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Inauguration Day 2021 highlights: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take office

The new president and vice president were sworn in on Inauguration Day 2021 without Donald Trump in attendance. Watch the inaugural performances, full speeches and highlights.
Image: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on a background of blurry blue stripes with red, distorted stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday, kicking off a day of fanfare that stood in stark contrast to a Washington devoid of crowds and on edge amid heightened security after the insurrection at the Capitol.

A star-studded, largely virtual celebration began following Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' swearing-in at the West Front of the Capitol at a little before noon. Biden placed his hand on a more-than-100-year-old family Bible held by his wife, Jill Biden, to take the oath of office.

Only about 1,000 socially distanced guests, including former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, attended the ceremony. Donald Trump was not present, making him the first president to skip a successor's inauguration since Andrew Johnson.

Lady Gaga sung the national anthem, which was followed by a virtual parade involving all the states and territories. A 90-minute TV special, "Celebrating America," hosted by Tom Hanks, airs Wednesday evening.

This live coverage has ended. For full politics coverage, head to

Read the highlights:

— In his inaugural address, Biden says "democracy has prevailed" and calls for an end to America's "uncivil war." Harris' historic moment.

— Trump pardons Steve Bannon and dozens of others in final hours in office; read the full list.

— Some QAnon followers lose hope after inauguration.

— Trump administration trying to sabotage Biden immigration plans with last-minute deals, say officials.

— Bernie Sanders, Lady Gaga and 'How it's going': Here are the best inauguration memes.

— Viewers' guide to Biden's Inauguration Day: Everything you need to know.

789d ago / 4:04 PM UTC

Hero officer Eugene Goodman escorts Harris to inauguration

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789d ago / 4:03 PM UTC

Pence left a note for Harris

789d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Supreme Court receives bomb threat, building and grounds checked

789d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

GOP objectors attend Biden inauguration

789d ago / 3:57 PM UTC

'After four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House': EU Commission president


789d ago / 3:57 PM UTC

Kamala Harris wears Black designers on Inauguration Day

789d ago / 3:56 PM UTC
789d ago / 3:48 PM UTC

Rep. Deb Haaland, first Native American to lead the Dept. of the Interior, is ready to work

789d ago / 3:46 PM UTC

Kamala Harris' sorority celebrates her becoming VP

789d ago / 3:43 PM UTC

Rep. Dan Kildee gives this inauguration a thumbs up

789d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

How ancestral village of Kamala Harris is celebrating inauguration

789d ago / 3:36 PM UTC

Photo: Lady Gaga arrives at the Capitol

789d ago / 3:35 PM UTC

Photo: This will be Biden's view from the Capitol

789d ago / 3:30 PM UTC

Biden, Kamala Harris arrive at Capitol for inaugural ceremony

789d ago / 3:25 PM UTC

S&P hits another record high ahead of Biden inauguration

789d ago / 3:23 PM UTC

Rubio says he's skipping Biden's inauguration to work on key Biden nominee's confirmation

789d ago / 3:21 PM UTC

Rubbing — and bumping — elbows at the inauguration

789d ago / 3:20 PM UTC

Biden, family and close friends attend pre-inaugural Mass

789d ago / 3:12 PM UTC

Former presidents arrive

789d ago / 2:57 PM UTC
789d ago / 2:57 PM UTC

Obamas congratulate former VP Biden on becoming president

789d ago / 2:54 PM UTC

'Something we can hang our hats on': Mississippi farmer hopes Biden brings opportunities

789d ago / 2:50 PM UTC

Golden State Warriors tweet video congratulating Oakland native Harris

789d ago / 2:35 PM UTC

Hillary Clinton celebrates Kamala Harris becoming first woman VP

789d ago / 2:33 PM UTC

Trump departs Washington in final hours as president, travels to Florida

789d ago / 2:30 PM UTC

Full list of Trump's last-minute pardons and commuted sentences

789d ago / 2:27 PM UTC

Surgeon General Adams says Biden team has asked him to resign

789d ago / 2:21 PM UTC
789d ago / 2:12 PM UTC

Biden, Harris inauguration underway amid Covid pandemic and D.C. lockdown

789d ago / 2:06 PM UTC

FIRST READ: How Joe Biden met the 2020 moment

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789d ago / 1:56 PM UTC

Trump in final remarks as president: 'We will be back in some form'

789d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

'It's going to be hard': Do Latino voters think Joe Biden can unite the country?

789d ago / 1:28 PM UTC
789d ago / 1:17 PM UTC

Trump, first lady leave White House for final time on Marine One

789d ago / 1:13 PM UTC
789d ago / 1:04 PM UTC

Pete Buttigieg says healing nation after last four years won't happen overnight

789d ago / 12:40 PM UTC

Trump administration trying to sabotage Biden immigration plans with last-minute deals, say officials

789d ago / 12:32 PM UTC

White House a bustle of activity on move-out day for Trumps

789d ago / 12:22 PM UTC
789d ago / 12:20 PM UTC

Biden to take immediate steps to undo key Trump initiatives, unveil immigration plan

789d ago / 12:19 PM UTC
789d ago / 12:17 PM UTC

'No choice but to be hopeful': Biden voters, in their own words, ahead of Inauguration Day

789d ago / 12:16 PM UTC
789d ago / 12:14 PM UTC

ANALYSIS: Trump leaves office with little to show of his major promises, and a legacy of violent divisiveness

789d ago / 11:55 AM UTC

Pelosi suggests Trump could be an accessory to murder for inciting Capitol attack

789d ago / 11:50 AM UTC

Trump signs last-minute executive order reversing five-year lobbying ban he instituted

789d ago / 11:29 AM UTC

Trump pardons Steve Bannon along with dozens of others in final hours in office

789d ago / 11:11 AM UTC

Increasingly militant 'Parler refugees' and anxious QAnon adherents prep for doomsday

789d ago / 5:17 AM UTC
790d ago / 10:35 PM UTC

McConnell says impeachment Thursday 'at the earliest'


790d ago / 10:24 PM UTC

Pence to return to Indiana on Wednesday