U.S. President Joe Biden entered the White House for the first time as chief executive Wednesday after walking an abbreviated parade route, still wearing his protective mask amid sounds of "Hail to the Chief."
The 46th president and first lady Jill Biden walked through a military cordon lining the White House driveway with the flags of U.S. states, leading the first couple to the main entrance under the North Portico.
Biden was expected to immediately begin working, with a stack of executive orders on immigration and other matters awaiting his signature.
The final ceremonial flourish completed an abbreviated inaugural afternoon unlike any Washington has seen, with Biden being seen in person by only a relative smattering of Americans given security lockdowns after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and public health protocols amid the ongoing pandemic.
The Biden family concluded the inaugural parade by walking the final short distance of the route to the White House.
The president and first lady, their children and their grandchildren held hands as they strolled, waving to a mostly nonexistent crowd because of coronavirus social distancing guidelines.
Biden jogged over to the sidelines several times to stop to talk to reporters and spectators.
The first family arrived on the White House grounds with a band playing and press in tow.
The president and first lady completed the trip by embracing at the entrance to the White House.
Biden was sworn in as president earlier Wednesday, declaring that "democracy has prevailed" and summoning American resilience and unity to confront the deeply divided nation's historic confluence of crises.
He took the oath at a U.S. Capitol that had been battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks earlier.
On a cold Washington morning dotted with snow flurries, the quadrennial ceremony unfolded within a circle of security forces evocative of a war zone and devoid of crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, Biden gazed out over 200,000 American flags planted on the National Mall to symbolize those who could not attend in person.
"The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We've learned again that democracy is precious and democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed," Biden said.
"This is America's day. This is democracy's day. A day in history and hope, of renewal and resolve."
Biden never mentioned his predecessor, who defied tradition and left town ahead of the ceremony, but his speech was an implicit rebuke of Donald Trump.
The new president denounced "lies told for power and for profit" and was blunt about the challenges ahead for a nation divided by politics and decimated by the pandemic.