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Inauguration Day LIVE updates: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris to officially assume US office at heavily guarded ceremony in Washington

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has taken a swipe at Donald Trump as he left the White House for the last time as President, continuing the feud that has been simmering between the pair for more than a year.

“He seems like a very happy old man looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Thunberg tweeted, along with a photo of Trump boarding the Marine One helicopter.

Her tweet harked back to when Trump mocked Thunberg with nearly the same words in a 2019 tweet, along with a video of an emotional, then-16-year-old Thunberg blasting world leaders for not doing enough about climate change at a UN summit.

Trump had suggested Thunberg work on anger-management issues and go to a movie with a friend – words Thunberg has clearly not forgotten.

Barack Obama has congratulated his former vice-president on Twitter, just hours before Biden was due to be sworn in.

Obama, who has arrived at the Capitol for the ceremony, tweeted a photo of the two arm-in-arm, taken during Biden’s days as vice-president:

All of the former US presidents attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration have arrived at the Capitol.

George W Bush and his wife, Laura, were first to arrive at the complex, several hours before Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton followed a short time later, each couple arriving in separate motorcades.

The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. Carter and his wife, 93-year-old Rosalynn Carter, have largely spent the coronavirus pandemic at their home in Plains, Georgia.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed Washington earlier on Wednesday, skipping the Biden inaugural festivities and heading straight to their home in Florida. Trump is the first president since Andrew Johnson not to attend the inauguration of his successor.

Donald Trump has left a note at the White House for his successor, Joe Biden, following at least one presidential tradition on Inauguration Day.

One of the modern traditions for outgoing presidents is to write their successors a letter offering their best wishes and advice. This is usually left on the Resolute Desk to read when the new president first enters the Oval Office.

It had been unclear whether Trump would abide by this tradition, given he has refused to publicly concede to Biden and did not mention him by name in his farewell addresses.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to reveal what Trump wrote to Biden or to characterise the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.

Moments after Donald Trump flew out of Washington DC on Air Force One, President-elect Joe Biden sent his first tweet of Inauguration Day.

The message was simple:

Biden and the incoming first lady Jill Biden attended a church service at Washington’s Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle early on inauguration morning, along with incoming vice-president Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

They were joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Many presidents have chosen St John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called the Church of the Presidents, for the inaugural day service. Biden will be the second Catholic US president, and St Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden attend Mass early on Inauguration Day.

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden attend Mass early on Inauguration Day.Credit:AP

Donald Trump has left Washington DC for the final time as President, choosing to head to Florida and skip President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.

“Have a good life, we’ll see you soon,” Trump said at the end of his speech to supporters at Joint Base Andrews. He then boarded Air Force One and took off as Frank Sinatra’s My Way played over the loudspeakers.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews.Credit:AP

Earlier, Trump left the White House on a red carpet, hand in hand with Melania Trump, and boarded the Marine One helicopter for the short flight to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland. He was met with a 21-gun salute shortly after landing.

In his short, unscripted remarks to the crowd, Trump thanked his family and vowed to “always fight”.

“You are amazing people. This is a great, great country. It is my greatest honour and privilege to have been your President,” Trump said.

He listed what he considered to be the accomplishments of “not a regular administration,” including tax cuts, the appointment of three Supreme Court justices and the establishment of a new branch of the military, the Space Force. He also promised that he would be back “in some form”.

Trump wished the next administration “great luck,” but he did not mention Biden by name.

The inaugural address gives a new president a chance to lay out an agenda and vision with the country, and the world, watching.

Some of the best-known remarks from past presidents have been delivered during such an address, including former President John F. Kennedy’s famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

The details of Biden’s speech are being kept tightly under wraps, but his inaugural team said the address would lay out his vision to “defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation.”

Below you can watch some of the presidential inaugurations throughout the years:

The inaugural ceremonies will begin with the national anthem, to be sung by Lady Gaga, and an invocation at about 11.30am local time (3.30am AEDT).

Kamala Harris is expected to be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor shortly before noon , before Joe Biden is then sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at noon on the Capitol’s West Front.

Flags have been placed on the National Mall, which has been closed to the public.

Flags have been placed on the National Mall, which has been closed to the public.Credit:AP

About 1000 guests are expected to attend the ceremony, the majority of whom will be members of Congress and their guests.

After he’s sworn in, Biden will deliver his inaugural address.

Biden will then move to the Capitol’s East Front for what is known as the Pass in Review, a long-standing tradition in which a new president assesses the military troops.

After that, Biden, Harris and former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, along with their spouses, will travel to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Biden will then receive a military escort, with every branch of the military represented, from 15th Street to the White House before an evening of virtual activities.

Good morning from here in the United States, and welcome to Inauguration Day.

Donald Trump’s four-year presidency is set to come to an end at noon in Washington DC – 4am AEDT – when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States in a ceremony unlike any other in recent memory.

The sun rises behind the Capitol on Inauguration Day.

The sun rises behind the Capitol on Inauguration Day.Credit:AP

The coronavirus pandemic had already forced the ceremony to be scaled down and subdued. Then, the storming of the Capitol two weeks ago transformed Washington DC into a virtual fortress.

More than 25,000 National Guard troops are in the city, the Capitol is surrounded by fencing and, in an unprecedented move, the National Park Service has decided to temporarily close the National Mall to all spectators.

Some events will occur in a smaller and socially distanced form, while other celebratory components will be virtual.

Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will take helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by their predecessors.

Stick with us throughout the morning as we bring you the latest news as it happens.

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