Washington, Jan 20: President-elect Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday shortly before noon, amid a devastating global pandemic and the threat of possible domestic terrorism.
In a ceremony that kept with tradition while being unlike any other inauguration in U.S. history, Biden took his oath of office before a small, socially distanced audience in a city that has been locked down because of the dual threats of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 400,000 people in the U.S., and worries over another attack just weeks after the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol.
In attendance at the scaled-down ceremony were most members of Congress and the Supreme Court and former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and their spouses, as well as Vice President Mike Pence.Among those who were not was President Donald Trump, making him the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration in more than 150 years.
As he left the White House on Wednesday morning, he told reporters that serving as president was “the honor of a lifetime” and claimed that “we’ve accomplished a lot.”
Trump and first lady Melania Trump then participated in a send-off ceremony before a small group at Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, where the outgoing president said about his exit, “hopefully, it’s not a long-term goodbye.”
“We will be back in some form,” Trump said. “We were not a regular administration.”
Trump, who spent months falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from him, also wished his successors good luck — although he never referred to Biden or Harris as the president or vice president.
“I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular,” he said.
Trump then boarded Air Force One for one final trip down to his Mar-a-Lago resort in southern Florida.
He left Biden a note before he left the White House, as is custom, the White House said.