Watch live: Joe Biden hosts memorial to honour Covid victims
As preparations continue for Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, concern reigns in Washington, DC, over rumours that QAnon believers plan to disguise themselves as National Guardsmen to infiltrate the event in the hope of promoting further unrest like that seen in the Capitol riot of 6 January.
Those concerns led to the screening of almost 25,000 National Guard on deployment in the country’s capital, with two members on Tuesday being removed after they were found to have links to far-right militia groups. An additional 10 members were removed for other reasons, including previous criminal charges and past extremist rhetoric.
Meanwhile, a spectacular, 200,000-strong “Field of Flags” has been unveiled on the National Mall honouring Americans who cannot attend the ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Opinion: The election wasn’t stolen—but the inauguration was
For Independent Voices, Anne Pellicciotto remembers being at every inauguration dating back to Richard Nixon until the chance to attend Joe Biden’s was taken from her.
“A native Washingtonian, I’ve never experienced an inaugural countdown so expectant and disturbing. I attended my first swearing-in when I was 5-years-old. “A chance to be part of history, girls,” my mom said to my baby sister and me as she bundled us up. Ignoring my father’s scorn, she marched us out the door. That was Nixon, 1969, in the wake of three assassinations, smack in the midst of Vietnam and Civil Rights.”
Justin Vallejo20 January 2021 03:05
Opinion: How can Biden undo Trump’s damage? With a lot of new anti-corruption laws
For Independent Voices, Alexander Heffner writes the survival of American democracy is an equally urgent order of business.
“We need hundreds, if not 100 million, actions to reverse the corrosive corruption of Donald Trump. Four years from now, we need proof that the malignancy of Trump and his accomplices has been purged. You might ask how, when thousands of Americans are perishing each day from the pandemic, this is a competing imperative. First, it’s the reason why we’re in this out of control conflagration.”
Justin Vallejo20 January 2021 02:05
Ivanka wishes he who shall not be named good luck
While the president has thus far avoided mentioning Joe Biden by name in his farewell remarks—hey, it’s not losing if you never mention the guy who won…right?—Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, hasn’t been afraid to wish him good luck.
Josh Marcus20 January 2021 01:39
Washington DC on lockdown as the capital braces for an inauguration like no other
Even for Washington DC, a city which has long had a front-row seat to history, these past few weeks have been extraordinary, writes Richard Hall.
“The inauguration of a new president is traditionally a day for celebration, but an eerie quiet looms over the capital ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony. National Guard troops – wearing their full military gear – gather in the cold on sidewalks outside of hotels usually filled with bustling tourists. Coast Guard boats with mounted machine guns patrol the Potomac River. The streets near the Capitol are largely empty but for police and soldiers and scattered military vehicles. Roads are blocked with giant concrete barriers and high metal fences.”
Justin Vallejo20 January 2021 01:00
Covid nurse Lori Marie Key sings ‘Amazing Grace’ at Covid-19 memorial on inauguration eve
Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse who went viral after singing “Amazing Grace” to her coworkers as the coronavirus pandemic first set in at her hospital, was present at the Covid-19 national memorial ceremony to sing the hymn again prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“It is an honour to be here with you and President-elect Biden,” Key said after being introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“Working as a Covid nurse was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking for the patients who were sick, it was heartbreaking for the families who couldn’t be there with them, and it was heartbreaking for those caring for them. But when I’m at work, I sing. It gives me strength during difficult times, and I believe it helps heal.”
Justin Vallejo20 January 2021 00:35
Lady Gaga delivers hopeful message before Biden inauguration
One day before singing the national anthem at Joe Biden’s inauguration, Lady Gaga posed for a sombre photo at the US Capitol.
Dressed in a white cape and matching mask, Gaga posted a photo of herself on Twitter with a caption praying for “peace for all Americans”.
“I pray tomorrow will be a day of peace for all Americans,” she wrote. “A day for love, not hatred. A day for acceptance, not fear. A day for dreaming of our future joy as a country. A dream that is non-violent, a dream that provides safety for our souls. Love, from the Capitol.”
Justin Vallejo20 January 2021 00:10
National Guardsman keep teaching while deployed at US Capitol
An elementary school teacher has continued to virtually teach his students while protecting the nation’s capital as a sergeant with the DC National Guard.
Ahead of president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, Sgt Jacob Kohut, a music teacher at Canterbury Woods Elementary School and Frost Middle School in Fairfax County, Virginia, was deployed to the US Capitol along with more than 20,000 members of the National Guard.
But despite working 12-hour shifts, Kohut has managed to make time for Zoom classes with his students, with The Washington Post reporting that the music teacher conducts his elementary school classes on the drill floor of the DC Armory before he begins work each morning.
Chelsea Ritschel reports.
Justin Vallejo19 January 2021 23:45
Biden inauguration: Smiles, soldiers and the blowing of a shofar as DC bids farewell to Donald Trump
Washington DC, or at least that quadrant of the city visited and experienced by most visitors, is not known for the ease with which it spontaneously voices expressions of joy. Too many government workers fearful of speaking out of turn. Too many lobbyists marching down K Street. A lot of people, in short, who don’t like to be interviewed.
For Joe Biden’s inauguration, Andrew Buncombe found those excited the wheel of politics was turning.
Justin Vallejo19 January 2021 23:20
Biden’s militarised inauguration the ultimate test of America’s claim as ‘leader of the free world’
The world is watching the inauguration of Joe Biden, writes Griffin Connolly.
“Dictators are taking note. What does the United States stand for? Here’s what that watchful world will see on Inauguration Day: A fortress Washington, a city whose 700,000 denizens have made “Be safe!” a standard two-word exhortation as part of their goodbye cordialities checking out from the grocery store, hopping out of ride shares, parting from friends at the dog park.”
Justin Vallejo19 January 2021 22:55
Remembering 400,000 victims of Covid-19 key to healing, says Joe Biden
“We must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Biden said at the memorial in Washington DC.
“That’s why we’re here today, between Sun down and dusk, let us shine the line on darkness along the sacred pool of reflection to remember all who we lost.”
Justin Vallejo19 January 2021 22:40