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Joe Biden becomes 46th US president making sweeping changes to key Trump policies in first few hours

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By Lauren Chadwick with AP, AFP
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts   -   Copyright  Saul Loeb/AFP
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Joseph R Biden Jr has been sworn in as president of the United States and Kamala Harris has become the first female Vice President in US history.

The new US president called for unity after the violent riot that took place at the Capitol Hill, stating that the will of the people had been heeded.

He began by signing a series of executive orders, moving to undo some of Donald Trump's policies just hours after being sworn into office.

They include an executive action calling for the US to rejoin the Paris climate deal and others that would see the previous administration's stance on immigration and race relations reversed.

After the inauguration ceremony, Biden and Harris went to Arlington National Cemetery where they participated with former US presidents in a wreath-laying ceremony.

Trump departed the White House earlier in the day, stating that it was an "honour" to serve as president.

Trump did not take part in the inauguration ceremony — becoming the first outgoing president to do so in 152 years.

Harris later oversaw the swearing-in of three new Democratic senators whose victories gave her party a majority in the Senate.

In securing a majority there and across a unified government, the Democrats can tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges.

Vice President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden.

The president attended a virtual ceremony swearing-in newly-appointed officials, taking a stern tone with them.

“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot," he said.

Adding "everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity", something that he said had been missing "in a big way" in the last four years.

Euronews brought you a live blog to keep track of what was going on. Here's how events unfolded.

01.21.2021
02:04
That wraps up our live coverage of Joe Biden's inaugural events. Thanks for joining us!
01.21.2021
01:57
Read more about Biden's policy changes here:
 

Biden signs raft of executive orders putting end to Trump policies

The new president signed the orders just hours after taking the oath of office at the Capitol.
01.21.2021
01:54

Trumps letter to Biden was 'generous and gracious'

Biden's new press secretary Jen Psaki said the contents of a letter Trump left in the White House for his successor were "both generous and gracious".

She added that she was with her new boss when he opened it.

Biden has declined to share what was in the letter, but Psaki added: "I wouldn't take it as an indication of a pending call with the former president."

01.21.2021
01:20

First White House press briefing for Biden's administration

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is delivering the first news briefing of Joe Biden’s presidency, a once standard part of past administrations that was largely sidelined during the Trump era.

Psaki said Wednesday that she will bring truth and transparency to the White House briefing room, a clear reference to her predecessors under President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration took an openly combative tone with the news media. Sean Spicer, who was Trump’s first press secretary, set the tenor four years ago by claiming that the audience at Trump’s inauguration was the largest in history, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.

01.21.2021
00:36
“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot," Biden said during a virtual ceremony swearing-in newly-appointed officials.
01.20.2021
23:19

BREAKING: Biden signs series of orders including one calling for the US to return to the Paris climate agreement

President Biden moved swiftly to dismantle Donald Trump's legacy just hours after his inauguration, signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
01.20.2021
23:05

Wall Street hits record highs as hopes build for more stimulus

Wall Street marked the dawn of President Joe Biden's administration with stocks rallying to record highs as hopes build that new leadership in Washington will mean more support for the struggling U.S. economy.

The S&P 500 rose 1.4%, topping its previous all-time high set earlier this month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq composite and Russell 2000 index of smaller companies also notched record highs, powered by gains in technology, communications, health care and most other sectors.

01.20.2021
23:04

Democrats now officially control Senate

Newly inaugurated Vice President Kamala Harris oversaw the swearing-in of three new Democratic senators whose victories gave her party a majority in the Senate.
In securing a majority in the Senate and across a unified government, the Democrats can tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges.

Vice President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden.

The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote.

01.20.2021
22:31

European leaders congratulate US President Biden after inauguration

European leaders described the 46th President's inauguration speech as "inspiring" and said it was time to bring "conviction and common sense" to help rejuvenate their relationship with the US.
01.20.2021
22:09

Watch: Amanda Gorman's 'Hill We Climb' poem wows inauguration audience

The poem, which she finished in the wake of the Capitol Hill riots, was about unity in the US.