US President Joe Biden walks to the podium to swear in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House.(Reuters Photo )
US President Joe Biden walks to the podium to swear in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House.(Reuters Photo )

'Going home': Joe Biden's surreal walk to the White House

Joe Biden popped the surreality of the moment with a quip as he made the short walk to the White House with Jill, followed closely by Vice President Kamala Harris and her family.
AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 06:26 AM IST

Joe Biden held his wife Jill's hand as they strode up their new home's driveway Wednesday -- which was the only normal thing about the day he became the president of the United States.

Washington was under unprecedented security lockdown, cheering crowds absent because of America's out-of-control Covid outbreak and Donald Trump had only left the White House hours before.

Biden's armored black limousine had deposited him at the end of his new street -- Pennsylvania Avenue -- after his swearing in and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to US military war dead.

But he popped the surreality of the moment with a quip as he made the short walk to the White House with Jill, followed closely by Vice President Kamala Harris and her family.

"It feels like I'm going home," the president told an NBC News reporter, who was among the dozens of journalists recording each step from a grandstand.

The sound of military marching bands was still hanging in the air while a group of Secret Service agents in long coats scanned the scene.

Until shortly before his arrival, red dump trucks with "God Bless America" emblazoned on their sides served as security barriers to Pennsylvania Avenue.

It betrayed the overwhelming security machine for Biden's extraordinary day, including miles of metal barriers, thousands of masked security forces and a dystopian-looking Washington that would normally be primed to party on Inauguration Day.

The lockdown meant the contingent of roughly 25,000 National Guard troops far outnumbered revellers.

"This looks like the entrance to a military base... during war," said 42-year-old Joe Brunner from New York City, as he stood across from a checkpoint guarded by armed troops and military vehicles in central Washington.

"The atmosphere is very strange, it is very un-American", said 36-year-old Jason Sheffield, adding the security zone and heavy police presence "is unethical to freedom" and "very scary."

For most Americans, the inauguration was watched on social media and TV.

Streets were nearly empty and many businesses in downtown Washington were boarded up, some due to the pandemic and others because of recent violent protests.

In recent years, tens of thousands of people have been close enough to the inauguration ceremony to see the president take the oath of office at the great domed Capitol building that hosts Congress.

The crowd has been massively pared down due to virus contagion concerns -- normally 200,000 passes would be distributed among lawmakers to hand out to their constituents.

This year it was one ticket for each of the 535 members of Congress and one guest each.

On top of that, Donald Trump's supporters attacked the Capitol building two weeks ago to try to undo Biden's election win, prompting extra heavy security.

The number of National Guard troops -- which is on top of thousands of police officers -- is about three times the roughly 8,000 on hand for Trump's inauguration.

Those troops would, outside a pandemic year, be guarding crowds on the Capitol grounds and many thousands more packing the roughly 700-acre (280-hectare) National Mall.

The 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama, America's first Black president, drew an estimated 450,000 spectators to the Mall.

Yet some people defied the warnings and strolled the car-less streets to see what they could of America's handover of power.

"I think today is kind of joyous," said downtown Washington resident Sheila Callahan.

"As soon as Trump's helicopter took off from the White House, people (in her neighborhood) were up on the roof cheering."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th Insurrection, domestic terrorism and other threats, on Capitol Hill, Washington, US.(REUTERS)
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th Insurrection, domestic terrorism and other threats, on Capitol Hill, Washington, US.(REUTERS)

US Capitol siege act of domestic terrorism, says FBI chief Wray

AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:26 PM IST
  • A Jan. 5 report from the FBI's Norfolk, Virginia, field office warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington.
Close
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with their respective spouses. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with their respective spouses. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

Biden-Harris era begins: Some key ‘firsts’ of the new US administration

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Karan Manral
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 01:08 PM IST
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn-in on Wednesday as the new President and Vice President of the US, respectively.
Close
President Joe Biden leaves after attending a virtual swearing in ceremony of political appointees from the State Dining Room of the White House on Wednesday. (AP Photo )
President Joe Biden leaves after attending a virtual swearing in ceremony of political appointees from the State Dining Room of the White House on Wednesday. (AP Photo )

From immigration to health: Biden moves swiftly to unwind Trump policies

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:26 AM IST
Joe Biden’s aides say he’ll sign more Day One executive actions than any of his predecessors, to be followed by additional regulatory and policy changes over the coming weeks.
Close
U.S. President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday.(Bloomberg Photo )
U.S. President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday.(Bloomberg Photo )

On Day 1, Biden sets the ball rolling on immigration, climate change, Covid-19

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kanishka Sarkar
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:28 AM IST
“There’s no time to start like today," Joe Biden said in his first comments to reporters as president.
Close
Harris had struck a chord with Tamil people when she called out to her “chithis” (‘aunts’ in Tamil) during a speech in August.(File Photo)
Harris had struck a chord with Tamil people when she called out to her “chithis” (‘aunts’ in Tamil) during a speech in August.(File Photo)

Ancestral village in Tamil Nadu celebrates Kamala Harris' feat

By Divya Chandrababu
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 07:41 AM IST
Villagers have been lighting fireworks and distributing sweets, while posters of Harris were pasted on the walls of the village, and children flashed placards featuring the first person of South Asian descent and the first woman to rise to the office of the US vice-president.
Close
US President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th presidential inauguration in Washington, DC on the West Front of the US Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. - During today's inauguration ceremony Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / POOL / AFP)(AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th presidential inauguration in Washington, DC on the West Front of the US Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. - During today's inauguration ceremony Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / POOL / AFP)(AFP)

'Day of history, hope': US President Joe Biden

UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 07:38 AM IST
With his hand on a five-inch thick heirloom Bible that has been in his family for more than a century, Biden took the oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts that binds the president to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
Close
Outgoing US President Donald Trump steps into his limo after landing at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
Outgoing US President Donald Trump steps into his limo after landing at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 20, 2021. (AFP)

'We will be back in some form,' Trump vows at end of tumultuous presidency

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 07:32 AM IST
The Republican president departed the White House with his wife, Melania, saying it had been a great honor to serve and giving a final wave as he boarded the Marine One helicopter for Joint Base Andrews, where he delivered farewell remarks.
Close
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and family, walk near the White House during a Presidential Escort to the White House, Wednesday. (AP Photo )
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and family, walk near the White House during a Presidential Escort to the White House, Wednesday. (AP Photo )

Joe Biden takes the helm, appeals for unity to take on crises

AP, Washington
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 06:32 AM IST
Joe Biden was eager to go big early, with an ambitious first 100 days including a push to speed up the distribution of Covid-19 vaccinations
Close
US President Joe Biden walks to the podium to swear in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House.(Reuters Photo )
US President Joe Biden walks to the podium to swear in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House.(Reuters Photo )

'Going home': Joe Biden's surreal walk to the White House

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 06:26 AM IST
Joe Biden popped the surreality of the moment with a quip as he made the short walk to the White House with Jill, followed closely by Vice President Kamala Harris and her family.
Close
Vice President Kamala Harris, center, followed by her husband Doug Emhoff, left, leaves the Senate chamber after swearing in.(AP Photo )
Vice President Kamala Harris, center, followed by her husband Doug Emhoff, left, leaves the Senate chamber after swearing in.(AP Photo )

Kamala Harris' ancestral village rejoices with fervour as 'she scripts history'

ANI, Thulasendrapuram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 05:41 AM IST
People in Thulasendrapuram village, the native village of Harris' mother, were seen applauding and hooting while Harris was taking an oath to the office.
Close
President Joe Biden looks up as he signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP)
President Joe Biden looks up as he signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

US Prez Joe Biden says Donald Trump wrote him 'very generous letter'

AFP
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 03:57 AM IST
It was unclear until Wednesday whether Trump would maintain the tradition of outgoing presidents leaving notes for their successors, after he opted to skip Biden's inauguration.
Close
Jill Biden waves next to Ashley and Hunter Biden after her husband Joe was sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States during the inauguration on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, US.(Reuters)
Jill Biden waves next to Ashley and Hunter Biden after her husband Joe was sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States during the inauguration on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, US.(Reuters)

Jill Biden: Profile of academic who will be the next US first lady

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 10:59 PM IST
Mrs Biden previously held the title of 'Second Lady' while her husband served as vice-president from 2009 to 2017. Her work during this period included promoting community colleges, advocating for military families and raising awareness about breast cancer prevention.
Close
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States as his wife Jill Biden holds a bible on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque(REUTERS)
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States as his wife Jill Biden holds a bible on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque(REUTERS)

'...And if you still disagree': Joe Biden's message of democracy for detractors

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:55 AM IST
Let's start afresh, show respect to one another, Biden appeals to America.
Close
File photo of the US Supreme Court (AFP)
File photo of the US Supreme Court (AFP)

Bomb threat at US Supreme Court ahead of Biden inaugural

AFP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 09:52 PM IST
"The court received a bomb threat, the building and grounds were checked out, and the building is not being evacuated," said high court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg.
Close
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump left the White House to travel to their Mar-a-Lago golf club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and will not attend the inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden.(AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump left the White House to travel to their Mar-a-Lago golf club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and will not attend the inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden.(AFP)

Joe Biden plans sweeping executive orders to unwind Trump legacy on Day 1

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 09:15 PM IST
President-elect Joe Biden plans to begin immediately unwinding President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration, climate and other issues on Wednesday with at least 15 executive actions, including moves to reverse U.S. withdrawals from the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organisation.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP