- Trump, for the first time, wished the new administration success on his last day as President
- Donald Trump, broke days of silence with a video farewell address that the White House said would be released later in the day
- Trump is yet to personally congratulate Joe Biden on his victory
On the eve of his inauguration, emotional President-elect Joe Biden flew to Washington Tuesday, as his predecessor, Donald Trump, who would snub Biden’s swearing-in, wished the new administration success for the first time.
At a farewell ceremony in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, where he paid tribute to his late son and rising politician Beau, Tears rolled down Biden’s cheeks before boarding a plane to the capital.
President-elect Joe Biden while being emotional and teary eyed, said, “Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart. ” Joe Biden added, “I only have one regret, that he’s not here, because we should be introducing him as president.”
With a video farewell address that the White House said would be released later in the day, Trump, who has not appeared in public for a week, broke days of silence.
For the first time, according to excerpts, Trump asked Americans to “pray” for the success of the incoming Biden administration—a change of tune from weeks spent telling his large number of Republican supporters that the Democrats were cheating in their election fight.
Trump has yet to personally congratulate Joe Biden on his victory or invite him to the Oval Office for the customary cup of tea.
Trump is expected to issue scores of pardons in one of his last acts before he flies to Florida from Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning, with speculation rife about who could make the list.
The latest hints are that Trump will not take the legally questionable step of issuing pre-emptive pardons to himself and his children.
Central Washington has taken a dystopian look outside the White House fence ahead of Biden’s inauguration, swarming with National Guard forces, and mostly emptied of ordinary citizens.
Covid-19 limitations meant that the swearing-in ceremony was always subject to sparse attendance at noon on Wednesday. But concerns about right-wing outbreaks following the pro-Trump riot in the Capitol building at the starting month of this year i.e., on January 6 have triggered extraordinary deployments of security forces, concrete barriers and “green” and “red” protected areas.
The Senate is likely to bring Trump on trial shortly, adding to the tension, following his record-breaking second impeachment by the House of Representatives over the Capitol riot.
On the other hand, Biden, a former Democratic senator who also served as Barack Obama’s vice president, left with his wife, Jill Biden, for Washington.
Biden was scheduled to give a Tuesday evening speech on the Covid-19 crisis, from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, along with new Vice President Kamala Harris—the first woman ever to hold the position.
This will offer a first glimpse of a city converted for their inauguration to the new president and vice president.
The grassy Mall area has been filled with some 200,000 American flags, which is barred to the public, represents the people who would have come to witness history at any other inauguration. To represent the 50 US states and territories, fifty-six pillars of light will beam up.
More than 20,000 National Guards troops on duty are another eye-catching figure, many of them carrying automatic rifles and dressed in full combat gear.
The defense department, reflecting the extent of concern after the attack by the pro-Trump mob, said that all Guard troops were being vetted for potential threats by the FBI and military.
Biden comes in with a clear message of unity, insisting that, starting with Covid-19, he will put a divided country back to the center and face the various crises of the nation together.
According to a source familiar with preparations, the inaugural speech will last about 20-30 minutes, and an advisor asking to remain anonymous said, “He will reach out to all Americans, and call on every citizen to be part of meeting the extraordinary challenges facing all of us,”
To symbolize the new spirit, on Wednesday before the inauguration, Biden invited the two top senators — Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell — and other top congressional leaders to attend a church service with him.
The Republican congressional leader will join Biden, a long-time Senate colleague, in the church, a person familiar with McConnell’s plans confirmed to AFP (Agence France-Presse).
The biggest piece of unfinished business for Trump is now the awaited slew of pardons he is said to be preparing.
Trump has a list of about 100 individuals he is going to give clemency to, according to CNN and other US outlets.
There are likely to be a combination of white-collar criminals and individuals whose cases have been championed by criminal justice advocates, following what the New York Times reports has been an intensive lobbying effort.
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Trump’s powerful advisor Stephen Bannon, there will be more controversial potential pardons that have been the subject of speculation for months.
But Trump has stepped away from the temptation to give himself a pre-emptive pardon, according to the latest US media sources. This will provoke his Republican supporters right ahead of the start of the impeachment trial in the Senate.
Though Trump was easily convicted in his first impeachment last year thanks to party support, it might not go so well this time.
In blistering comments Tuesday, Senior Senate Republican McConnell said that Trump had provoked his followers and fed lies to the mob before embarking on the attack on Congress.