February 26, 2024

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will deliver National Security and Foreign Policy Notes at his headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware on December 28, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President-elect Joe Biden will deliver an opening speech on Wednesday that will focus on unity as the United States faces one of its most chaotic transfers of power in modern times.

Biden, who left for Washington on Tuesday afternoon, will speak about the need to bring the country together after a violent uprising on Capitol Hill and with extreme partisanship in Congress, according to aides to the president-elect.

His speech will also follow an outgoing president whose refusal to attend the inauguration ceremony was heralded by his successor as a victory for security.

While Biden is expected to acknowledge the turmoil of the past month, he is expected to speak optimistically about tackling the challenges ahead when Americans can put their differences aside and work together, the advisors said.

A person familiar with the speech told CNBC Tuesday that Biden is expected to speak for about 20 to 30 minutes.

The call for unity will be in stark contrast to – and exactly 14 days later – a violent, pro-Trump mob who stormed the Capitol in what historians have described as unprecedented insurrection at one of the nation’s holiest sites.

The uprising, which was suppressed only after the National Guard and state armed forces responded, resulted in the deaths of at least five people.

In the past few weeks, thousands of National Guard personnel have been mobilized in the District of Columbia to keep the peace before, during, and after Biden’s inauguration. Troops monitor traffic checkpoints and assist law enforcement while authorities work to secure national landmarks and the opening site.

Biden will succeed President Donald Trump as the 46th President of the United States shortly after noon ET. The ceremony promises to keep the pomp and ceremony of previous inaugurations, but looks different from anything that has been remembered in recent times.

Although Trump went to great lengths to emphasize the physical size of his opening audience, Bidens will be inherently much smaller as the vast majority of viewers will watch the ceremony virtually on TV or online.

The smaller ceremony is designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the contagious virus that has killed more than 400,000 Americans in one year.

In addition to its incalculable humanitarian and health burden, the coronavirus has shut down thousands of U.S. businesses and spiked unemployment as consumers change their habits and governments impose restrictions to slow the disease.

Adding to the drama of this inauguration, Trump refused to admit defeat for weeks after the November 3 elections and launched unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about widespread electoral fraud.

He may also have tried to berate Biden in a tweet on Jan. 8, just before Twitter decided to permanently suspend the outgoing president’s account, saying, “To everyone who asked, I won’t be on Jan. 20 Inauguration go. ” . “

Biden welcomed the news and said in a speech that Trump’s absence would likely put pressure on the National Guard and law enforcement groups.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have blamed Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud for sparking the aforementioned deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. The president was severely reprimanded by his own party. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Trump’s actions were to blame.

“The mob has been fed lies,” McConnell told the chamber, which had been evacuated nearly two weeks earlier when rioters broke into the building. “You were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

Biden has promised to make the fight against Covid-19 his top priority when he takes office, including establishing a national vaccination program.

As with previous transfers of power, most of Congress and the Supreme Court are expected to be present along with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter, the oldest living president in the country at 96, will not be there, but will offer his best wishes to the elected president.

Superstars Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Bruce Springsteen are scheduled to perform.