9 months ago

Oval Office gets slight makeover under Biden

Biden revealed the new décor Wednesday as he invited reporters into his new office to watch him sign a series of executive orders hours after he took office.

A bust of Cesar Chavez, the labor leader and civil rights activist, is nestled among an array of framed family photos displayed on a desk behind the new president.

Benjamin Franklin peers down at Biden from a portrait on a nearby wall.

Biden brought a dark blue rug out of storage to replace a lighter colored one installed by former President Donald Trump.

One office feature remains: Biden is also using what’s known as the Resolute Desk because it was built from oak used in the British Arctic exploration ship HMS Resolute.

Trump used that desk, too.

9 months ago

Biden administration expected to hold first press briefing

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is expected to hold the first press briefing of the Biden administration at 7 p.m. EST. This follows Biden’s signing of a number of executive orders this afternoon on issues ranging from student debt to immigration.

9 months ago

Biden signed series of executive orders

President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders from the Oval Office hours after his inauguration.

Biden wore a mask while seated behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of orders early Wednesday evening. He said there was “no time to start like today.”

The first order Biden signed was related to the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an order reentering the U.S. into the Paris climate accord.

While his predecessor Donald Trump broke long-standing practice by skipping Biden’s inauguration, he did follow through on one tradition and left behind a letter for Biden.

The new Democratic president said Trump “wrote a very generous letter.” But Biden said he wouldn’t reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with Trump.

9 months ago

Vice President Kamala Harris enters her new office building for the first time in her new role

Harris was joined Wednesday by her husband, Doug Emhoff, as she entered the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses the vice president’s office and is located near the White House.

The marching band of her alma mater, Howard University, helped lead Harris’ procession.

She was joined by her extended family and held hands with one of her young grandnieces, who was beaming and wearing a fur coat meant to mimic one Harris wore as a child.

Shouts of “We love you!” greeted her as she walked along the procession route. She waved at White House staffers gathered to watch and gave one final wave to the crowd before entering the building.

9 months ago

The first family arrives at the White House

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived to the White House joined by their family.

Typically the president and first lady enter the White House after walking along the traditional parade route that travels down Pennsylvania Avenue and then watch the parade from the viewing stand, before entering the White House. The tradition of the presidential walk began with Jimmy Carter in 1977, presidential historian Michael Beschloss told Judy Woodruff.

In a break from tradition, the Bidens traveled along the route in a motorcade for most of the way this year for security purposes, but stopped short of the White House gates for a brief walk. During that walk, President Biden stopped to greet several members of the press and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, before entering the Northwest gate, walking up the stairs to the North Portico of the White House, pausing for a moment to wave and then entering the building.

“Despite all the security threats that exist today, in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack of two weeks ago, you have a president and first lady and their family walking among the public, taking a risk to show that our American democracy is undaunted,” Beschloss said.

9 months ago

Sen. Chuck Schumer will be the first Jewish Senate Majority Leader

Upon the swearing in of Georgia Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Sen. Chuck Schumer-D., N.Y., will become the first Jewish American to lead either chamber of Congress, PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins reports. Republican Eric Cantor of South Carolina, who was the House Majority Leader from 2011 to 2014, was the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress up to this point.

9 months ago

Vice President Harris will swear in Ossoff and Warnock this afternoon

In one of her first official duties as vice president, Kamala Harris is expected to swear in Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock as Georgia’s two senators at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Earlier this month, Ossoff and Warnock defeated two Republican incumbent senators in a stunning runoff race that delivered a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. As president of the Senate, Harris will have the authority to cast a tie-breaking vote when the chamber is deadlocked.

Harris will also swear in today Alex Padilla, California’s former secretary of state who will take over the seat Harris vacated in the Senate.

9 months ago

A virtual ‘Parade across America’

In lieu of the traditional Inauguration Day parade, the Presidential Inauguration Committee is hosting a virtual “Parade Across America,” featuring performances across all 56 states and territories. The parade will feature 1,391 virtual participants, 95 horses and nine dogs.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will travel from 15th Street in the nation’s capital to the White House to kick off the event. The drumlines from the University of Delaware and Howard University — Biden’s and Harris’ respective alma maters — will be a part of the Presidential Escort.

9 months ago

Billie Jean King: ‘Our leadership is starting, just starting, to look like America’

Billie Jean King, an American tennis player who fought for gender equality in her sport and beyond, told Judy Woodruff that watching the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first woman vice president one of the greatest days of her life. “It’s the first time in my life that I have felt that our leadership is starting, just starting, to look like America,” King said.