The inauguration of Joe Biden

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, January 21, 2021
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4:15 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Queen Elizabeth sent a private congratulatory message to President Biden 

From CNN’s Max Foster

Queen Elizabeth sent a private congratulatory message ahead of the inauguration to President Biden, a royal source said Wednesday. 

The letter’s content was not disclosed. It is normal for the Queen to congratulate a fellow head of state at their inauguration.

4:17 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

US stocks hit record highs on the day Biden is sworn in as President

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks ended at all-time highs Wednesday. The inauguration of President Joe Biden and expectations for more government stimulus, in addition to a so far successful earnings season, pushed the market higher.

Here's how stocks closed:

  • The Dow closed up 0.8%, or 258 points.
  • The S&P 500 rose 1.4%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed nearly 2%.

Remember: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

4:27 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Kamala Harris enters the White House grounds for first time as vice president


Kamala Harris just entered the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for the first time as vice president after walking a parade route to the White House grounds with her family.

Harris made history today, becoming the first female, first Black and first South Asian US vice president.

As she walked to the White House grounds alongside her family, she told CNN's Jim Sciutto that she was "walking to work."

What's next: Harris is expected to swear in three new Democratic senators tomorrow afternoon after she herself is sworn in as the new Vice President, aides familiar with the matter tell CNN. 

Those three are Georgia’s Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, as well as Harris’ replacement in California, Alex Padilla. The Senate will convene at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Watch the moment:

4:10 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

President Biden proclaims today a "national day of unity"

President Joe Biden called today a “national day of unity,” using a White House proclamation outlining similar themes of his inaugural address. 

"Today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy after an election that saw more Americans voting than ever before in our nation's history, and where the will of the people has been heard and heeded," Biden said in the proclamation.

The President added: "We do so at a moment of great peril and promise for our nation. A once-in-a-century deadly pandemic. A historic and deepening economic crisis. Calls for racial justice some 400 years in the making. A climate crisis with force and fury. We also feel the rise in political extremism and domestic terrorism — unleashed just days ago on our Capitol, the citadel of freedom, but brewing long before — that we must confront and defeat."

4:06 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden makes generational history 

Analysis from CNN's Harry Enten

One little nugget that might get lost in Joe Biden becoming the oldest person to ever assume the office of the presidency is the year in which he was born (1942). That allows Biden to claim another historical achievement:

Biden is the first and likely to be the only Silent Generation president. 

Although generations are an inexact science, Biden is the first president to be born between 1928 and 1945. In other words, old enough to be born before the end of World War II and young enough to not have been drafted into the army before the war came to an end.  

Indeed, Biden is the first president to be born before the end of World War II in almost 30 years. Every president starting with Bill Clinton is a member of the Baby Boomer generation. 

Every president from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush was born between 1901 and 1927 (i.e. the Greatest Generation).  

Biden succeeded where other members of the Silent Generation (e.g. Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale and John McCain) had failed before him. 

4:22 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Harris steps out of car and walks to the White House grounds alongside family

From CNN's Josiah Ryan


Vice President Kamala Harris emerged from her vehicle, just minutes behind President Joe Biden, and is walking with her family to the White House grounds, for her first time as vice president.

"This is a rite of passage the vice president is continuing as she historically greets her first afternoon and evening as vice president of the United States," said White House correspondent Kate Bennett.

Watch the moment:

9:14 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Jon Stewart kicks off Biden's virtual parade across America

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury


Former host of the "Daily Show" and comedian Jon Stewart kicked off President Joe Biden's inaugural committee's "virtual parade across America."

"This year we've had to create a new style of parade allowing Americans from our states and US Territories the ability to participate safely from their hometowns," Stewart said.

Stewart introduced Dr. Jason Campbell, from Oregon, representing one of the many frontline workers who have been battling the Covid-19 pandemic. Campbell is known as "the dancing TikTok doc."

"This is incredibly special if you look at President Biden being elected and Vice President Harris as the first African American, Indian woman, that's incredibly special, something that I know I treasure, that my family treasures, that many that look like me are proud to see," Campbell said.

The inaugural committee's "virtual parade across America," will feature performances in communities from across the country.

According to a Presidential Inaugural Committee news release, the parade will include "diverse, dynamic performances in communities in all 56 states and territories, celebrate America’s heroes, and highlight the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country."

Watch Jon Stewart kick off "virtual parade across America":

4:02 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Joe Biden walks onto White House grounds as President for the first time

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury


Joe Biden walked onto the White House grounds for the first time as President.

He was greeted by military members and a band with first lady Jill Biden by his side.

The band played "Hail to the Chief" and "God Bless America" as the couple looked out.

See the moment:

4:06 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden fist bumps member of press while walking to White House

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury


President Joe Biden took a moment to jog over to a press area, while he was walking to the White House, and fist bumped a member of the press, according to CNN's Brianna Keilar, who was standing nearby.

"Keep doing what you're doing," Biden said, she reported.

Watch the moment: