Biden arrives in Washington ahead of inauguration as the 46th president

Due to COVID-19 and security concerns, the ceremony will be held with minimal in-person attendance.

PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN speaks at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN speaks at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday.
After possibly the most contentious post-election period in American history, Joe Biden will take the oath as the United States’ 46th president on Wednesday at a heavily guarded Capitol Hill.
The president-elect arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon following a send-off ceremony in his home state of Delaware. He was scheduled to spend the night at the Blair House ahead of his inauguration.
“It’s deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here,” Biden said in Delaware. “I know these are dark times, but there is always light. That’s what this state has taught me the most.”
“Twelve years ago, I was waiting at the train station in Wilmington for a Black man to pick me up on our way to Washington, where we were sworn in as president and vice president of the United States,” he said. “And here we are today, my family and I, about to return again to Washington, to meet a Black woman of South Asian descent, to be sworn in as president and vice president of the United States. That’s America. That’s Delaware. The place of hope and light, of limitless possibilities.”
 The president-elect and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are set to speak at the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool to honor the lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden and Harris will be sworn in on Wednesday at local noontime on the west front of the US Capitol building. After they take their oaths of office, Biden will deliver an inaugural address “laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation,” the inaugural committee said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump is expected to leave Washington for Florida on Wednesday morning following a send-off ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, breaking a tradition of past presidents who attended their successor’s inauguration. According to CNN, Vice President Mike Pence will attend Biden’s inauguration and not participate in Trump’s departure.
Trump reportedly recorded a video address on Monday night that was set to be released during his last day in office. He was also said to have published a list of some 100 pardons, but it was not released as of press time.
Following the inauguration ceremony, Biden and Harris, together with Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, will visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“They will be joined by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton,” the organizing committee announced.
Due to COVID-19, the inauguration events are going to be mostly virtual, with minimal in-person attendance. Biden will receive a presidential escort to the White House, followed by a “Virtual Parade Across America.” Several additional events are planned to take place online, and traditional inaugural balls have been canceled.
The National Mall is barricaded, and the public cannot access much of the surrounding areas. The perimeter’s inner part is fenced off with razor wire and surrounded by 25,000 National Guard troops, a stark contrast to previous inaugurations when the US capital erupted in days of celebration.
Some of the roads connecting northern Virginia to Washington are closed until after the inauguration, and Metro traffic was significantly reduced.
The Secret Service has incorporated the term “Green Zone” into its inauguration security maps, and District of Columbia residents have started using the moniker for the vast restricted area running from two blocks east of the Capitol to the Potomac River west of the Lincoln Memorial.
Meanwhile, two members of the National Guard have been pulled from duties related to the inauguration of Biden following vetting for links to extremist movements, two US officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
Neither of the officials detailed any conclusions of the vetting, and it was unclear what information led the National Guard members to be pulled. One of the officials said possibly more than two National Guard members could be removed following vetting.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday that Trump “provoked” the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
“The mob was fed lies,” he said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”