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Biden arrives at air base near Washington on eve of inauguration

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US President-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Joint Base Andrews one day ahead of his inauguration./AFP
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Jan 20, 2021 - 07:17 AM

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden arrived at Joint Base Andrews near Washington on Tuesday, returning to the capital on the eve of his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States.

The 78-year-old Democrat earlier offered a tearful farewell to residents of his home state of Delaware before flying to the city where he served for decades as a senator, then for eight years as vice president.

Biden waved as he and his wife Jill Biden disembarked a private jet and got into a black sport utility vehicle for a motorcade ride into Washington, where he was to pay a tribute to Americans who lost their lives to Covid-19.

He returns to a US capital transformed by economic and pandemic crises, and an extraordinary security challenge following the January 6 siege by supporters of Donald Trump.

The outgoing president will break generations of protocol and not attend his successor’s swearing-in on Wednesday, opting instead to fly out earlier in the morning.

On Tuesday as Biden arrived, Trump released a nearly 20-minute farewell video, in which he listed his administration’s accomplishments, spoke of his populist governing style and urged Americans to “pray” for the success of the incoming Biden presidency.

But it appears he did not mention his successor by name.

With the US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surging past 400,000 on Tuesday, Biden was headed to the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, where he will speak in honor of those lost to Covid-19.

The Bidens will visit the reflecting pool under the extraordinary sight of a National Mall virtually empty of people, thanks to Covid-related social gathering restrictions and heightened security alerts in the wake of the deadly riot at the US Capitol.

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