Joe Biden swears the oath of office at noon Eastern on Wednesday to become the 46th president of the United States, taking the helm of a deeply divided nation and inheriting a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.
The very inaugural ceremony in which presidential power is transferred will be a jarring reminder of the challenges Biden will face. It will unfold at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago, encircled by security forces evocative of those in a war zone and devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Donald Trump has already left the White House for the final time as president.
Trump left Washington hours before Biden takes the oath of office. It’s the first time in more than a century that a sitting president has rejected the tradition of attending his successor’s inauguration.