A page is turning in the United States.

Outgoing US President Donald Trump flies to Florida on Wednesday January 20, hours before Joe Biden is sworn in.

If Donald Trump finally wished his successor good luck in a video message, the stormy billionaire has never congratulated him and - unprecedented for 150 years - will sulk his inauguration ceremony in Washington.

Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will be them, on the other hand, in the front row, during this strong moment of American democracy scheduled for 12 p.m. (5 p.m. GMT) under a very high security device that makes the capital federal unrecognizable American.

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The day will forever be remembered in the history books, in particular because of the accession, for the first time, of a woman to the vice-presidency of the world's leading power.

Kamala Harris, 56, will also become the first black person of Indian descent to hold the post.

At the end of a mandate marked by an avalanche of scandals and two "impeachments", Donald Trump leaves power at the lowest in the polls, cut off from part of his camp horrified by the violence of the Capitol.

After a brief ceremony at the Andrews military base, in the suburbs of Washington, he will fly one last time aboard Air Force One to join his club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where he will begin his ex-president life.

Break with Trumpism

Joe Biden, who takes the presidency at 78 years after half a century in politics, intends to mark from day one the contrast - in substance as in form - with the former businessman from New York.

In a moment of union with strong symbolism, Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republicans in the Senate, will be present with him, at his invitation, during a mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in the morning.

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Climate, immigration, diplomacy: Joe Biden, will sign a few hours after his installation in the Oval Office a series of decrees marking the break with Trumpism.

Tuesday evening, shortly after his arrival in Washington, he paid tribute to the victims of Covid-19, taking the opposite view of Donald Trump who has for months tried to minimize the impact of a pandemic that has made more than 400,000 dead in the United States.

Tonight, in Washington, DC and across the nation, we came together to honor the over 400,000 Americans we've lost to COVID-19.

The last year has tested us in unimaginable ways, but now it's time we begin to heal and overcome - together.


- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 20, 2021

"To heal we have to remember. It is hard to remember sometimes but this is how we heal," he said in front of the imposing Abraham Lincoln monument.

The former right-hand man of Barack Obama, then gathered, to the sound of Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah", in front of the 400 lights which had been lit all around the rectangular basin in which the Washington Monument was reflected.

A few hours earlier, when he left his home in Delaware, he had been very moved, tears streaming down his face.

“Excuse my emotion, when I die Delaware will be written in my heart,” the Democrat said, echoing the words of Irish author James Joyce.

Climate of tension

This day of consecration for Joe Biden will take place in a very special climate, under the combined effect of the Covid-19 epidemic and the still fresh trauma of the violence on the Capitol, which left five dead.

The security measures surrounding the ceremony are exceptional.

Some 25,000 National Guard troops and thousands of police from across the country will be deployed.

Proof of the prevailing tension: twelve of them were removed from the security system as part of a procedure to search for possible links with extremist groups, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Far from the huge crowds who traditionally throng on the immense esplanade of the "National Mall" to see their new president, the former vice-president of Barack Obama will face more than 190,000 flags planted to represent this absent public.

High gates, sometimes topped with barbed wire, protect the "red zone" between Capitol Hill and the White House.

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In the meantime, the process of confirmation by the Senate of ministers appointed by the president-elect began on Tuesday, so that the government is ready for action as soon as possible in the face of the many crises that are going through America.

On the diplomatic front, the future Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has promised to break with four years of unilateralism, by "reinvigorating" the alliances damaged under Donald Trump.

But the future head of American diplomacy also declared that the Republican had "been right" to have adopted a "firmer position against China".

The next Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, called for "thinking big" in responding to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, and therefore postponing concerns about the public deficit.

With AFP

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