Trump Leaves White House, Skipping Biden’s Inauguration

Outgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

 

President Donald Trump left the White House for the last time on Wednesday, skipping the inauguration of successor Joe Biden as the 46th US president in an extraordinary break with tradition.

Drawing a curtain on the most tumultuous administration of modern times, Trump is being ousted by a polar opposite with the Democrat Biden intent on charting a new course to tackle Covid-19 and unite a splintered nation.

A small crowd waved goodbye as Trump, 74, and First Lady Melania Trump walked a short red carpet and boarded the Marine One helicopter shortly after 8:15 am (1315 GMT), for the short flight to the air base where they will continue to Florida on board Air Force One.

“I just want to say goodbye,” Trump told the gathering, calling his time in office “the honor of a lifetime.”

Trump will be at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida when Biden, a 78-year-old former vice president, is sworn in at noon on the US Capitol’s western front.

 

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. –  (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

 

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office at the very spot where pro-Trump rioters clashed with police two weeks ago before storming Congress in a deadly insurrection.

While a transition of power will occur much as it has for more than two centuries, this inauguration is unlike any other.

READ ALSO: Biden Plans Immediate Orders On Immigration, COVID-19, Environment

Official Washington has taken on the dystopian look of an armed camp, protected by some 25,000 National Guard troops tasked with preventing any repeat of this month’s attack.

And with the pandemic raging, the general public is essentially barred from attending the swearing-in, leading to the unprecedented sight of an empty National Mall on Inauguration Day.

 

Ivanka Trump (C), husband Jared Kushner (C-L), their children, Eric (R) and Donald Jr. (2nd R), Tiffany Trump (L) and Trump family members stand on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland as they arrive for US President Donald Trump’s departure on January 20, 2021. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)

 

With the death toll soaring past 400,000, Biden on Tuesday led a powerful tribute to victims of Covid-19 as he arrived in Washington.

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Biden said in somber remarks in front of the Lincoln Memorial, once more stressing the need to unite the country after Trump’s chaos.

– Trump snub –

On the Mall’s grassy expanse, some 200,000 flags have been planted to represent the absent crowds at the inauguration.

Trump broke days of silence Tuesday with a pre-recorded farewell video address in which — for the first time — he asked Americans to “pray” for the success of the incoming administration.

But Trump has yet to personally congratulate Biden, who first ran for president in 1987, on his win, and the 11th-hour message followed months spent persuading his Republican followers that Democrat cheated his way to election victory.

In one of his last acts before departing the White House, Trump issued scores of pardons to people convicted of crimes or facing charges, including several key allies.

Influential former Trump aide Steve Bannon — charged with defrauding people over funds raised to build the Mexico border wall, a flagship Trump policy — was among 73 people on a list released by the White House.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump boards Marine One as he departs the White House on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Eric Thayer/Getty Images/AFP

 

However, neither Trump nor his relatives were listed, amid speculation he could use the legally dubious tactic of a preemptive pardon to fend off future charges.

Former Trump fund-raiser Elliott Broidy was similarly pardoned, after pleading guilty last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws.

The rapper Lil Wayne, who last month pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and faced 10 years in jail, also made the list.

Tensions have soared on Capitol Hill, where the Senate is expected to put Trump on trial soon following his record second impeachment by the House of Representatives over the Capitol riot.

The spectacle will clash with the opening days of Biden’s tenure, as the new president seeks to swiftly confirm his Cabinet picks and push through ambitious legislation — including a $1.9 trillion rescue package.

– ‘I’ll get right to work’ –

“We don’t have a second to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face as a nation,” Biden tweeted late Tuesday.

“That’s why after being sworn in tomorrow, I’ll get right to work.”

He plans to kick off his tenure by rejoining the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, according to aides, who said Biden would sign 17 orders and actions just hours after being sworn in, setting new paths on immigration, the environment, Covid-19 and the economy.

 

Outgoing US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk from Marine One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)

 

In first-day moves, he will end Trump’s much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, the aides said.

To symbolize the new spirit of unity, Biden has invited the two top senators — Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell — and other congressional leaders to attend a church service with him Wednesday before the inauguration.

Overseas leaders weighed in to mark the end of a presidency which has deviated from orthodox American foreign policy.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani hailed the White House departure of “tyrant” Trump, saying “the ball is in America’s court” to return to a landmark nuclear deal and lift sanctions on Tehran.

And Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the inauguration would “be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy,” as well as “the resounding proof that, once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”

Biden’s Inauguration: US On Alert For Armed Protest

Members of the US National Guard stand near the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 16, 2021, four days before US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president. AFP

 

Joe Biden’s top aide said Saturday the incoming president would sign about a dozen executive orders on his first day in office, as police fearing violence from Trump supporters staged a nationwide security operation ahead of the inauguration.

Authorities in Washington, where Wednesday’s inauguration will take place, said they arrested a man with a loaded handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition at a security checkpoint, underscoring the tension in the US capital which is resembling a war zone.

However, the man said it was “an honest mistake,” and that he was a private security guard who got lost on his way to work near the Capitol.

Incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said in a memo to new White House senior staff that the executive orders would address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.

“All of these crises demand urgent action,” Klain said in the memo.

“In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world,” Klain added.

As he inherits the White House from Donald Trump, Biden’s plate is overflowing with acute challenges.

READ ALSO: Man With Gun, Over 500 Rounds Of Ammunition Arrested Near US Capitol

The US is fast approaching 400,000 dead from the Covid-19 crisis and logging well over a million new cases a week as the coronavirus spreads out of control.

The economy is ailing, with 10 million fewer jobs available compared to the start of the pandemic. And millions of Americans who back Trump refuse to recognize Biden as the legitimate president.

Biden this week unveiled plans to seek $1.9 trillion to revive the economy through new stimulus payments and other aid and plans a blitz to accelerate America’s stumbling Covid vaccine rollout effort.

On Inauguration Day Biden, as previously promised, will sign orders including ones for the US to rejoin the Paris climate accord and reverse Trump’s ban on entry of people from certain Muslim majority countries, Klain said.

“President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward,” Klain said.

 500 rounds of ammunition

Meanwhile, Washington was under a state of high alert after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6. The assault left five people dead, including a police officer.

Security officials have warned that armed pro-Trump extremists, possibly carrying explosives, pose a threat to Washington as well as state capitals over the coming week.

Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed in Washington and streets have been blocked off downtown with concrete barriers.

On Friday night, police arrested a Virginia man at a security checkpoint where he tried to use an “unauthorized” credential to access the restricted area where Biden will be inaugurated.

As officers checked the credential, one noticed decals on the back of Wesley Beeler’s pick-up truck that said “Assault Life,” with an image of a rifle, and another with the message: “If they come for your guns, give ’em your bullets first,” according to a document filed in Washington, DC Superior Court.

Under questioning, Beeler told officers he had a Glock handgun in the vehicle. A search uncovered a loaded handgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the gun, the court document said.

Beeler was arrested on charges including possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

“It was an honest mistake,” Beeler told The Washington Post after being released from jail.

“I pulled up to a checkpoint after getting lost in DC because I’m a country boy,” he said. “I showed them the inauguration badge that was given to me.”

Beeler told the newspaper he works as a private security guard near the Capitol and presented a credential provided by his employer.

He said he was licensed to carry his gun in Virginia, but forgot to take it out of his car before leaving home for his overnight shift in Washington.

Prosecutors did not object to Beeler’s release from jail, the Washington Post said, though he was ordered to stay out of Washington except for court-related matters.

In addition to the heavy security presence in the US capital, law enforcement was out in force at statehouses around the country to ward off potential political violence.

Mass protests that had been planned for the weekend did not materialize on Saturday, with security far outnumbering Trump supporters at several fortified capitols, US media reported.

In St Paul, Minnesota, for example, hundreds of law enforcement officers, some armed with long guns, ringed the Capitol with National Guard troops providing backup.

The number of protesters totalled about 50.

AFP

Biden Says Trump Decision To Skip Inauguration A ‘Good Thing’

President-elect Joe Biden introduces key foreign policy and national security nominees and appointments at the Queen Theatre on November 24, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP
President-elect Joe Biden introduces key foreign policy and national security nominees and appointments at the Queen Theatre on November 24, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President-elect Joe Biden welcomed Donald Trump’s announcement on Friday that he won’t attend the January 20 inauguration, calling it a “good thing.”

“I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

“One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on,” Biden said. “It’s a good thing, him not showing up.”

“He’s been an embarrassment to the country,” Biden said.

“He’s not fit to serve,” the president-elect added of Trump, who is facing the possibility of being impeached next week for inciting his supporters to storm the US Capitol.

“He exceeded even my worst notions about him,” Biden said. “He’s one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America.”

Biden said Vice President Mike Pence would be welcome at his inauguration.

Biden’s remarks came after Trump tweeted earlier Friday that he would not attend the inauguration.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted.

National Defence College Holds Inauguration Ceremony For Participants Of Course 28

 

The National Defence College is currently holding an inauguration ceremony for participants of the Course 28.

Performing the inauguration, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), stressed the need for participants to contribute their quota towards addressing the nation’s security challenges.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of First Bank, Mrs Ibukun Awosika who was also in attendance, stressed the need for enterprise education.

This according to her, would ensure economic diversification and the overall development of Nigeria.

She also spoke about security, noting that the increasing migration of rural settlers to urban cities, if left unchecked will continue to pose security challenges.

Mrs Awosika, therefore, stated that the nation’s security challenges can be addressed through widespread development and deliberate structuring of economic opportunities.

Portfolios Of Women Who Made It To Buhari’s Cabinet

Top row (L-R): President Muhammadu Buhari, Maryam Katagum, Pauline Tallen, Sharon Ikeazu Bottom row (L-R): Gbemisola Saraki, Sadiya Umar Faruk, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Ramatu Tijani Aliyu,

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated his long-awaited cabinet in Abuja.

The inauguration took place in Abuja on Wednesday. Right after the ministers were sworn in, the President assigned portfolios to all 43.

Read Also: Buhari Assigns Portfolios To Ministers (FULL LIST)

Here are the seven women who made it to the cabinet and their portfolios:

1. Sharon Ikeazu (Anambra) – Minister of State Environment.

Ikeazu

2. Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara) – Minister of State for Transportation.

Saraki

3. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu (Kogi) – Minister of State for FCT.

Aliyu

4. Sadiya Umar Faruk (Zamfara) – Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Faruk

5. Pauline Tallen (Plateau) – Minister of Women Affairs

Tallen

6. Amb. Maryam Katagum – (Bauchi) – Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment.

Katagum

7. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (Kaduna) – Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning.

Ahmed

 

It’s Worrisome Buhari Hasn’t Announced Cabinet, Says Odumakin

The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin.

 

The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for the delay in constituting his cabinet describing the situation as worrisome.

During an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday,  Odumakin decried the absence of a cabinet, 21 days after Buhari’s inauguration for a second term in office.

“I think that what is going on, 21 days (after the inauguration) and no announcement made yet, is worrisome.

“It is worrisome because when you look at South Africa when President Cyril Ramaphosa came into power recently, it didn’t take him a week to have his cabinet in place,” he said.

READ ALSO: You Cannot Remove Chief Judge, Kogi Court Tells Governor, Assembly

Odumakin, who is also Buhari’s former spokesman at the now-defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), also faulted the process the President used in retaining some appointees.

While noting that there are some portfolios don’t need National Assembly’s approval, he wondered why the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Chief of Staff to President, Abba Kyari and presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu among others have retained their positions without being reappointed.

“If the appointment that does not require going to the Senate is not being made and old people continue to function in a way that is not so legal, it gives (cause for some worry). Even the President himself did not rely on the oath he took in 2015, he had to take a new oath.”

National Assembly Inauguration Commences In Abuja

The inauguration of the ninth National Assembly has commenced in Abuja.

The session is presided over by the clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

Clerk of the Senate later took a roll call of all the Senators-elect.

Inauguration: PDP Slams Buhari Over Failure To Address Nigerians

PDP Slams Buhari Over Inauguration Without Speech

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to address Nigerians at the Presidential inauguration.

According to the party, the action of the President shows that he and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are overburdened by the guilt of the rigged presidential election.

In a statement on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP accused President Buhari of being insensitive.

It claimed, “Such also shows President Buharis insensitivity and the level of derision with which his handlers and party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) hold Nigerians, perhaps, given that the Presidential mandate they parade did not emanate from the people.”

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Thanks Saraki For ‘Not Doing Anything Funny’ Before Inauguration

The PDP insisted that the failure by the President to make any commitment at the ceremony has proven that “a product of a flawed electoral process” cannot serve the people or meet their aspirations under a constitutional democracy.

“The poor attendance and passivity of the audience at the ceremony at a time that Nigerians were trooping, in their millions, to the inauguration of state governors elected on the platform of the PDP, manifestly show,” it said.

The party added, “It is indeed pathetic that at a ceremony such as Presidential inauguration, where truly elected leaders address their people, make commitments and unfold their governance direction, President Buhari did not showcase his plans or commitment to the development of critical sectors of our polity.

“It also speaks volumes that President Buhari had nothing to say to the victims of mindless killings and acts of violence in various parts of our country.”

The President, according to the PDP, had no directions toward stemming the economic distress under his administration.

It stated that the challenges were the reasons why Nigerians were resorting to suicide and what it described as slavery mission abroad as options.

“In failing to address Nigerians, President Buhari turned the inauguration to a parody,” the party said.

It, however, urged Nigerians to take solace in its determination to retrieve what it said was its presidential mandate at the Tribunal.

Osinbajo Thanks Saraki For ‘Not Doing Anything Funny’ Before Inauguration

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has thanked Senate President Bukola Saraki for not taking advantage of the power vacuum before the presidential inauguration.

He said this at a dinner which held on Wednesday at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, following the inauguration ceremony at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

“When I arrived at Eagle Square this morning, some may have noticed that the Senate President and I were enjoying a joke”, said Osinbajo.

He added, “He (Saraki) said to me jokingly `you better be careful, you know I am the acting President now; so, we thank the Senate President for not doing anything funny.”

[READ ALSO] Inauguration: PDP Slams Buhari Over Failure To Address Nigerians

He noted that there was no President or Vice President for about 10 hours, stressing that Senator Saraki was in charge of the nation’s affairs.

Professor Osinbajo, who explained that his first tenure and that of President Muhammadu Buhari ended on the midnight of May 29, was grateful that the event went smoothly.

He said, “Something interesting happened earlier today (Wednesday); I am a lawyer and a law teacher and I like to test and interrogate legal scenarios.

“At one minute past midnight today, the four-year term of the President and I ended by effluxion of time.”

“So, from one minute past 12 of last night, May 29 to about 10:30 am, when we were sworn in for a second term, there was no President or Vice President.

“Interestingly nothing went wrong, all was okay; when such a situation arises, it is the Senate President who acts as President,” the Vice President added.

The dinner had in attendance a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), some members of the National Assembly, as well as chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Also present are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, service chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, and captains of industry, among others.

Earlier, the Acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Tanko, administered the oath of office on President Buhari and Professor Osinbajo for another four-year term.

Inauguration: We Will Never Surrender Our Freedom To Anybody – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike taking the oath of office as administered by the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyaye-Laminkara, which signalled the start of his second term at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, says his government will never surrender the people’s freedom to anybody or entity.

He stated this on Wednesday during his swearing-in for another term of four years at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The governor said, “We are not a conquered people and we will never surrender our freedoms to anybody or entity, whether internal or external.

“We will therefore not accept to be subjugated to a headmaster and pupil power relationship; neither will we abandon the collective interest of Rivers State for the sake of political expediency.

“We are for the rule of law, democracy and mutual respect as autonomous State entities and co-building blocks of the Nigerian federation.”

READ ALSO: Buhari, Osinbajo Sworn In For Second Term

Wike whose second term begins today declared that he will always place Rivers State first in all his actions.

He also promised not to disappoint the people of the state, stressing that his administration is not in opposition to the Federal Government.

“For us, in all things, it is Rivers State first; Rivers State is the measure; Rivers State before others. This is the essence of the political mandate and burden that we will bear for the next four years and we will not disappoint you.

“We will continue to stand up for Rivers State and defend her interest, no matter the challenges or what comes at us,” he stated.

Wike took his oath of office to commence his second term in the presence of thousands of Rivers people and other prominent Nigerians.
Similarly, the Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry Banigo was sworn in for a second term.

Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyaye-Laminkara administered the oath of office for the governor and his deputy.

After mounting the saluting dais for the ceremonial police rituals, Wike drove in the ceremonial open roof Land Rover Utility Vehicle to exchange pleasantries with the jubilant crowd.

See photos below:

 

Inauguration: I Took An Oath To Build A Stronger Delta, Says Okowa

 

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro on Wednesday took their oath of office, birthing their second term.

The event was held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

Governor Okowa in an address after being administered the oath of office by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Marshal Umukoro, said that the oath he took was for him to build a stronger state.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Osinbajo Sworn In For Second Term

He scored his administration high in the management of human and material resources, disclosing that during his first term in office, his administration embarked on massive road constructions.

The governor also reeled out the achievements recorded during his first administration. He added that plans have been concluded for the construction of 19 more technical colleges to ensure that every local government area in the state has at least, one technical college.

According to Okowa, this will encourage skill development and the spirit of entrepreneurship among the people.

Business Leaders, Other Dignitaries Attend Buhari, Osinbajo’s Inauguration

Dignitaries at the inauguration ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Dignitaries including business leaders, political leaders, and foreign envoys on Wednesday attended the inauguration ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

The President and Vice-President were sworn-in at the Eagles Square in Abuja.

Business leaders including Femi Otedola, Aliko Dangote and Jim Ovia were at the event.

Also, some leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were present. Those in attendance include the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu.

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, and Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu were also at the event.

Some of President Buhari’s children were also present, including his daughter, Zainab who was spotted with her husband Ahmed Indimi.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Osinbajo Sworn In For Second Term