of the United States, assuming the office from Donald Trump.
16:20 – Biden’s presidential inauguration ceremony has begun, with history being made as Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.
16:00 – Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are on the podium ahead of the ceremony.
15:45 – An iconic shot of the next President of the United States, Biden, arriving for his inauguration with his Vice Presdient Harris.
15:30 – Senators and dignitaries, including former president Obama and his wife Michelle, are arriving and making their way to their positions.
15:20 – In case you missed it, Trump made a speech on Tuesday during which he outlined his achievements in the Middle East in his four-year tenure in the White House. Click here for more.
15:10 – The 44th American president, Barack Obama, for whom Biden served as Vice President, tweeted a supportive message for his friend and former colleague ahead of the ceremony.
15:00 – In a column written for Arab News this week, the GCC’s assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg drew comparisons between the situation in Washington now and 30 years ago, when the US launched a military operation to remove Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.
He argues that the new administration will need to urgently engage the rest of the world to reassure allies and partners and deter adversaries.
“US rivals and adversaries are already testing the resolve of the new administration. Iran, for example, has resumed its harassment of shipping in the Gulf by hijacking a South Korean ship, and Tehran’s proxies have also intensified their malign activities in the region. The Houthis of Yemen have escalated their attacks on Saudi civilian targets and, on Dec. 30, launched an attack on Aden airport targeting the newly formed government of Yemen upon its arrival to the country.”
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14:45 – Read more of Arab News’ coverage on the Biden inauguration and what his tenure as president of the US will bring over the next four years.
14:30 – And Biden had a simple message of hope ahead of his swearing-in…
14:25 – Vice President Harris shared a touching tribute to the “women who came before” her, a few hours before the ceremony later today.
14:15 – President-elect Biden attended church ahead of his inauguration, in a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden were at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them were incoming Vice President Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.
At Biden’s invitation, the first couple was joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.
14:00 – Trump said he will be “back in some form” before boarding Air Force One for Florida.
“This has been an incredible four years,” Trump said in brief remarks to staff, supporters and members of his family gathered at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. “We’ve accomplished so much together, I will always fight for you. We will be back in some form.”
Trump did not address Biden by name but said he wishs the new administration “great luck and great success.”
13:30 – Trump makes some final comments as President of the United States, saying the job had been the “greatest honor” of his life. Watch it below: