Kamala Harris is sworn in as the first female vice president in the country’s history. Traditionally, the ceremony takes place on the west side of the US Capitol at 12:00 noon (local time / 6:00 p.m. CET). Trump wants to leave the White House early in the morning and stay away from his successor’s inauguration as the first president since 1869.
Trump wished the new administration success in a video message to the nation released on Tuesday – without naming Biden. The evening before his inauguration with Harris in the heart of the capital, he commemorated the more than 400,000 corona deaths in the country.
Video: Barbara Wolschek (ORF) from Washington
The transfer of power in the USA will go down in history in view of its unprecedented circumstances: On the one hand, because of the corona pandemic, there is no mass audience for Biden. The storming of the Capitol by violent Trump supporters two weeks ago has also prompted the authorities to take considerably more stringent security measures. Large parts of the US capital are cordoned off. According to the Pentagon, the police are supported by around 25,000 National Guard soldiers.
USA has no time to waste
The United States has no time to lose when it comes to tackling the crises the nation is facing, wrote Biden on Tuesday evening (local time) on Twitter. “That’s why I’ll get down to work tomorrow after my swearing-in.” Biden spent the night in Washington near the White House. When he left his home state of Delaware, he was visibly moved.
Former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all agreed to attend Biden’s inauguration. With them Biden then wanted to lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Soldier at the National Cemetery in nearby Arlington. Because of the corona pandemic, the traditional ball night will be canceled on the day of the inauguration, instead a virtual celebration is planned.
Trump’s deputy Mike Pence has also announced his participation in the inauguration ceremony. On the other hand, he did not want to come to the planned farewell ceremony for Trump at Andrews military airport near Washington, according to the Pence program published by the White House for Wednesday. Trump then wants to fly to Florida. In the end there was a break between the president and his deputy.
Video: Andreas Pfeifer (ORF) on Trump’s pardons
Trump pardons Bannon
Shortly before the end of his term in office, US President Donald Trump pardoned more than 70 people, including his former chief strategist Steve Bannon. “President Donald J. Trump has pardoned 73 people,” said the White House on Wednesday. He also mitigated the sentences of 70 other people. Bannon is accused of diverting money in connection with a fundraiser for the construction of the Trump-driven border wall with Mexico.
The list of pardons ranges from a former congressman to US rapper Lil Wayne (“Lollipop”), who was charged with gun possession. It did not include Trump himself, members of his family, and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. According to media reports, advisors advised the resigned president not to include his closest circle on the list.
Bannon is a co-founder of the Internet platform “Breitbart” and is one of the most influential voices in the ultra-conservative camp of US politics. He was arrested this summer on charges of diverting money from an online fundraiser to build a wall in Mexico. In “We Build the Wall”, 25 million dollars are said to have been raised with the promise that no money would flow to the organizers. Bannon but is said to have indirectly received over a million dollars. He rejects the allegations. The trial in the case should begin in May 2021.
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Biden takes oath office President Trump pardons exchief strategist Bannon