Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the oath to make them officially president and vice-president, but this will be a much scaled back affair, due to Covid and the recent riots.
The inauguration of a new president is a day that usually follows decades of custom and precedent. A day that follows a routine set in stone. Well, you can forget all that this year.
Here’s everything you need to know about the big day.
What is the inauguration?
The inauguration is the formal ceremony that marks the start of a new presidency, and it takes place in Washington DC.
The only required feature is that the president-elect recite the presidential oath of office.
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Once he utters these words, Joe Biden will then take his place as the 46th president and the inauguration will be complete (but that’s not all – celebrations follow).
Kamala Harris will become vice-president once she takes the oath of office, which usually happens just before the president.
What time is the inauguration?
Opening remarks are usually scheduled for around 11:30 EST and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in around midday. By law, inauguration day is always January 20.
Joe Biden will move into the White House later in the day – his home for the next four years.
Presidential inaugurations typically involve detailed security plans, but even more so now, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on January 6.
Officials have ramped up security and closed off large sections of the city. The Secret Service has taken command of the security plans, backed up by some 25,000 National Guard troops, in addition to thousands of police officers.
Kamala Harris has made history by becoming the first female vice-president-elect.
The California senator will also be the first black and the first Asian American vice-president.
Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents – an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.
After her parents’ divorce, Kamala Harris was raised primarily by her Hindu single mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist.
She grew up engaged with her Indian heritage, joining her mother on visits to India, but Kamala Harris has said that her mother adopted Oakland’s black culture, immersing her two daughters – Kamala and her younger sister Maya – within it.
Her early years also included a brief period in Canada. When her mother took a job teaching at McGill University, Kamala and her younger sister Maya went with her, attending school in Montreal for five years.
She attended college in the US, spending four years at Howard University, one of the nation’s preeminent historically black colleges and universities, which she has described as among the most formative experiences of her life.
Kamala Harris, 55, says she’s always been comfortable with her identity and simply describes herself as “an American”.
In 2014, she married lawyer Doug Emhoff – now a fixture at her campaign stops – and became stepmother to his two children.
After four years at Howard, Kamala Harris went on to earn her law degree at the University of California, Hastings, and began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
She became the district attorney – the top prosecutor – for San Francisco in 2003, before being elected the first woman and the first black person to serve as California’s attorney general, the top lawyer and law enforcement official in America’s most populous state.
In her nearly two terms in office as attorney general, Kamala Harris gained a reputation as one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars, using this momentum to propel her election as California’s junior US senator in 2017.
The US is voting in one of the most divisive presidential elections in decades, pitting incumbent Republican Donald Trump against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The first polls opened from 05:00 EST in Vermont.
Nearly 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the US on course for its highest turnout in a century.
Both rivals spent the final hours of the race rallying in key swing states.
National polls give a firm lead to Joe Biden, but it is a closer race in the states that could decide the outcome.
Among the first states to begin election-day voting on November 3 are the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio, followed half an hour later by Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Arizona will follow.
To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.
This system explains why it is possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still lose the election.
The coronavirus pandemic has hung over the election campaign, with the epidemic in the country worsening over the final weeks of the race. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than anywhere else in the world, and fear of infection has contributed to an unprecedented surge in early and postal voting.
As the nation counts down the hours to the vote, there are fears that pockets of post-election violence could break out.
A new “non-scalable” fence has been put up around the White House in Washington DC. Businesses in the nation’s capital and also in New York City have been seen boarding up their premises due to concerns about unrest.
On November 2, President Trump sprinted through four more battleground states.
In North Carolina, the president told supporters that “next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country”. Economists however warn the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic – the biggest decline in the US economy in more than 80 years – could still take years to overcome.
After North Carolina, Donald Trump headed to Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city where his opponent lived until he was 10. At a rally there he reminded his supporters that he won the state in 2016, despite polls suggesting he would lose.
Joe Biden also went to Pennsylvania where he was joined by singer Lady Gaga at a rally in Pittsburgh. Musician John Legend addressed voters with vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
In Ohio, Joe Biden repeated the core message of his campaign, telling voters that the race was about the soul of America. He said it was time for President Trump to “pack his bags”, saying “we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility”.
On November 2, Donald Trump also held rallies in Traverse City, Michigan, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha was rocked by violent protests in August after the police shooting of a black man.
In Traverse City the president asked for the votes of black Americans.
He travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan for his last rally, the same city where he held the final event of the 2016 election race.
In the last hours of the campaign, Twitter and Facebook labelled a post by President Trump as “misleading”, after he claimed that postal ballots in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to rampant fraud. They also added a link to a website explaining why mail-in votes were safe.
It came after the Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count postal ballots received three days after the election.
President Trump and his campaign have indicated they will sue to block the move.
Legal fights over ballots have also been unfolding in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas.
When will we get a result?
It can take several days for every vote to be counted after any presidential election, but it is usually pretty clear who the winner is by the early hours of the following morning.
Donald Trump’s comments came after Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” in the coming months.
“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he told the newspaper.
Joe Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, while President Trump had a different perspective and was focusing on “the economy and reopening the country”, he added.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said on November 1 that Dr. Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable”, saying that the expert chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent”.
Joe Biden meanwhile headed to Pennsylvania, place of his birth and another key state in the election. President Trump narrowly won there in 2016 but polls suggest Joe Biden is slightly ahead this year.
At a rally in Philadelphia the former vice-president addressed the city’s black community, vowing to address “systemic racism” in the US and attacking the president’s handling of the pandemic – something which has disproportionately affected African Americans.
He said: “It’s almost criminal the way he’s handled it.
“It’s a mass casualty event in the black community and it’s totally unnecessary.”
Earlier in the day Joe Biden also courted Latino voters with a tweet in Spanish, speaking of the separation of migrant families at the border and his response to Hurricane Maria after it hit Puerto Rico.
He tweeted: “President Trump has attacked the dignity of Latino families time and again…This will end when I am president.”
Joe Biden also addressed a report by news site Axios which says the president will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks as if he is ahead.
“The president’s not going to steal this election,” he told reporters.
Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for encouraging his supporters after some forced a Biden campaign bus to stop on a Texas highway, something the FBI has now confirmed it is investigating.
Donald Trump tweeted on November 1 that in his opinion, “these patriots did nothing wrong.”
The president denied the Axios report, but told journalists before his North Carolina rally that counting ballots after Election Day was a “terrible thing”.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” he said.
Joe Biden’s campaign said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would “fan out” to “all four corners” of Pennsylvania on November 2, joined by their partners and Lady Gaga and John Legend.
On November 1, Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia, another state which President Trump won in 2016 but which the Democratic Party is trying to win this year.
Kamala Harris has been named as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate.
The California senator of Indian-Jamaican heritage is the first black woman and South Asian American in the role.
Once a rival for the top job, Kamala Harris had long been considered the front-runner for the vice-president.
The former California attorney general has been urging police reform amid nationwide anti-racism protests.
Joe Biden will face President Donald Trump in the election on November 3.
After August 11 announcement, Kamala Harris tweeted that Joe Biden “can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals”.
“I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”
On August 12, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on “working together to restore the soul of the nation and fight for working families to move the country forward”, the Biden campaign said.
At a White House news conference on August 11, President Donald Trump, a Republican, said he was pleased with Joe Biden’s choice, adding that Kamala Harris did “very, very poorly” in her effort to become the Democratic nominee.
Kamala Harris will take part in a debate with President Trump’s running mate, Vice-President Mike Pence, on October 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In last year’s race to be the Democratic nominee, Kamala Harris showed herself to be a forceful speaker, launching blistering attacks on Donald Trump.
The role of a vice-presidential running mate isn’t always clearly defined.
One of the traditional roles is to go on the offensive in exposing the opposition’s weaknesses, while the presidential nominee focuses on communicating the party’s message.
Constitutionally, the vice-president steps in to the top job should the president die or leave office during his or her term.
Joe Biden will turn 78 in November, meaning should he be elected he will be the oldest US president in history (Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office).
His age means Joe Biden’s vice-presidential choice may come under extra scrutiny.
Kamala Harris, 55, dropped out of the presidential race in December after failing to make headway in her bid to win the Democratic nomination.
She repeatedly clashed with Joe Biden during the primary election debates, most notably criticizing his praise for the “civil” working relationship he had with former senators who favored racial segregation.
Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.
She went on to attend Howard University, one of the nation’s preeminent historically black colleges and universities. She has described her time there as among the most formative experiences of her life.
Kamala Harris says she’s always been comfortable with her identity and simply describes herself as “an American”.
Only two other women have been nominated as vice-presidential candidates for a major party – Sarah Palin by the Republican party in 2008 and Geraldine Ferraro by the Democrats in 1984. Neither were on the winning ticket.
A woman of color has never been appointed to a presidential ticket by either of the two main American political parties. No woman has won the US presidency either.
Joe Biden tweeted that he had “the great honor” to name Kamala Harris as his number two.
He described her as “a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants”.
Joe Biden pledged in March to name a woman on the ticket. He had faced mounting calls to pick a black woman in recent months as the nation has been convulsed by social unrest over police brutality against African Americans, a key voting bloc for the Democratic Party.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) saw President Barack Obama in pictures with Michelle-style bangs, quipping about Jay-Z and sideswiping at the media and his political foes.
The traditional send-up speech saw the President earn some laughter at his own expense but also land some funny blows against the media and the Republican Party.
Barack Obama opened with a soft joke about his time in office but increasingly moved onto more controversial territory – even joking about “burning books with Michelle Bachmann”.
The president said his advisers said he should stick to the traditional format and make jokes knocking himself down a peg or two.
Barack Obama added: “After four and a half years how many pegs are there left.”
“I still make rookie mistakes,” he told the 3,000 strong audience.
“Like, I’m out in California, we’re at a fundraiser, we’re having a nice time and I happened to mention that Kamala Harris is the best looking attorney general in the country. As you might imagine, I got trouble when I got back home. Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?”
“And then there’s the Easter Egg Roll, which is just supposed to be a nice event with the kids. I got out on the basketball court, took 22 shots, made 2 of them. That’s right, 2 hits, 20 misses. The executives at NBC asked, <<What’s your secret?>>.”
Swipes at the media’s expense are traditional fare at the event and Barack Obama seemed to have plenty of material – knocking CNN for mistakes and poking fun at the revolving door between politics and the media.
Referencing campaign adviser David Axelrod and the fact he is now working for MSNBC, he added: “It’s a nice change of pace because MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”
The president referenced his likeness to theSatan actor in The History Channel’s show The Bible saying that maybe the channel didn’t attend because they were too embarrassed for associating him with evil.
He then joked: “That never stops Fox News from turning up. They thought that comparison was not fair … to Satan.”
In another media joke, he added: “I remember when Buzzfeed was something I did in college around 2 a.m.”
Barack Obama wasn’t going to spare the chance to throw in a few barbs about the Republicans and their election campaign either.
“One thing [the Republican Party] agrees on is the need to do a better job of reaching out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they can start with. [Raises his hand] Think of me as a trial run, see how it goes.”
He spoke about reaching out to Republicans, quipping: “Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. <<Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?>> they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”
Barack Obama vowed to take his “charm offensive” on the road to “a Texas BBQ with Ted Cruz, a Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul, and a book burning with Michele Bachmann”.
Addressing his re-election campaign, Barack Obama joked about his rivals attempts to discredit him.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner saw President Barack Obama in pictures with Michelle-style bangs
“Did you know that Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last year on negative ads? You’ve got to really dislike me to spend that kind of money. I mean, that’s Oprah money. … Sheldon would have been better off offering me $100 million to drop out of the race. I wouldn’t have taken it but I would have thought about it. Michelle would have taken it – you think I’m joking?”
The president made fun about conspiracy theories about his past, joking: “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”
On his appearance, Barack Obama noted his graying hair and also presented a picture of himself photo-shopped with the First Lady’s style bangs.
He said he wanted “a little energy” and a “bit of change” for his second term with the new look.
Another photograph mocked the Bush library, opened earlier this week, and featured the new building alongside a giant “It’s His Fault” sign’.
In the multimedia routine, Steven Spielberg was on-hand to appear in a video mocking a movie on Barack Obama’s legacy.
Steven Spielberg said he called on Daniel Day Lewis to encapsulate the “lame duck, aloof” president.
President Barack Obama then appeared on screen pretending to be the method actor in the role.
In the event which was attacked in recent days for being too celebrity-focused, Barack Obama acknowledged his own controversial celebrity relationships.
He joked: “I’ve got 99 problems and now Jay Z is one.”
The President’s edgier material eased the way for host Conan O’Brien.
“As you all know, the president is hard at work creating jobs,” he joked.
“Since he was first elected, the number of popes has doubled. The number of <<Tonight Show>> hosts has tripled.”
He also leveled a few jokes at the media.
“If HuffPost is here, who’s covering 7 mistakes you’re making with bacon?” he asked.
In a popular topic for ridicule he also mocked CNN, joking: “Tonight’s dinner was halibut and filet, or as John King reported it: Lasagna and couscous.”
“Yes, a lot of online stars are in the room but, unfortunately, Matt Drudge couldn’t make it,” Conan O’Brien said.
“He had a prior commitment to teach a web design class in 1997.”
“Some people say print media is dying, but I don’t believe it,” Conan O’Brien added.
“And neither does my blacksmith.”
“It’s no surprise that Speaker John Boehner isn’t here tonight,” Conan O’Brien said.
“President Obama and John Boehner are kind of like a blind date between Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. In theory, they understand each other’s positions but, deep down, you know nothing’s ever going to happen.”
NBC veteran Tom Brokaw turned down his invite this year claiming the event had become too tabloid.
One of America’s most respected journalists, Tom Brokaw said, it was last year’s appearance of Lindsay Lohan which was the final straw for him.
“The breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan,” he told Politico on Friday.
“She became a big star at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Give me a break.”
The red carpet didn’t seem to disprove his point with dozens of celebrities from a-list to z-list lining up in their finest.
However, Conan O’Brien used the small screen attendees to his benefit.
Imagining the casting of a miniseries on Washington, the comedian ran through a series of potential lookalikes from Bob Barker as Vice President Joe Biden; an Easter Island Head as John Kerry; a Furby as Wolf Blitzer and – with one of the biggest laughs of the night – “tan mom” as Boehner.
The tradition of news outlets bringing stars to join their tables began when the cast of Saturday Night Live was brought down from New York to D.C. in the mid-1970s.
This year, celebrities had an Oscars-worthy parade of glamorous designer dresses and stylish suits on show – making it is as much an event for the fashion pack as the usual politicos.
Leading the perfect combination of the two, Michelle Obama arrived in a sequined black gown while Obama supporter and Vogue editor Anna Wintour opted for a white fur shawl.
Constance Zimmer and Kate Mara, who co-star as reporters in the political series House Of Cards, and Connie Britton, who plays an all-American country singer in Nashville, were some of the stars attending.
The women opted to show their patriotic colors with Constance Zimmer, 42, donning a red floaty frock, Kate Mara, 30, in a white floor-length gown, and Connie Britton, 46, in a blue mermaid-style creation.
It wasn’t only female celebrities invited along for the ride, Piers Morgan brought Gerald Butler along as his plus 1.
Kerry Washington, 36, star of the political drama Scandal, donned a dramatic black-and-white patterned gown.
“Just had my fitting with @Stephendatailor – my awesome go to tailor in DC! – getting EXCITED about tonight. #whcd,” tweeted Kerry Washington earlier in the day.
However, excited celebrities weren’t the only ones taking to Twitter to make their feelings known about the events.
Sarah Palin tweeted: “That WHCD was pathetic. The rest of America is out there working our asses off while these DC assclowns throw themselves a nerd prom.”
During a televised interview last week First Lady Michelle Obama accidentally called herself a single mother.
Michelle Obama was talking about healthy foods as part of her ongoing Let’s Move! initiative and made the slip when she was discussing how the demands of raising a family can leave little time for nutritious cooking in a CBS interview.
First Lady Michelle Obama accidentally called herself a single mother
“Believe me, as a busy single mother,” Michelle Obama said, before quickly correcting herself: “Or I shouldn’t say single – as a busy mother.”
Michelle Obama’s remarks came the same day that the President was criticized for remarking that California’s Kamala Harris is the ‘best looking attorney general’ in the country.
Though Michelle Obama did not comment on her husband’s gaffe, she did try explaining her slip-up by adding: “Sometimes, you know when you’ve got the husband who’s president it can feel a little single. But he’s there.”
Though Barack Obama is obviously busy, leaving much of the child-rearing on Michelle’s shoulders, she does have a good idea about what she is talking about.
When Barack Obama was a Senator and living in Washington, D.C. during the work week, Michelle raised the two young girls on her own in Chicago.
President Barack Obama has apologized to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for the “good looking” remarks he made at a fundraising event on Thursday.
Barack Obama described Kamala Harris, a long-time friend, as “the best-looking attorney general in the country”.
Kamala Harris’s spokesman said she strongly supported Barack Obama but would not say whether she had accepted his apology.
Critics have cited the remark as an example of the ongoing hurdles women face in the workplace.
Speaking after Kamala Harris at the fundraising event in California on Thursday, Barack Obama said she was “brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake”.
President Barack Obama has apologized to California Attorney General Kamala Harris for the “good looking” remarks he made at a fundraising event on Thursday
Then the president added: “She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country… It’s true. Come on. And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years.”
On Friday, the White House said President Barack Obama had spoken to AG Kamala Harris to apologize for the “distraction” created by his comments.
“He did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities,” press secretary Jay Carney said.
Jay carney added that the president “fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance”.
Writers and bloggers have commented that although Barack Obama is a personal friend of Kamala Harris and a strong supporter of women’s rights, his remarks were inappropriate.
President Barack Obama is being accused of sexism for publicly remarking on California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s good looks at a fundraiser in San Francisco yesterday.
Barack Obama said of Kamala Harris: “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough…She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general.”
The president added: “It’s true! C’mon!”
According to a pool reporter who attended the event, Barack Obama was doting on Kamala Harris, “noting a couple of times that she is, objectively, easy on the eyes”.
Commentators both liberal and conservative immediately took to Twitter to blast the president’s remarks as “unsettling”, “disgraceful” and “disrespectful”.
President Barack Obama is being accused of sexism for publicly remarking on California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s good looks at a fundraiser in San Francisco
“Obama’s comment about Kamala Harris is disgraceful and really terrible for workplace equality,” wrote Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine.
Rebecca Traister, writer for The New York Times Magazine and Salon: “On What planet in [Barack Obama’s] mind did he think that sounded like the right thing to say?”
Barack Obama’s supporters argue that the president and Kamala Harris, who is not married, are good friends and that it shouldn’t be considered a crime to compliment a women on her obvious good looks.
“The fact that this has in some way become a story about his overall respect of women (or lack thereof) is a slap in the face to the first lady, the first daughters, and every other woman who appreciates a compliment that extends far beyond appearance from the president or any other man,” Angela Rye, a Democratic political consultant, told Politico.
First Lady Michelle Obama has not commented on the controversy , but she did have a slip-up of her own on Thursday in a TV interview where she accidentally called herself a “single mother”.
During an interview with Burlington, Vermont CBS affiliant WCAX, Michelle Obama was discussing healthy foods and how the demands of raising a family can leave little time for nutritious cooking.
“Believe me, as a busy single mother,” Michelle Obama said, before quickly correcting herself: “Or I shouldn’t say single – as a busy mother.”
Explaining her slip-up, Michelle Obama added: “Sometimes, you know when you’ve got the husband who’s president it can feel a little single. But he’s there.”
Kamala Harris, 48, is a Democratic favorite and a trailblazer in her home state.
Her mixed race descent – having been born of an Asian Indian mother who emigrated to the U.S. from Chennai and a Jamaican American father- made her the first female, African American and Asian American attorney general in the state.
On top of that, Kamala Harris is the first Indian American attorney general in the US.
Kamala Harris’ career shows no sign of stopping, as she is regularly mentioned when pundits speculate about possible Supreme Court nominees should a new judge be appointed during President Barack Obama’s second term.
Another possible track for her is the gubernatorial one, as attorney general is a common springboard position for those hoping to climb the local ladder.
Little is known about Kamala Harris’ current romantic situation, except that she was in a serious relationship with the former mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown.
Kamala Harris and Willie Brown were a serious item and dated when he was the Speaker of the California State Assembly, but they reportedly broke up in 1998.
There are no pictures of President Barack Obama and Kamala Harris together at Thursday’s event, which was a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee held at the home of John Goldman, the heir to the Levi Strauss fortune.
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