INAUGURATION 2021

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USA TODAY

THE 46TH PRESIDENT

Joseph R. Biden Jr. • Harris Makes History • The Cabinet Picks • Souvenir Poster Inside

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The Inauguration of the 46th President

Maribel Perez Wadsworth

Inside

Publisher and President, USA TODAY Network

Nicole Carroll

A bitter race, a 4-day wait, then victory The pandemic drove absentee voting to historic levels, which in turn dragged out the count and kept tensions high before Pennsylvania fi nally went blue. 10

Kamala Harris smashes glass ceilings The fi rst Black woman to run on a major party’s presidential ticket will now be the fi rst female vice president, and the historic implications don’t end there. 12

Joe Biden won for who he is — and isn’t After the chaotic and divisive presidency of Donald Trump, the Democrat connected with a message of moderation. But his run had to survive a rocky start. 16

Editor in Chief

Patty Michalski Executive Editor

Agents of calm

Issue editor Lori Santos

To many exhausted voters, it seems, old-style politics and “normalcy” didn’t sound so bad. 6

Issue photo editor Anntaninna Biondo

Issue designer Jennifer Herrmann

Design manager Jennifer Herrmann ISSN#0734-7456 A USA TODAY Publication, Gannett Co. Inc. USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are registered trademarks. All rights reserved. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108.

Two page pullout souvenir poster Celebrate a presidential race without precedent. 20

The victory speech: ‘A time to heal’ In his fi rst remarks as president-elect, Biden promises to restore a spirit of civility, decency and compromise — and extends a hand to those who opposed him. 29

Harris points to those who came before The vice president-elect wears white in honor of those who fought for the right to vote a century before, and salutes overlooked Black women who “so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.” 31

Kamala Harris embraces Joe Biden in March after endorsing him for president. Months later, she became his running mate. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE EDITION

USA TODAY

THE 46TH PRESIDENT

Joseph R. Biden Jr. • Harris Makes History • The Cabinet Picks • Souvenir Poster Inside

On sale through 02/01

$4.95

About the cover

‘A sense of relief, a sense of hope’

Supporters rejoice as the word arrives

Who’s who: The Cabinet Picks

Jill Biden is ready to go back to work

‘Second gentleman’ is fi rst of his kind

Women, and especially women of color, reflect on the history they saw unfold: a child of Indian and Jamaican immigrants elected vice president of the United States. 22

Those who backed the Democratic ticket honk horns, embrace and dance in the streets, while Trump and his allies continue to insist the election must have been stolen. 25

Biden’s diverse selections for his governing team include a lot of fi rsts. Ohio congresswoman Marcia Fudge, above, is tapped for Housing and Urban Development. 32

The incoming fi rst lady, a college English professor plans to keep her day job. That would make her the fi rst presidential spouse to hold a paying gig while in the White House. 36

Get to know Doug Emhoff, the entertainment lawyer married to the vice president-elect. His two kids call her “Mamala.” He was a major Biden surrogate out on the trail. 38

Design: Jennifer Herrmann Image: President-elect Joe Biden addresses supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on the evening of Nov. 7 after he wrapped up the election. By Robert Deutsch/ USA TODAY.


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The Inauguration of the 46th President

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris rev up their supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention in August. Biden will be the oldest person to serve as president. Harris is the fi rst woman of color elected on a presidential ticket. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Enter Biden and Harris: Agents of Calm To many exhausted voters, it seems, old-style politics didn’t sound so bad after 4 years of chaos David Colton Special to USA TODAY

After four years of chaotic politics, extreme social stress and a crippling pandemic that left too much of America grieving, the majority of voters in 2020 opted for a return to “normalcy,” if such a thing is possible in an angry digital age. The inaugurations of Joe Biden, a two-term vice president and proven politician, and Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California who will be the fi rst woman of color in such a high offi ce, signal an attempt to re-establish Washington norms. Their elections with 81 million votes — the most

ever — supplant the personality-driven presidency of Donald Trump, who spent his term challenging the very notions of process and compromise that Biden and Harris represent. For all of Trump’s unproven claims of voter fraud, the outcome was a clear rejection of his undisciplined and divisive approach. “The American people,’’ said Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum matter-of-factly four days after the election, “wanted something calmer, something quieter and something reassuring that Joe Biden was presenting to them.” Late-night comedian Stephen Colbert said the country was exhausted from the bombastic Trump

years, telling Vanity Fair that “if Joe Biden is a pair of khaki pants inside a manila envelope, that would be great.” David Gergen, an adviser to four past presidents (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton), said in an interview that the vote was “a rejection of the forces that seemed to stand for authoritarianism.” “Trump is still very powerful, but there’s some relief, an underlying celebration of freedom and democracy,” Gergen said. “A Gallup Poll shows people are more optimistic about the future than they’ve been in a while, and that’s a good thing.” Still, Biden faces unique challenges, including a


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The Inauguration

How it usually goes — a celebration of democracy: Outgoing President George W. Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, leave the White House to ride to the Capitol together for Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP

President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy ride in the inaugural parade on Jan. 20, 1981. In his address, Reagan noted that the peaceful transfer of power embodied by the day’s events would be viewed as a “miracle” by much of the world. AP

President Franklin Roosevelt, right, is sworn in for his second term on Jan. 20, 1937. Prior to then, inaugurations had been March 4. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution changed the date. AP

predecessor intent on questioning his legitimacy, and convincing the 74 million who didn’t vote for him that he does not represent a return to what they call “the swamp” of old-style politics. At 78, Biden will be the oldest president (Reagan left offi ce at 77). Harris, 56, is a former attorney general in California and was a senator for four years, about the same length of time Barack Obama served in the Senate before becoming president. By contrast, Biden is a career politician, fi rst winning an election in 1970 for county council in Delaware. Two years later he was elected to the Senate at age 29. (He turned 30, the constitutional minimum age to serve as a senator, a month before taking offi ce.) His fi rst presidential campaign was more than 30 years ago; he withdrew in 1987 after revelations that he had plagiarized parts of a speech by a British politician (an off ense that these days would probably just be a political misdemeanor). In his memoir A Promised Land, Obama wrote that he picked Biden as his running mate in 2008 because he was a seasoned politician who could off set criticisms of Obama’s inexperience. Biden, he wrote, “had heart,” adding he was “smart, practical and did his homework.” Biden had vied for the presidency himself in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign that Obama eventually won. Biden tamped down his ambition and drive during the 2020 campaign, going low-key and virtual while Trump barnstormed in Air Force One and held large rallies despite the pandemic. Biden’s strategy paid off , and even his swearingin will be a relatively quiet aff air. Traditionally, presidential inaugurations are grand panoramas of American pageantry and unity, a colorful and peaceful transfer of power with family and defeated foes in attendance. “In the eyes of many in the world, this everyfour-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle,” Reagan proclaimed in his 1981 inaugural speech. But just as often, the miracles are forgotten after boring speeches or modest parades in freezing January weather (it was so cold in 1985, minus-7 degrees, that President Reagan’s second swearing-in was moved inside). Sometimes, though, inaugural addresses make history: h Franklin Roosevelt famously declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself ” when he was sworn in during the depths of the Depression in 1933. See INAUGURAL, Page 8


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Inaugural Continued from Page 7

h John F. Kennedy implored a “new generation” to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” in 1961. h George H.W. Bush promised a “kinder” and “gentler” conservatism in 1989, months before the Berlin Wall fell. Can a President Joe Biden be as memorable? Never known for soaring rhetoric, his voice has been compassionate — “we are all in this together” — but softspoken since his election. And he has a historical tendency to drone on. “If a speech was scheduled for 15 minutes, Joe went for at least half an hour,” Obama writes in his memoir. “If it was scheduled for a half-hour, there was no telling how long he might talk.” Biden also faces a unique inaugural dilemma. Because of COVID-19, the speech and parade and a ceremony honoring pandemic heroes and victims will be virtual, with spectators urged to stay away. There’s also the potential for socalled “split-screen coverage,” where networks cover the inauguration as well as pro-Trump rallies or demonstrations. That happened in 1981 when Iran released 444 American hostages just 20 minutes after Reagan concluded his inaugural speech. Newspapers the next day used dueling headlines to capture both events. “Newsrooms have to cover the news,” Gergen said, “but Trump’s voice will not be as powerful. I doubt he will be covered live very much. This is his swan song in terms of a national audience.” Because of the restrictions, questions of crowd size will thankfully be moot. (For the record, Obama apparently holds the record for an inaugural crowd, as many as 1.8 million in 2009, to Trump’s possible 600,000 in 2017, according to expert estimates.) “The inaugural is a great moment for celebration of the essence of a democracy,” political analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute said in an email interview. But he worries whether Biden will be able to take offi ce “without a major tarnish” of protests. Ornstein called repeated eff orts to “reject the legitimacy” of Biden’s election “attempted sedition, even if it is symbolic. But what a symbol.” “Even so,” Ornstein said, “when he assumes the presidency, it is a big moment for us and our country.”

Spectators wave to the Obamas as they pass by during the inaugural parade on Jan. 20, 2009. Expert estimates put the size of the crowd for Obama’s inauguration at 1.8 million, believed to be the largest to date. EMILY BARNES/GETTY IMAGES

The Bidens and Obamas wave to George W. Bush and Laura Bush as they leave the White House for Texas on Jan. 20, 2009. EMMANUEL DUNAND AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

President John F. Kennedy used his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961, to declare that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans” — and to challenge that generation to step up in service of their country. AP


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The Inauguration of the 46th President

Wearing the masks that became standard attire in the pandemic year of 2020, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris celebrate their victory on Nov. 7 in Wilmington, Delaware. With them are their spouses, Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff. ANDREW HARNIK/POOL VIA GETTY IMAGES

After bitter race and a 4-day wait, Biden emerges as next president Democrats promise ‘normalcy’ after drama of the Trump years John Fritze, Bart Jansen, Camille Caldera USA TODAY

WILMINGTON, Delaware — Joe Biden, a former vice president and a longtime fi xture in American politics, won the presidency after a bitterly fought election campaign in which he promised a more robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more civil form of politics. Biden’s victory over incumbent Donald Trump

puts the nation on a sharply diff erent course just four years after an election that installed one of the most unconventional leaders in American history. Biden said he was “honored and humbled” by the outcome and that it was time for the country to unite and heal. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he said. Democrats didn’t get the swift and overwhelming victory they had hoped for, and Biden’s win wasn’t confi rmed until four days after Election Day, due to the slow process of counting a crush of absentee ballots attributable to the pandemic. The turning point came Nov. 7, when Biden claimed victory in Pennsylvania, the state where he was born, one of the biggest Electoral College prizes, and one of three northern industrial states that went to Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. In an election shaped by the virus that has killed more than 350,000 Americans and left millions out of work, Biden argued that he had the temperament, experience and character to provide steady leadership. He ran as a centrist Democrat focused on pocketbook issues such as health care and the economy but also on restoring “normalcy” to Washington after four years of Trump drama. Any presidential election is history-making, but this one is especially so because of who will be vice

president rather than president. Biden’s running mate, California senator Kamala Harris, is the fi rst woman, the fi rst African American and the fi rst person of South Asian ancestry to assume the vice presidency. Biden, who is 78, will also be the oldest person in U.S. history to become president. Trump’s defeat makes him the fi rst one-term president since 1992, when Republican George H.W. Bush lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Deep divisions in the body politic Biden enters the White House at a perilous moment, partly because of the pandemic but also because of huge fi ssures that have widened in American society over immigration, race relations and racism, guns, economic inequality and even the meaning of truth and U.S. leadership in the world. Biden has said he wants to serve all Americans, not just the Democratic base. But even with that promise, the divisions will not disappear. The closeness of the election means Biden faces a huge challenge in trying to stitch the country together. Biden won the popular vote with a total of more than 81 million votes, about 7 million more than Trump, and in the Electoral College, with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. “Once this election is fi nalized and behind us,


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Joseph R. Biden Jr. it’ll be time for us to do what we’ve always done as Americans, to put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another,” he said.

A wrenching roller-coaster ride In the end, the election unfolded with the kind of drama Trump often lives for: a wrenching rollercoaster ride in which the incumbent started out on top, then began falling quickly. Trump claimed the huge prize of Florida, his adopted home state, cutting off the prospect of a quick Biden win and pointing toward a cliff hanger. There were surprises along the way. Despite predictions of a lengthy count-and-recount saga in Florida (in other words, a replay of the 2000 election), Trump snapped up the state decisively. But Biden wrested away both Arizona and Georgia, dependably Republican states that Trump carried by more than 3 percentage points each in 2016. Over days of vote-counting, a crucial question loomed: whether Biden could piece back together the Democratic “blue wall” — specifi cally the northern states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — that crumbled four years ago, dooming Hillary Clinton’s race against Trump. The outcome in the Rust Belt was far from clear when Biden addressed hundreds of supporters at drive-in rally in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, just before midnight on Election Day. “Your patience is commendable,” Biden told supporters.

Waiting for results By that point, it was clear that the results were to remain inconclusive for some time — at least until the morning, and probably much longer. When the voting wrapped up Tuesday, Trump had substantial leads and appeared to be poised to capture most of the contested states. But Biden’s momentum shifted on Wednesday afternoon when Wisconsin was called in his favor, followed soon after by Michigan. Arizona had already been forecast as a Biden win, backing a Democratic presidential candidate for the fi rst time since 1996. As Biden’s vote tallies inched higher in Georgia and Pennsylvania and he maintained a slim lead in Nevada, the path for Trump had narrowed substantially by the time Americans sat down for dinner on Wednesday. That change occurred as election offi cials began counting absentee ballots, which leaned Biden’s way. In many key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, mail ballots were counted after votes that had been cast in person on Election Day. Since Democrats voted early in much higher numbers than Republicans, Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania became evident as more ballots were counted. By Friday morning, the excitement was palpable in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. After Biden overtook Trump in Pennsylvania, Democratic supporters started to gather.

A Biden supporter celebrates outside City Hall in Philadelphia on Nov. 7 after the victory was sealed. BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Holding signs and American fl ags, supporters exchanged shouts of “It’s gonna be a great day” and “Here we go, guys!” It was clear that Biden was about to capture Pennsylvania, and with it the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch a presidential victory following the tumultuous 2020 campaign. On Friday night, Biden made a brief indoor appearance at the Chase Center arena in Wilmington, where he said Americans “spoke loudly for our ticket,” but he again urged patience as the ballot counting continued. “We don’t have a fi nal declaration, a victory yet,” Biden said. “We’re going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us.” Around 11:30 a.m. the next day, the declaration of victory for the former vice president set off a crescendo of honks, cheers and shouts of “Free at Last” and “God Bless America” in Wilmington outside Biden’s campaign headquarters.

Turnout smashes record While Trump and others had warned of widespread fraud, intimidation and even violence ahead of Election Day, there were no signs of major problems. Instead, the election was defi ned by a record number of Americans voting by mail with few incidents. Millions more patiently waited in lines at schools and government buildings across the country to cast their ballots. Nearly 160 million Americans voted, by far the largest turnout in a modern election. Though it was not widespread, there was tension: Protesters took to the streets in cities across the country. A crowd made up mostly of Trump supporters gathered as election workers counted ballots in Arizona. The National Guard was deployed in Portland, Oregon. Arrests were made in Minneapolis and New York City.

Trump, who throughout the year repeatedly declined to say whether he would accept the outcome of the race, made clear that he would not concede without a fi ght. He fi led a series of court challenges that recalled the protracted legal battle that frayed the country in 2000, when the Supreme Court ultimately decided the election for Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore. The president’s aides also threatened to demand a recount in Wisconsin. As Trump grew more impatient with the outcome, he made wilder claims — prompting Twitter, the social media platform that elevated his national prominence in the fi rst place, to label many of his posts with a warning that his words “might be misleading.” “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election,” Trump wrote in one of the tweets labeled with a warning because there was no evidence of any wrongdoing in the counting of the ballots. “We will never let them do it.” Trump’s lawsuits were thrown out or withdrawn in dozens of instances around the country, with judges noting in sometimes scathing terms that the president’s legal team had failed to provide any substantive evidence. Simply “calling an election unfair does not make it so,” read one ruling in Pennsylvania.

Difference of style Biden, making his third White House run (after 1988 and 2008), campaigned on expanding access to health care and investing in middle-class jobs while combating the pandemic with a more robust federal response. He promised to rebuild friendships with allies in Europe and Asia with whom Trump often bickered while confronting adversaries he said Trump coddled in Russia, China and North Korea. But by far the biggest diff erence between the men was stylistic: Biden ran on his temperament, off ering it as a contrast to the bombastic approach Trump has taken to the presidency for four years. Biden essentially proposed to rebuild a functioning federal government based on his experience as vice president under Barack Obama and his 36 years in the Senate representing Delaware. Throughout the campaign, Trump tried to frame Biden as far left — a “socialist” in his words — despite the former vice president’s record as a bipartisan dealmaker who ran to the right of more liberal candidates in the primary. Biden never embraced a “Medicare for All” system of health care or the so-called Green New Deal for the environment. Even before the race was called, Biden began shifting away from his campaign talking points and toward a more presidential tone focused on calming tensions. As vote counting continued in battlegrounds throughout the day and Trump delivered fi ery remarks at the White House, Biden came to a lectern in Delaware and urged Americans to take a breath. “Democracy is sometimes messy,” he said. “It sometimes requires a little patience.”


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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 7 after the ticket’s victory was sealed. ROBERT DEUTSCH/USA TODAY

Harris makes history many times over ‘Very diff erent life experiences’ made her Biden’s ideal VP pick Maureen Groppe USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The vice-presidential glass ceiling has been broken. Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election means Kamala Harris will be the fi rst woman to serve as vice president. “We did it. We did it, Joe,” a smiling Harris told Biden by phone in a video she tweeted out after the

election was called in their favor. “You’re going to be the next president of the United States.” “This election is about so much more than @JoeBiden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fi ght for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us,” she wrote in a separate tweet. “Let’s get started.” Harris, 56, was the fi rst Black woman on a major party’s presidential ticket, as well as the fi rst person of Asian heritage in such a position. Her husband, entertainment lawyer Doug Emhoff , will be the fi rst “second gentleman.” Harris has said she expects to work closely with

Biden, off ering him a perspective shaped by a different background. “It is about a partnership that also is informed by one of the reasons I think Joe asked me to join him, which is that he and I have ... the same ideals and values but we have very diff erent life experiences,” Harris said at a campaign fundraiser. Former president Barack Obama, whom Biden served as vice president for eight years, has called her an “ideal partner” for Biden. He said she is more than prepared for the job as “someone who knows what it’s like to overcome barriers.” Harris was the fi rst Black woman to be elected


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Vice President Kamala Harris district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general of California and was only the second Black woman elected to the Senate. (The fi rst: Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois in 1992.) Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics, called Harris’ newest victory an “enormously signifi cant moment.” “Her win puts to rest the question of the electability of women to high offi ce — a question that haunted both the women and people of color who ran for the Democratic nomination this cycle,” Walsh said. Harris’ niece Meena shared a more succinct reaction, tweeting: “My 4 year old just yelled `BLACK GIRLS ARE WELCOME TO BE PRESIDENT!’” Biden had faced pressure to choose a woman of color as his running mate because of the large role African Americans — and particularly Black women — have played in the Democratic Party and because of the racial issues thrust into the foreground by the coronavirus pandemic and the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police. “There is no vaccine for racism,” Harris said during her speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination. “We’ve got to do the work for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor and for the lives of too many others to name.” Announcing his choice, Biden called the former prosecutor a “fearless fi ghter for the little guy, one of the country’s fi nest public servants.”

Two ran for VP before her

Harris speaks at a rally in Devenport, Iowa, in August 2019 after completing a fi ve-day bus tour of the state. Harris was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out after her campaign failed to gain traction in Iowa. JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, holds a copy of “The Bill of Rights” as Harris is sworn in as San Francisco district attorney in 2004. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George administers the oath of office. GEORGE NIKITIN/AP

Harris was the third woman nominated for vice presidential on a major party ticket. California congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro ran on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale in 1984, and Alaska governor Sarah Palin was running mate to Republican John McCain in 2008. Harris’ debate with Vice President Mike Pence was the second-most-watched vice presidential debate, after the 2008 matchup between Biden and Palin. Harris’ response when Pence tried to cut in on her allotted time — “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking; I’m speaking” — sparked a meme. T-shirts, face masks and other products emblazoned with those words were quickly available on the internet. Biden’s age, 78, contributed to the public’s interest in Harris, due to the possibility that he might not serve a full term or seek reelection. Republicans sought to characterize Harris as member of the “radical left” who would control the more centrist Biden. Voters had a divided opinion of Harris, with 46% “very” or “somewhat” favorable and 47% “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable, according to a VoteCast survey of 110,405 voters by The Associated Press. The diff erence was as polarized as the rest of the election. Of those who viewed her favorably, 93% supported Biden; 87% of those viewing her unfavorably supported Donald Trump. See HARRIS, Page 14


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Harris Continued from Page 13

Biden’s selection of Harris gave the campaign a big fundraising boost. Backers sent more than $34 million immediately after Biden announced his pick, and Harris headlined numerous fundraisers throughout the fall. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., which Harris belongs to, began donating $19.08 apiece. The sorority, the oldest Greek-letter organization established by Black college-educated women, was founded in 1908 at Howard University, her alma mater. Harris was often dispatched to energize voters of color. The fi rst candidate on a major party ticket to have attended a historically Black college or university, Harris campaigned at HBCUs, barbershops and other places of signifi cance for communities of color. For many virtual campaign events, Harris broadcast out of a studio set up at Howard University. “I say it’s about time a graduate from a state university and a HBCU graduate are in the White House,” Biden said of himself and Harris at a rally in Atlanta.

About the second gentleman Emhoff was also a regular presence on the campaign trail and formed a bond with Jill Biden, who herself had been the spouse of a vice president. Emhoff , who is Jewish, was a regular Biden surrogate for campaign events targeting Jewish supporters. He was also “sent all the time to probably the hardest spots,” Biden senior strategic adviser Greg Schultz said during an October campaign event. Emhoff has been off ered lots of advice on how to tackle his new role. “Everyone’s got an opinion on this, which is nice to hear,” Emhoff said during the campaign. “Which means people are actually excited about the prospect of someone like me in this role — and I get that.” He hopes to tap his legal background and focus on justice-related issues, particularly “access to justice.” Emhoff still has the voicemail of a congratulatory call from Biden after Harris and Emhoff got engaged in March 2014. It was Harris’ fi rst marriage and Emhoff ’s second. His son and daughter — named Cole and Ella after jazz legends Cole Porter and Ella Fitzgerald — came up with their own name for her: Mamala. During an appearance on Hillary Clinton’s podcast, Harris described how she had been teaching Emhoff how to cook after the pandemic confi ned them to their Washington, D.C., apartment. Harris’ own passion for cooking was often a topic on the campaign trail. She has described it as “one of my joys” and recirculated a video of herself making masala dosa with actress and writer Mindy Kaling last year. She told Clinton that one of Emhoff ’s own culinary attempts went awry, setting off a fi re alarm. Harris had to wave her briefi ng book back and forth to clear the air. The couple agreed that Emhoff should stick to three dishes he knows how to cook — “and we don’t need to experiment with anything else,” Harris said.

Harris as San Francisco’s top prosecutor in June 2004. She later became California attorney general, then was elected to the Senate. MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP

Presidential ambitions Harris had sought the Democratic nomination herself but ended her campaign before the fi rst primary votes were cast. She struggled to place herself in an ideological camp, particularly on how far she would go to support the health care proposal dubbed “Medicare for All.” She also faced criticism from some on the left for her prosecutorial record. One of her biggest moments during the primary campaign came during a debate when she challenged Biden over his remarks about working with segregationist senators. She described herself as part of the second class to integrate her school as a child after mandatory school busing, which forced Biden to apologize for his earlier comments. Although Biden didn’t hold a grudge, Trump immediately called Harris a “phony” after her selection. He frequently made fun of her fi rst name — which is Sanskrit for “lotus” — and hurled insults at her from his campaign rallies, included calling her a monster. Women’s groups spent millions on ads to “push back on disinformation and racist, sexist attacks” on Harris and show her in a positive light. “She has taken on some of the toughest fi ghts...and she’s done it all with a sense of style,” said the narrator in an ad called “Chucks” that included footage of Harris wearing her signature shoe choice, Converse Chuck Taylors, and a young girl dancing in the same footwear. “Someday soon, anyone will be able to see themselves as president.”

Daughter of immigrants Harris was born in Oakland, California, to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer scientist who immigrated from India, and Donald Harris, a professor of economics who immigrated from Jamaica. Her fi rst job was cleaning laboratory pipettes for her mother. “She fi red me. I was awful,” Harris said.

Gopalan would also tell Harris and her sister: “Don’t sit around and complain about things. Do something.” Harris frequently mentions the “stroller’s-eye view” she had of the civil rights movement, as her parents marched for social justice — a central topic of family discussions. She wrote in her memoir that she was inspired to become a prosecutor in part because of the prosecutors who went after the Ku Klux Klan and because of U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who sent Justice Department offi cials to protect the Freedom Riders civil rights activists in 1961. But she had to defend to friends and family her decision to try to change the justice system — a system they saw as too often off ering injustice — from the inside rather than the outside. Harris points to a program she championed as district attorney to direct young people arrested for drug crimes into training and counseling programs instead of sending them to jail. As California’s attorney general, she pushed for a tough settlement from fi ve major banks accused of foreclosure abuse. A fellow state attorney general who joined the fi ght was Beau Biden of Delaware — Joe Biden’s oldest son. The two developed a friendship before Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015. After Harris joined the Senate in 2017, she put her prosecutorial skills to work grilling witnesses at hearings. “I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, the most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate,” Trump complained of Harris’ tough questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Breaking barriers means breaking things When Harris found herself competing for the presidential nomination with three other female Democratic senators, the rivals enjoyed lighter moments on the campaign trail — laughing with each other and comparing notes on the still-rare experience of being a woman running for president. “We have spent a lot of time together, sharing looks at each other across a room when statements are being made,” giving each other a knowing look, like “Yeah, that just happened,” Harris said during a fundraiser that included two of those senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. (The third was Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.) Klobuchar recounted how, during one debate, the women demanded that technicians raise the temperature in the freezing studio. “You couldn’t feel your feet,” Klobuchar said. “And on the break, we’re sitting there huddled together … and we said to the technician from NBC: `You know what? Women do worse when it’s so cold. This isn’t fair. You have got to turn this up, right now.’ And so they turned up the heat, as we did.” Harris said women who go fi rst know the sacrifi ces they’ve made and hope to make it easier for women to come up after. Breaking barriers, she said, involves breaking things. “And when you break things, you might get cut. You might bleed. It will be painful,” she said more than once. “It will be worth it.”


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Supporters of the Democratic slate of candidates attend a socially distanced get-out-the-vote rally on the University of Minnesota campus on Election Day. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the 2020 presidential election generated the most votes ever cast in a U.S. race. STEPHEN MATUREN/GETTY IMAGES

‘A real contrast’ Bart Jansen and Rebecca Morin USA TODAY

Joe Biden won the White House because of who he is and who he isn’t. Biden campaigned with metronomic consistency for racial equity and common decency to save "the soul of the nation" since declaring his candidacy on April 25, 2019. He pushed for expanded health care and investment in middle-class jobs. His message held through a campaign dominated by protests for racial justice and a pandemic that

How Joe Biden’s message of moderation united Democrats and won the election

killed over 350,000 Americans — and counting. But Biden also contrasted himself with his rivals. As Bernie Sanders claimed wins in early primaries, Biden distinguished himself from the selfproclaimed socialist to hold the more moderate center. During the general election, Biden contrasted his style with that of Donald Trump, whose administration polarized the country over the response to COVID-19, the resulting economic damage and the summer’s protests. The election became a referendum on Trump — an up or down vote on his four-year term — rather

than a choice between him and Biden, according to political experts. About two-thirds of voters said their opinion of Trump, either for or against, drove their choice, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of the electorate. “2020 was a referendum on the incumbent president on overdrive," said Melissa Miller, associate professor of political science at Bowling Green State University. But one of the most pivotal fi gures supporting Biden, South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, said the challenger still had to off er voters


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The Path to Victory from former presidential rivals Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey. The following week, Biden won every county in Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi and never looked back. Carter, the Howard professor, said part of the reason Black voters helped guide the broader party was because of their priority for choosing a winner rather than necessarily the candidate with views closest to their own. “Black voters are pragmatic. They think, 'If we pick a Bernie Sanders, they are going to beat him over the head with this socialist label. They are going to treat socialism as a dirty word and he won’t be able to do anything,' " Carter said. “'Let’s go with a guy who may not have the most innovative ideas, but we think white people will go for him, too.'"

Progressives stick by, but urge change

Biden supporters gather at Olmsted Center on the Drake University campus in Des Moines on Feb. 3 to await results from the Iowa caucuses. Biden would fi nish a disappointing fourth in Iowa, which held the fi rst nominating contest of the campaign, although the biggest story coming out of the caucuses was the vote-counting confusion that delayed results for days. BRYON HOULGRAVE/THE DES MOINES REGISTER

something to believe in. “I’ve said he’s not the perfect candidate. We’re not comparing him to the Almighty. We’re comparing him to the alternative," Clyburn told USA TODAY. "You needed somebody who was basically center-left, you needed somebody who had a good solid reputation as a person who could bring people together. You needed a real contrast to the bombastic incumbent."

ber of the House and the most powerful Black lawmaker in Congress. “Joe Biden bending the knee was a really important part of his winning," Niambi Carter, associate professor in political science and director of graduate studies at Howard University, told USA TODAY.

South Carolina rescues Biden

Strong support from Black voters allowed Biden to consolidate his support among party leaders as the candidate with the broadest appeal. Three out of fi ve Black voters in South Carolina supported Biden, compared with 1 out of 5 for Sanders. The results culled the fi eld. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, dropped out the next day, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota the day after. That narrowed the choice on Super Tuesday between the more moderate Biden or the more hard-left Sanders. “That was a very powerful signal to other Democrats,” said David Hopkins, associate professor of political science at Boston College. “Democratic voters wanted a signal from a trusted source, and Black voters in South Carolina were a trusted source.” With the win, the Democratic Party united behind Biden. He pocketed endorsements from establishment Democrats such as former Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada before sweeping Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Biden racked up more endorsements, including

Victory wasn't assured, despite Biden leading national polls most of last year. Biden called his fourth-place fi nish in the Iowa caucuses Feb. 3 “a gut punch." He left New Hampshire on Feb. 11 before votes there were counted; he placed fi fth with just 8.4% of the vote. In Nevada on Feb. 22, Biden came in a distant second to Sanders. But as his money dwindled and support waned, Biden pleaded for patience as the race headed toward the more diverse electorate in South Carolina. “You shouldn’t be able to win the presidency without support from Black and brown voters,” Biden said before winning a decisive 30-point margin over Sanders on Feb. 29. “All those of you who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign," Biden said after the win. "Just days ago, the press and the pundits declared this candidacy dead." Perhaps the biggest reason Biden won was because he sought and won the endorsement three days earlier from Clyburn, the third-ranking mem-

Black voters 'signal' pragmatic choice

The Democratic Party changed its nominating rules after the 2016 campaign in response to complaints that the delegate selection process gave an advantage to establishment Democrats over those with more grassroots support. But Sanders' early success this time around worried party offi cials. They looked ahead to Republicans blasting their nominee as a socialist and Democrats losing another election. “(Black support “The Democratic Party establishment never wanted Sanders,” in South Carolina) said Caitlin Jewitt, assistant pro- was a very powerful fessor of political science at Virginia Tech and author of “The Pri- signal. ... Democratic mary Rules: Parties, Voters and voters wanted a Presidential Nominations.” “At that point, it was double- signal from a trusted barreled. It can’t be Sanders, but it has to be somebody who can beat source, and Black Trump." voters in South Sanders was more cooperative this time around. In 2016, even af- Carolina were a ter Democrat Hillary Clinton had trusted source.” wrapped up the nomination, Sanders continued contesting David Hopkins primaries and didn’t endorse her Boston College political scientist until July. Tensions lingered at the party convention. This year, Sanders endorsed Biden in April. Waleed Shahid, spokesman for Justice Democrats, an organization that aims to elect progressive candidates, said there would be no “honeymoon” for Biden in offi ce. Progressives are eager to see how much Biden can win for economic stimulus and what funding he will provide to address systemic racism and climate change.

Protests contrast Trump, Biden The death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 sparked nationwide protests. The incident refocused attention on the See CAMPAIGN, Page 18


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shooting death of Breonna Taylor during a police raid March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky. And outrage roiled Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a police offi cer shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake on Aug. 23. The responses of Trump and Biden off ered another stark contrast. Trump positioned himself as a law-and-order president, supporting police as protests occasionally turned violent with arson, burglaries and shootings. Federal authorities used tear gas outside the White House on June 1 to clear a path so Trump could walk to a nearby church to be photographed holding a Bible aloft. Biden walked a line between supporting peaceful protests while denouncing violence. He urged greater training for police to defuse confrontations while dismissing proposals from more liberal supporters to defund police. And Biden, who had lost his wife, a daughter and a son to an accident and illness, met relatives of the victims. Biden recounted a wrenching conversation with Floyd's daughter, Gianna, in a video for his funeral. "You're so brave," Biden said. "No child should have to ask questions that too many Black children have asked for generations: 'Why? Why is Daddy gone?' In looking through your eyes, we should also be asking ourselves why the answer is so often too cruel and painful." Protests over police violence were a factor in the election for 91% of voters, according to a VoteCast survey of 110,485 voters by The Associated Press. More than three out of four voters said racism is a “very” or “somewhat” serious problem in U.S. society, according to the survey. But the responses divided sharply along party lines, with 90% of the voters saying racism wasn’t a problem supporting Trump, according to the survey. Two-thirds of voters said the criminal justice system needs a complete overhaul or major changes, according to the survey. Stefanie Brown James, who led eff orts to engage African American leaders and voters in 2012 for then-President Barack Obama, said protests and calls for racial justice forced Biden to confront systemic racism and talk about his plans. The protests were embraced by more than just Black people with participation of whites, Latinos and Asians, she said. "I think it pushed him, and it also pushed other voters, and other demographics, to also understand we need some real policy changes and some policy solutions because this is egregious the way Black people are treated in this country."

The groundbreaking running mate Harris cemented her reputation for tough oversight of the Trump administration during clashes in hearings with Attorney General William Barr

Biden speaks at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sept. 3, during protests in the city over a police shooting that left a Black man paralyzed. Donald Trump had visited Kenosha just two days earlier. CAROLYN KASTER/AP

and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Harris brought the political experience of her own short-lived presidential campaign as well as having won election in the country’s most populous state as attorney general and then senator. But beyond her resume, Harris fulfi lled a goal of women and people of color by becoming the fi rst African American woman and the fi rst person of South Asian person descent on a major party’s presidential ticket. Black women demanded recognition for their demographic group, a reliably Democratic voter bloc. “I think it was essential," said Carter, the professor at Howard University, where Harris earned her bachelor's degree. “That was an inspirational message that bridged a lot of parts of the Democratic coalition." People danced on a hot, blue-sky afternoon in the parking lot at Morehouse College in Atlanta while waiting for Harris to speak at the historically Black school. Jacinda Jackson, 34, president of DeKalb Young Democrats, brought her mother, Brenda Thomas, to celebrate the historic nominee. “Seeing a Black woman become the fi rst vice president is something that is very, very special, and so I brought my mom as well,” Jackson said. “She wanted to come as well because it is very important for Black women to see themselves in this kind of role.”

Biden adopts safe coronavirus practices The coronavirus pandemic changed the nature of the campaign completely. Both parties held conventions largely remotely. Door-to-door canvassing became tougher. Rallies halted temporarily. But the response to the health crisis became one of the defi ning contrasts between the campaigns. Biden remained mostly secluded at his Delaware home and appeared at speeches or rallies where participants wore masks and kept separated.

Trump resumed rallies with large crowds packed closely together without requiring masks. About two-thirds of likely voters approved of Biden's more cautious approach, according to a USA TODAY/Suff olk University poll released days before the election. The coronavirus pandemic was the “most important issue facing the country” to 41% of voters, according to the AP VoteCast survey. The economy was the top issue for 28% and all other issues received single-digit responses, the survey found. The survey found about 1 in 5 voters thought the virus was completely or mostly under control. But half the respondents said it wasn’t under control at all, and 3 in 10 said it was somewhat under control, according to the survey. More than 3 out of 4 voters favored a requirement that people wear masks, according to the survey. “The big diff erence between us — and the reason why it looks like we’re not traveling — we’re not putting on superspreaders," Biden told reporters in Chester, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 26. “It’s important to be responsible." Trump blasted Biden repeatedly for campaigning largely by remote video rather than visiting states like the president. Trump tweeted side-byside images Oct. 28 showing him arriving by helicopter at a crowded rally while Biden walked into a sparsely populated gathering where attendants sat separated in white circles. “He’s waved a white fl ag on life. He doesn’t leave his basement,” Trump told reporters Oct. 26 after he landed for a rally in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “He’s a pathetic candidate, I will tell you that.” The virus infi ltrated both campaigns. Trump was hospitalized for several days after testing positive for the virus. And Harris canceled a weekend of campaign trips in mid-October after a staff er tested positive for the virus.

Money buys ads, expands map Despite the hurdle of holding fundraisers by video call and being the challenger rather than incumbent, Biden raised far more money during the campaign than Trump. The advantage allowed Biden to run two or three times as many ads as Trump in key battlegrounds. Biden's campaign brought in $952 million through Oct. 14, compared with $601 million to Trump's campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission. However, fundraising doesn't dictate the winner, as Trump demonstrated in 2016 when he was dramatically outspent. An advantage to Biden's bountiful advertising was that he could aff ord to expand the campaign map. Biden ventured beyond the fi ercely competitive states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin during fi nal weeks of the campaign to also visit Georgia and Iowa. He argued a week before voting ended that he also had a fi ghting chance in Ohio and North Carolina. "I just want to make sure we can earn every vote possible," Biden told reporters in Chester.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

The Inauguration of the 46th President

PRESIDENT, NO PRECEDENT


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

Nothing about the 2020 presidential campaign was typical. It took place amid a global pandemic that left the Democratic ticket and their spouses masked up as a precaution at the end of their party’s virtual convention. JOE LAMBERTI/WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL-USA TODAY NETWORK

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Harris’ impact: ‘A sense of relief, a sense of hope’ Supporters across the country describe what it means to them From staff reports

On Nov. 7, 2020, four days after Election Day, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris fi nally locked down the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, after Pennsylvania turned blue. Harris will become the fi rst female vice president, and the fi rst African American, and the fi rst of South Asian descent. Voters across the nation shared their thoughts on the historic moment and what it means to them.

In Rhode Island: ‘Tearing up’ “It was such a relief for a lot of persons of color and immigrants and people with diff erent religions when it became offi cial,” Newport City Council member Angela McCalla said. “I was probably one of many that can’t say it without tearing up.” Harris’ achievement struck a chord with McCalla, a Black woman with Asian heritage. Although she was not the fi rst Black woman to serve on Newport’s council — that honor goes to Alice Richards, she said — McCalla was the city’s fi rst Asian American and LGBTQ councilwoman. “For our community in Newport, there’s an ever-growing biracial and multiracial community that fi nally has a person we can look up to, because we don’t have enough of those leaders,” McCalla said. — Savana Dunning, Newport Daily News

Egypt Otis, owner of the Comma Bookstore & Social Hub in Flint, Michigan, and her 9-year-old daughter Eva Allen pose for a picture with Kamala Harris in September. Taking the photo is Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Otis said her daughter is now “part of history.” KATREASE STAFFORD/AP

In Texas: ‘A sense of hope’ Tamieka Henry found out history had been made in a text from her mom. That’s how she learned that the United States had elected Kamala Harris, a daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, as vice president. “It was a sense of relief, a sense of hope,” said Henry, 26, the president of El Paso Young Black Leaders. “I just felt proud.” — Eleanor Dearman, El Paso Times

In Texas: ‘Hearing the joy in her voice’ U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, had been watching TV much of that Saturday morning hoping an announcement would come. She was out-

For Angela McCalla, a City Council member in Newport, Rhode Island, the election result was “such a relief.” PETER SILVIA FOR NEWPORT DAILY NEWS

Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar was outside doing yard work when her phone started blowing up with the news. BRIANA SANCHEZ/EL PASO TIMES


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The Voters side doing yard work and taking a break from the news when she heard her phone begin to go off . She ran inside and fl ipped the TV back on and saw the election being called. The fi rst thing she did was call her mother. “Just hearing the joy in her voice was incredible, and affi rming and beautiful,” Escobar said. The freshman representative, who shattered glass ceilings of her own as the fi rst woman elected to Texas’ 16th Congressional and one of the fi rst two Latinas from Texas to serve in Congress, said the day was “monumentally historic.” “We have not just a woman, but a woman of color, who is going to be helping to lead our country, unify our country, rebuild our country,” she said. — Eleanor Dearman, El Paso Times

In Michigan: ‘It was bigger than me’ Kamala Harris becoming vice president-elect capped a thrilling year among her sorority sisters, the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. During the campaign, AKAs began making donations of $19.08, symbolic of the year the fi rst Black sorority was founded at Howard University in Washington, which is also Harris’ alma mater. When Chiara Clayton, an AKA and a Detroit native, volunteered to count ballots at the TCF Center in Detroit, she didn’t know what to expect, but she felt an obligation to help ensure that the process was done correctly because of the historic amount of mail-in ballots coming in. As she counted, she watched the commotion unfold inside and outside of the venue as political partisans attempted to oversee, interfere with or object to the process. But Clayton never once thought that it was too much to handle. “I felt like it was bigger than me,” said Clayton. “I felt an opportunity to represent for the city of Detroit, for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, for women, for Black women. That’s why I did it.” — Chanel Stitt, Kristen Jordan Shamus and Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

In Michigan: ‘Representation matters’ Charity Dean, director of civil rights, inclusion and opportunity for the city of Detroit, said 2020 was the year for Black women. Dean was participating in a virtual women’s conference when she learned that Biden and Harris had won the election, and she was overjoyed. “Representation matters so much,” Dean said. “When young people can see themselves in leadership, then the possibilities become endless. For Sen. Harris to ascend to the vice president of the United States of America, to live in a house that slaves built, just minutes away from where she graduated from college and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha — it just shows and demonstrates the road to the White House (is) not always the roads that we’ve been taught.” — Chanel Stitt, Kristen Jordan Shamus and Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Then, LaMacchia ran for offi ce herself. On Election Day, she lost her bid for the state legislature. Still, she celebrates other victories in the 2020 elections and resolves to continue doing more. “I feel tremendously fortunate to be able to witness the fi rst woman vice president, the fi rst African American woman vice president,” she said. — Chanel Stitt, Kristen Jordan Shamus and Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

In Delaware: ‘You can become anything’

Detroit civll rights official Charity Dean says young people are able to see “the possibilities are endless.” ELAINE CROMIE/SPECIAL TO THE FREE PRESS

Outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, Ground Zero for the Democratic ticket as they waited out the results, crowds of people gathered with posters, fl ags and T-shirts to celebrate the election of Delaware’s own Joe Biden. But for the women and people of color there, there was another reason to celebrate — Kamala Harris becoming not only the fi rst woman, but the fi rst woman of color to be elected vice president of the United States. “It’s about the character she has, the example she sets for these young kids,” said Shaheen Khan, who drove in from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. “You can become anything in this country.” — Natalia Alamdari, Delaware News Journal

In Ohio: ‘Backbone of democracy’

Daytona Beach, Florida, Mayor Derrick Henry says his daughter sees clearly “there is nothing that she can’t do.” NIGEL COOK/NEWS-JOURNAL

In Michigan: ‘Tremendously fortunate’ Jody LaMacchia, 48, was surrounded by the strong women in her life — her 90-year-old mother, her wife, her sister-in-law and her mother-inlaw — when it became clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were going to win Pennsylvania, and thus the pesidential election. “It was great to have those women with us because it’s been really hard these last four years,” LaMacchia said. She volunteered for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 and Hillary Clinton’s in 2016. She joined the North Oakland Democratic Club after Donald Trump’s election in 2016 and organized during the 2018 elections that saw Democrats add 41 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and take control of the chamber.

Destiny Brown watches and listens to Kamala Harris and gets a sense of what her own future could be. Brown is a senior political science major at Ohio State University. The Indianapolis native, who is Black, is director of government relations for the Undergraduate Student Government. So when she saw Harris, the Democratic vice president-elect, speak on television after victory was assured, the words she heard boosted her and her dreams for a life in public service. “She said Black women were the backbone of American democracy — not just saying ‘a woman of color’ ... ‘Black women,’ ” said Brown, 21. That specifi city for Brown was equal parts powerful and reaffi rming. -- Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

In Ohio: ‘Someone who looks like me’ Anna Sanyal of Weinland Park, Ohio, was watching Kamala Harris speak, too. A lawyer, she had supported Harris in the primary campaign and worked for the Biden-Harris ticket. Sanyal’s parents are from South Asia — her father from what is now Bangladesh, her mother from India. She said it is important for women with backgrounds such as hers to see what Harris has accomplished. “I could achieve something like that,” said Sanyal, 36, a former administrative law judge at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. “Seeing See IMPACT, Page 24


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Impact

women — and little boys and young men and everybody — to see that you can be who you are and take one of the highest positions in the land and people will support you and vote for you and take your ideas seriously,” Rosenberg said. “I think it’s a big step for us.” — Doug Schneider, Natalie Brophy and Jeff Bollier, USA TODAY Network – Wisconsin

Continued from Page 23

someone who looks like me, grew up eating the same food as me. It makes my parents’ sacrifi ce worth it.” — Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

In Illinois: ‘Jumping up and down’

In New York: ‘I can be the president’ When Ashley Richardson-George’s 5-year-old daughter, Andrea, saw Harris wearing a white suffragette suit during her prime-time victory speech, she ran into her room and came back minutes later wearing a white dress and sweater. Andrea wanted to be just like the vice presidentelect. And it was more possible than ever. “I was just really happy for her because you really don’t believe that you can be anything that you want unless you see it,” said Richardson-George of New York. “So for her, she was like, ‘I can be the president.’ So to see that glimmer in her eyes as a parent, it really is powerful to me as her mom.” — Kat Staff ord and Christine Fernando, AP

In Michigan: ‘A part of history’ Flint, Michigan, resident Egypt Otis and her 9year-old daughter, Eva Allen, met Kamala Harris in September when the candidate stopped by Otis’ bookstore, Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, during a campaign trip focused on Black communities across the fi ercely contested state. So when Allen and Otis watched Harris’ historic speech, it was a full circle moment for the Black mother and daughter. “My daughter is going to be a part of history because she had the opportunity to have a conversation with our fi rst Black woman vice president,” Otis said. “It just shows you how important representation is.” — Kat Staff ord and Christine Fernando, AP

In Alaska: ‘Tomorrow, its my daughter’ In Fairbanks, Alaska, Trina Bailey and her 13year-old daughter, Leilah, sat arm-in-arm on the couch watching Harris’ speech. It was a moment of hope and mourning as Bailey refl ected on the Black women she loves who never had the chance to step on a stage like that. “I believe Black women belong in all places where decisions are being made,” Bailey said. “Today, that’s Sen. Kamala Harris. Tomorrow, it’s my daughter, Leilah Bailey.” Leilah said Harris’ speech made her confi dent in her own dream of becoming president. “Young girls are feeling like they are able to do more than they thought they were able to,” Leilah said. “I felt amazing because it made me feel like I had a chance to do things that mostly men have done.” — Kat Staff ord and Christine Fernando, AP

“Representation is critical for us as a country to fi nally have a woman as second-in-command,” said Topeka, Kansas, Mayor Michelle De La Isla. EVERT NELSON/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

In Massachusetts: ‘There’s hope’ A longtime social activist on Cape Cod, MaryAnn Barboza of Hyannis, Massachusetts, was confi dent that Biden and Harris would win. But she still harbored fears the election would go the other way. The results lifted a weight off her shoulders. “You want to believe the majority of people aren’t racist,” she said. “When those votes came in, it renewed my faith in humanity.” Barboza has three granddaughters who will see Harris on stage, online and in the news, and it will make a world of diff erence to them. “There’s hope,” Barboza said. “For them to know they can reach the sky — what’s wrong with that?” — Denise Coff ey, Cape Cod Times

In Florida: ‘Nothing she can’t do’ Daytona Beach, Florida, Mayor Derrick Henry tweeted, “My daughter’s political consciousness will take shape over the next four years with Kamala Harris as Vice President. One more reason that she can believe me when I say that there is nothing that she can’t do.” — Zac Anderson, John Kennedy, Carlos R. Munoz, Sarasota Herald Tribune

In Wisconsin: ‘A big step for us’ Wausau, Wisconsin, Mayor Katie Rosenberg got emotional thinking about what it means for Harris to take offi ce. “I’m excited for all the little girls and young

Chicago resident Shanya Gray, 38, was upstairs in her bedroom watching TV when the news broke. She screamed, and her two sons — ages 5 and 10 — ran upstairs with her mother and husband. “I was jumping up and down, and my family was jumping up and down,” she said. Gray is originally from Barbados and came to the U.S. for college. An assistant professor and counselor at a community college, she said it gives her “goosebumps to know that there will be a Black woman who ... has family of West Indian descent” as vice president. — N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY

In Kansas: ‘It’s just inspiring to me’ Topeka, Kansas, Mayor Michelle De La Isla and her daughters watched from home. As Harris said, “While I may be the fi rst woman in this offi ce, I will not be the last,” De La Isla looked over at her daughters, and tears fi lled her eyes. “Representation matters, let’s start with that,” De La Isla said. “Representation is critical for us as a country to fi nally have a woman as second-incommand of this country, and the beauty of diversity between her and Joe (Biden). “We often talk about ageism and being two completely diff erent generations and to have the diversity that you have, it’s just inspiring to me.” — Brianna Childers, Topeka Capital-Journal

In Kansas: ‘She just represents so much’ Joan Wagnon, who was Topeka’s fi rst female mayor (1997-2001) and before that served in the Kansas House of Representatives, said it wasn’t so much what Harris said in her speech Nov. 7 that struck her, but the interviews news outlets conducted with women in the audience. “You begin to get a sense that it’s not just a few of us that have been waiting for a long time to see women rise to the highest ranks in elected offi ce, but there were young girls that were excited about it, there are immigrants that are excited about it,” Wagnon said. “She just represents so much that is possible in today’s world.” “I’ve been in public life since I was fi rst elected in 1982 and what strikes me is that we are actually making progress. There are more women serving, there are women, of both parties, of color that are getting elected. It’s not just Kamala Harris. It’s that things are really changing.” — Brianna Childers, Topeka Capital-Journal


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

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The Nation Reacts

The fountain in New York’s Washington Square Park becomes a victory party Nov. 7 after news spread that Joe Biden had claimed enough electoral votes to win the presidency. With a record number of absentee ballots cast, vote counting continued for days after the election. STEPHANIE KEITH/GETTY IMAGES

‘These are tears of joy’ Biden supporters honk horns, embrace and dance in the streets, while Trump backers insist the election must have been stolen Marco della Cava USA TODAY

In New York, car horns and shouts of joy permeated the air Nov. 7 as news spread that Joe Biden had won the presidency and Kamala Harris would be his vice president, the fi rst woman and the fi rst person of color in that role.

In downtown Chicago, hundreds gathered across from the Trump International Hotel and Tower, hugging, popping champagne and singing “We are the champions.” Meanwhile, in Lansing, Michigan, hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump gathered at the state capitol to denounce the election as rigged. After anxious days fi lled with uncertainty, legal

wrangling, street protests and unfounded claims of widespread vote fraud from the White House, Biden was unoffi cially declared the nation’s next president as the painstaking counting of votes in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska drew to a close. Biden’s supporters hoped the outcome would bring renewed eff orts toward solving some of the nation’s deepest troubles, including racial injustice, immigration reform, climate change and the See REACTION, Page 26


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Reaction Continued from Page 25

deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Some Republican voters resolved to give Biden a chance, while others were not ready to say goodbye to the Trump White House. In the traditionally liberal stronghold of Boulder, Colorado, Marisole Bolanos, 38, listened as a wave of cheers spread among the crowd at a farmer’s market, powered by smartphone alerts. Passing cars honked their horns and people whooped in celebration in a county where Biden took more than 77% of the vote. “These are tears of joy,” Bolanos said, taking a break from ringing up corn tortillas. Bolanos said she’s been frustrated at how Trump scapegoated immigrants like herself. She came to the United States as a 4-year-old and has been a U.S. citizen since college. “I feel like the last four years have given us a lot of division among each other. I hope we can all come together in respect for each other, to respect our diff erences but be a more respectful United States,” she said. “All that promoting hate and blaming things on immigrants? Ugh. It’s a direct attack on who we are.” In Washington, D.C., Jerry Hauser, 52, a nonprofi t organizer, rushed out with his family to a street corner to celebrate with noisemakers and percussion instruments. He hoped the next four years would bring, “an end to the madness, if nothing else.” “It will bring progress on all the issues I care about — climate change, immigration, civil rights, health care – but I think more than anything, end the madness,” he said. Of Harris’ historic election, he added, “It’s a huge day for our country. It’s an amazing thing. It shows who we really are as a people and that we’re better than we’ve been these last four years.”

Onrae Lateal and Tashira Halyard of Washington, D.C., embrace amid a crowd celebrating the election result outside the White House on the evening of Nov. 7. JARRAD HENDERSON/USA TODAY

Trump backers cling to fraud claims Trump supporters, however, were in disbelief over Biden’s victory. In Lansing, Michael Elkins, of Westland, Michigan, wore an American fl ag suit as he joined the protest. He said he suspected election fraud, pointing to a debunked claim that Biden had received 100% of the more than 130,000 votes added when Michigan’s totals were updated. “If Joe Biden won legitimately, I’m OK with that,” Elkin said. “Election integrity is a cornerstone of society that is crumbling away.” In Chicago, Lane Kreisl, 39, came out of the gym high on adrenaline and convinced the election was a fraud despite no evidence to support it. Kreisl, who said he had served one tour in Afghanistan and a double tour in Iraq and now works in construction, said he didn’t vote in 2016 but backed Trump this year. “My biggest thing with

A Trump supporter speaks at a rally in Lansing, Michigan. As the state went to Biden, Republican protesters there called the ballot count fraudulent. ANTRANIK TAVITIAN/DETROIT FREE PRESS

Trump is, he says stuff that maybe is not the most graceful, but he’s been attacked for four years,” he said. “If it is Biden and Harris, I hope they get treat-

ed with more respect than this president did.” Mike Quillen, who owns several restaurants in Sarasota, Florida, said he’s concerned that a shift in the White House will mean higher taxes, more regulations and tougher COVID-19 restrictions on small businesses. “A lot of the policies the Trump administration has done is to help small business, which is the backbone of the country,” Quillen said. “I’m really afraid of a one-size-fi ts-all” approach. In Los Angeles County, Dan Welte, 40, who splits his time between Southern California and New Mexico, said he was disappointed that Trump didn’t win and had lingering concerns about how votes were counted. “I hope it’s a fair election, and I hope President Biden will rule as a person who makes both sides happy,” said Welte, a sales worker who said he is registered as an independent. “Everyone needs to have their voices heard.”

Voices in the streets The news came after a tense week that saw Americans on both sides of the political divide take to the streets. In Michigan and Arizona, Trump supporters converged on vote counting centers with signs and chants that demanded the process be stopped. In Washington, D.C., Biden supporters


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The Nation Reacts

A woman records the celebration outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were preparing to deliver victory speeches. Biden won the popular vote by 7 million votes and appeared to claim 306 Electoral College votes to Donald Trump’s 232. WILLIAM BRETZGER/WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL

staged days of largely peaceful protests near the White House, dancing and setting off fi reworks at nearby Black Lives Matter Plaza. The Electoral College fi ght — with some states decided by fewer than 50,000 votes — highlighted the deeply divided nature of the nation after four years of Republican and Democratic leaders exchanging accusations of corruption and wrongdoing and less than a year after Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Republican-controlled Senate later acquitted Trump on both impeachment articles. When the tension fi nally broke with news of Biden’s win, some took to song. Sitting outside a crepe shop in San Francisco, Carol Fleming, 83, burst into tears when she heard the news. “I’m just so moved, we can have some normalcy again,” she said. She then began singing a rendition of the song “New York, New York.” “Start spreading the news …” she sang. At a busy intersection in the Astoria neighborhood in New York City, a crowd of roughly several hundred people celebrated, with some holding Bi-

den-Harris signs and a few crying. At one point, a brief chant of “lock him up” broke out. For Ceasar Barajas, 45, the result was personal. His aunt in El Paso, Texas, had died two weeks earlier from COVID-19, and the Biden voter was hopeful that the next few years will address systemic problems that result in unequal outcomes in health and criminal justice for people of color. Barajas said the news made him fl ash back to the fi rst time he was “slammed to the ground” by police. At 14, he was skipping school when three white offi cers grabbed him. A Navy veteran, he is a fi rst-generation American from Houston. His parents came to the U.S. from Mexico, he said. “We still have so much work to do,” he said. “But this is the start.” Molly Rose, 32, a New York City native, heard that the race had been called for Biden as she was in her apartment in Astoria. She grabbed a tambourine and ran out to the street to join the crowd. “I hope for a more progressive country,” she said. “Less racism, more science. I want more equality.” Biden’s victory felt unifying, she said. “I feel like I’m on the right side of history.” The United States and its citizens were uniquely

tested this election season. A new civil rights movement sprung up in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May. A pandemic that fl ared in March gathered steam in the fall to render voting even more challenging. And the resulting recession seemed to further galvanize voters. Those physical and fi nancial pressures conspired to drive voting to record levels, with some 100 million casting votes early and largely by mail to avoid contagion and have their voices heard.

How the map shook out Going into Election Day, myriad polls had Biden comfortably ahead of Trump in a number of states. But, as in 2016, Trump upset all predictions of an easy win for Democrats. Biden wound up claiming Rust Belt states that Clinton lost four years ago. Trump took Florida, Texas and Ohio, but he struggled in states such as Arizona, where Latino voters seemingly rejected the president’s stance on immigration and border See REACTION, Page 28


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Reaction Continued from Page 27

security. Votes also eluded Trump in Georgia, thanks to massive get-out-the-vote mobilization eff orts in Black communities, including Atlanta. By and large, rural counties buttressed Trump while urban areas supported Biden. For example, Iowa went solidly for Trump, 53% to 45%, for example, but a glance at the state’s voting pattern map shows a sea of red counties interrupted by a few pockets of powerful blue around the cities of Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Americans remained torn about the results. In Oregon, Malcolm Menefe, a 28-year-old Portland resident, said he did not vote because, as a Black man, he feels both candidates weren’t doing enough for his community. Under Trump’s presidency, he said, racial issues “were put on the front page, fi nally. His actions were called out more.” But he worries that a Biden presidency will be “more of the same, just maybe more under the radar.” But nationwide, Black voters overwhelmingly picked Biden, securing his White House victory. Sonna Singleton Gregory, a county commissioner in her fourth term in Clayton County, Georgia, said, “We are ecstatic to see Joe Biden win.” “We let our voices be heard. This is a big win for Clayton County,” she said. Clayton is a predominantly black suburb in south Atlanta. It was Clayton voters who erased Trump’s initial lead in Georgia with overwhelming support for Biden. In Miami, Rocio Velazquez, a 40-year-old immigrant from Guatemala, spent the week terrifi ed that Trump would somehow pull out a win. Velazquez, a legal immigrant in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, said a Biden presidency will hopefully end — or at least tamp down — the divisiveness that Trump encouraged. “I love that he’s talking about representing all people, including those who didn’t vote for him,” said Velazquez, who works for a nonprofi t that advocates for children’s education and health care. “This gives me hope for a more compassionate country, a more inclusive country.” Her only regret? That the COVID-19 pandemic made it diffi cult to celebrate. “I wish we were in a position where we could have a party,” she said.

Mailed ballots flip the results It was a week of uncertainty. Election night brought hope to Trump’s re-election campaign, as the initial tallies largely refl ected in-person voting, which skewed Republican, in part because Trump lobbied so hard against voting by mail. But it was always clear that votes mailed in weeks ago to avoid polling stations would both lean Democratic and take days to count, in part because some elec-

Biden-Harris supporters wait to hear from the winners at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. JERRY HABRAKEN/WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL

tion offi cials, such as those in Pennsylvania, were not allowed to start counting until Election Day. As that process unfolded, Trump began to see his lead dwindle slowly in states such as Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania — and he immediately called for the count to stop. His unproven claims of election fraud were condemned by politicians on both sides of the aisle even before the president surfaced two days after the election to give a speech outside the White House laced with unfounded charges of corruption and malfeasance. “If you count the legal votes I easily win,” Trump told reporters. Critics decried the president’s speech as an attack on democracy and urged the White House to accept the legal count. “This is getting insane,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., an Air Force veteran who had repeatedly criticized the president for his attacks on the election process. The big three networks — ABC, NBC and CBS — took the unusual step of breaking away from Trump’s 17-minute talk, cutting to anchors who explained why the president’s claims of election fraud were unfounded. Ultimately, Biden won by more than 7 million popular votes. More crucially, he won the Electoral College, surpassing the necessary 270 votes by taking Nevada, Arizona and Pennsylvania. Even so, Trump continued to claim that he’d been cheated, tweeting, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” In the end, some Americans were ready Saturday to simply move on. Frank Pelanek, 41, a career fi refi ghter and paramedic from the suburbs of Chicago, was stopped at a stop sign on his way to get coff ee when his wife read him the news alert from her phone. He said relief washed over him, as much for the Biden win as for having the election fi nally called. “There is nothing Biden can’t fi x in one day with writer’s cramp,” he said. Pelanek is an independent who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and for Barack

Obama in 2008 and 2012. This time, he cast his vote for Biden. “I’ve come to believe that in a more liberal society, I am still free to be conservative, but in a more conservative society, others are not free to be themselves, and that should not be tolerated,” Pelanek said. But his nervous state had not completely subsided. With Trump refusing to concede, Pelanek feared violent outbreaks. In San Diego, Jacqueline Baxter, 35, a stay-athome mom, said she expected Trump to contest the outcome — “He’s probably going to want a recount” — and was worried his most ardent loyalists may not accept the results peacefully. “I’m not sure how violent it could get,” said Baxter, who supported Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

Biden backers feel their joy Biden supporters, meanwhile, moved forward with their celebrations. In Oak Park, Illinois, public relations professional Chevonne Nash, 38, was putting her 3month-old son down for a nap when she got the news of Biden’s win on her phone. She wanted to “jump up and yell in excitement” but didn’t want to wake her son. “I walked out of the room, and I was like – oh my God! ” she said. “I don’t think I was ready for the call to be made for some reason, even though it’s been days. I’m surprised. I’m excited. It’s starting to hit me. It’s starting to sink in.” Nash, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020, said she hoped the new administration would restore “dignity” to the offi ce and focus on improving access to health care and the quality of public education. In Arlington, Virginia, people held Biden-Harris signs and yelled from apartment building balconies as cheers erupted in the streets and cars passed by honking. J.C. Cheng, 32, stopped outside his apartment building on his way to get groceries to take pictures in his Biden-Harris shirt and mask as people celebrated. Cheng, a Taiwanese-American software engineer who led a coalition group for Asian American Pacifi c Islanders for Biden, said he was particularly proud to see Asian American turnout rise. “The anger and the pain that we’ve all felt every time that you got a news notifi cation in the past four years — it’s so much hope that that is coming to an end,” he said. “It was an amazing moment.” Contributing: Trevor Hughes in Boulder, Colorado; Dennis Wagner in San Diego; Mark Johnson in Lansing, Michigan; Chris Woodyard in Los Angeles; Josh Salman in Sarasota, Florida; N’dea Yancey-Bragg in Arlington, Virginia; Jessica Guynn and Elizabeth Weise in San Francisco; Claire Thornton in Washington; Alan Gomez in Miami; Grace Hauck in Chicago; Lindsay Schnell in Portland, Oregon; Ryan Miller and Kevin McCoy in New York; Hollis Towns in Clayton County, Georgia.


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Victory speeches

President-elect Joe Biden delivers his victory address outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 7 after vote counts showed him winning Pennsylvania. That pushed him over the top for the 270 Electoral College votes required for the presidency. JIM LO SCALZO/POOL VIA USA TODAY NETWORK

‘Time to heal in America’ The message of unity that carried Biden through the campaign emerges again in victory speech as he reaches out to opponents Joey Garrison, John Fritze, Savannah Behrmann, Courtney Subramanian and Nicholas Wu USA TODAY

President-elect Joe Biden delivered a celebratory message centered on healing and unity in his fi rst remarks Nov. 7 following a bitter campaign for the presidency. “America has always been shaped by infl ection points, by moments in time we’ve made hard decisions about who we are what we want to be,” Biden

said outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where cheers and the horns of hundreds of cars could be heard between his words. “Folks, we stand at an infl ection point.” His remarks came as Donald Trump continued to contest the results of the cliff hanger election, arguing without evidence that hundreds of thousands of votes were in question. Biden’s address, in addition to setting the tone for his transition and presidency, was a symbol that the Democrat was working to move the nation past the contentious-

ness of the election, and the previous four years. “Folks, the people of this nation have spoken,” Biden said, kicking off his 15-minute victory speech. “They’ve delivered a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for We the People.”

‘Let’s give each other a chance’ Calling it a “time to heal in America,” Biden promised to restore a spirit of civility, decency and compromise to the White House. He said it is part of an election “mandate from the American people,” setting a diff erent tone from the tumultuous See SPEECHES, Page 30


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Speeches

‘Make the promise of the country real’

Continued from Page 29

and divisive presidency of Trump. Biden also made a direct appeal to Trump supporters, some of whom continued to protest outside state capitols and in other locations around the country. “I understand the disappointment,” Biden said empathetically. “I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.” He stuck to his campaign’s core message to the end, telling Americans he will seek to “restore the soul of this nation.” He pledged to be a president who “seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, but only the United States.” “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end — here and now,” Biden said. “The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.”

‘A country of possibilities’ Biden spoke hours after he claimed the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency. Clinching Pennsylvania put him over the top four days after Election Day as offi cials in several states continued to count a record volume of mail-in ballots cast during the coronavirus pandemic. Biden, 78, who will be the oldest president ever, was introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, wearing all white in nod to the suff ragist movement. The fi rst woman elected on a presidential ticket, Harris said she wouldn’t be the last. “Every little girl that’s watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” said Harris, who will also become the fi rst Black vice president and the fi rst of South Asian heritage. “For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet,” said Harris, a U.S. senator from California. “And then you voted. And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency and science and, yes, truth.” She gave a nod to the work that Black women specifi cally have put into this nation’s democracy. Black voters, particularly Black women, helped pushed Biden’s victory in the primary and onto victory to the White House. “Women who fought and sacrifi ced so much for equality and liberty and justice for all,” she said, “including the Black women who are often, too often, overlooked but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.” Biden and Harris will be sworn in Jan. 20. Their

Supporters wait for Biden and Vice Presidentelect Kamala Harris to speak. Pandemic precautions kept many in their cars even as the speeches took place. ROBERT DEUTSCH/USA TODAY

“The American story is about the slow yet steady widening of opportunity. Make no mistake: Too many dreams have been deferred for too long. We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability.” President-elect Joe Biden

victory set off celebrations by supporters in streets and parks across the country, from Washington and New York to Atlanta and San Francisco. Trump returned to the White House on the afternoon of Nov. 7 after playing golf, while thousands celebrated Biden’s victory outside. Biden secured the electoral win one day after the coronavirus pandemic reached an all-time high in daily positive cases and as the economy continued to struggle with high unemployment. Biden said in his speech that the country cannot “repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moment” until the pandemic is under control. “That plan will be built on a bedrock of science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern,” he said. “I will spare no eff ort — or commitment — to turn this pandemic around.”

Biden, who spent 36 years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate and eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, entered the race in 2019 betting that a message of unity would ultimately prevail. He kept that message through a tough primary and the general election. It was a call for decency and to counter the polarization stoked by Trump, who refused to condemn white nationalists, enacted travel bans targeting immigrants from Muslim nations, promised to build a wall at the Mexican border and denied that systemic racism exists. “The American story is about the slow yet steady widening of opportunity,” Biden said. “Make no mistake: Too many dreams have been deferred for too long. We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability.” For Biden, his election is the pinnacle of a long political career. He ran twice for president before, in the 1988 and 2008 campaigns. Neither of those bids garnered much momentum, but he wound up on the ticket as Obama’s running mate in the second. He thought about running for president four years ago but bowed out after his son, Beau Biden, died from brain cancer in 2015.

‘God and history have called on us’ This year’s election, the most unusual in recent history given the constraints of the pandemic, remained in doubt for days because of the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots. Pennsylvania, with 20 crucial electoral votes, was among states that could not begin processing its 2.6 million absentee ballots until Election Day. It meant initial numbers on election night showed Trump ahead before most of the mail-in ballots – which overwhelmingly favored Biden — could be tallied. Biden surpassed Trump in the vote tally on Nov. 6 and continued to build his lead. Biden, who will become the nation’s second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy in the 1960s, concluded his speech by recalling the Catholic hymn “On Eagle’s Wings,” a song he said was important to his family and Beau. “It captures the faith that sustains me, which I believe sustains America. And I hope I can provide some comfort and solace,” he told the crowd before reciting the hymn. “And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn. Make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand.” “And now, together — on eagle’s wings — we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do.” And with that, Biden’s and Harris’ families, led by spouses Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff , joined them on stage. Fireworks above spelled out the winners’ names as Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me” played on loud speakers.


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Victory Speech

Harris points to the women who made it all possible

“Generations of women ... have paved the way for this moment.”

First speech as VP-elect honors those who won the right to vote

Kamala Harris

Rebecca Morin USA TODAY

In her fi rst speech as vice president-elect, Kamala Harris not only invoked the historic nature of her election, but also praised those who came before her and made it all possible. Harris, who walked out to her signature theme, “Work That” by Mary J. Blige, began her speech by referencing John Lewis, a civil rights icon and longtime congressman who died in 2020, and praising American voters. “When our very democracy was on the ballot,” Harris said at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, “you ushered in a new day for America.” Harris is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, making her the fi rst Black woman and the fi rst person of South Asian descent elected on a presidential ticket. She spoke of her mother, who came to the United States at the age of 19, saying she might not have imagined this moment but that she “believed so deeply in a America where a moment like this is possible.” “So I’m thinking about her, and about the generations of women, Black women,” Harris said, pausing as the crowd cheered. “Asian, white, Latina, Native American women, who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight.” Harris highlighted the work that Black women specifi cally have put into American democracy. Black voters, particularly Black women, helped propel Joe Biden to victory in the Democratic primaries and on to the White House. She called out “women who fought and sacrifi ced so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often, too often, overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.” In an apparent homage to early-20th-century suff ragettes, Harris wore a white suit as she talked about the movement that ultimately allowed women to vote — and be on the winning ticket — in this historic election. Last year, members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus wore all white to the State of the Union address to mark 100 years since the ratifi cation of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks at the Chase Center on Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. TASOS KATOPODIS GETTY IMAGES

right to vote. Hillary Clinton also wore a white suit during her acceptance speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And Geraldine Ferraro wore white at the 1984 Democratic National Convention when she accepted the nomination to become the fi rst female candidate for vice president for a major American political party. Harris honored all women “who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a cen-

tury, 100 years ago with the 19th amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now in 2020 with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continue the fi ght for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.” “Tonight I refl ect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been,” she said. “And I stand on their shoulders.”


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Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas and his family came to the United States in 1960 as refugees from Cuba. CAROLYN KASTER/AP

Treasury: Janet Yellen was the fi rst woman to head the Federal Reserve, doing so from 2014 to 2018. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Defense: Lloyd Austin headed U.S. Central Command before retiring as a four-star Army general in 2016. CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

Diverse slate assembled for Cabinet Preliminary roster of top offi cials in the Biden administration include a number of nominees who would be making history Bart Jansen, William Cummings and Savannah Behrmann USA TODAY

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned with a pledge to have a government as diverse as America. After 36 years in the Senate and eight years as vice president, Biden now has an opportunity to tap a broad range of government offi cials and policy experts to lead federal departments. His selections so far refl ect that commitment. Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American, would be the fi rst Latino head of the Department of Homeland Security. Janet Yellen would be the fi rst woman to serve as Treasury secretary. Avril Haines would be the fi rst female director of national intelligence. Pete Buttigieg, his pick for Transportation, would be the fi rst openly gay Cabinet

Secretary to be confi rmed by the Senate. Deb Haaland at the Interior Department would be the fi rst Native American in the Cabinet. And Merrick Garland, who was denied a Senate hearing by Republicans in 2016 when he was nominated for the Supreme Court, will get one this year to be attorney general. Here is a look at who Biden has picked for Cabinet and senior White House staff jobs. Cabinet nominees must be confi rmed by the Senate.

State: Antony Blinken Antony Blinken, 58, held top-level national security and State Department positions during the Obama administration — including as national security adviser to Biden when he was vice president. He worked side-by-side with Biden on for-

eign policy issues as a Senate staff er and administration offi cial for nearly two decades. Biden has called Blinken a “superstar” and once said he could do “any job.” By choosing Blinken for one of the most coveted jobs in the Cabinet, Biden is aiming to install an alter-ego at the helm of the State Department and signaling that he will make foreign policy a priority of his presidency.

Defense: Lloyd Austin Retired Army general Lloyd Austin, 67, would be the fi rst Black secretary of Defense. He was the Army’s vice chief of staff and also led U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in such places as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Austin prefers to work behind the scenes, building by consensus and leading by example. The military has struggled to diversify its senior military ranks. Austin is one of a relatively few Black Army offi cers to have held senior commands in combat units, which is the principal route to the


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The Cabinet highest commands in the military. Austin retired from duty in 2016. Federal law requires a seven-year wait after military retirement before someone can take over as Defense secretary, but Congress can provide a waiver. That happened with Jim Mattis, a former Marine general. Mattis, who had also headed Central Command, retired in 2013 and was confi rmed as Defense secretary in 2017.

Treasury: Janet Yellen Janet Yellen, 74, was the fi rst woman to lead the Federal Reserve and would be the fi rst woman to head the Treasury Department. Yellen became chair of the Federal Reserve System in 2014 during the Obama administration, after serving more than three years as vice governor. She previously served as head of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.

Justice: Merrick Garland Merrick Garland, 68, has been an federal appeals court judge since 1997 and chief judge of the D.C. Circuit since 2013. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated him for an opening on the Supreme Court, but Senate Republicans refused to hold a hearing on the nomination. The GOP argument was that it wouldn’t be appropriate to confi rm a justice in a presidential election year. Four years later, however, they held a hearing on, and approved, a Trump nominee to the high court in a presidential election year.

Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas Alejandro Mayorkas, 61, is a Cuban American lawyer who ran U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before becoming deputy secretary of Homeland Security during the Obama administration. If confi rmed, Mayorkas would be the fi rst Latino to run the department since it was established in 2003.

Transportation: Pete Buttigieg won the most votes in the 2020 Iowa caucuses but dropped out of the race a month later. ROBERT SCHEER/INDYSTAR

Mayorkas, who arrived in the U.S. with his parents as refugees in 1960, would also be the fi rst immigrant to head the department, which is in charge of immigration enforcement and has been at the center of controversy over Trump administration immigration policies.

Interior: Deb Haaland Deb Haaland, 59, would be the fi rst Native American not only to be Interior secretary, but also to hold any Cabinet position. The Department of the Interior includes the Bureau of Indian Aff airs. Haaland is an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna Native American tribe and serves on the House Natural Resources Committee. She was one of the fi rst two Native American women elected to Congress. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House in 2018, Haaland served as chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Before that, she ran for lieutenant governor of the state in 2014.

Energy: Jennifer Granholm Jennifer Granholm, 61, was attorney general of Michigan from 1999 to 2003 and governor from 2003 to 2011. She was the fi rst woman to serve as Michigan’s governor. She made clean energy development a hallmark of her administration. Since leaving offi ce, Granholm has been involved in several initiatives focused on transforming the nation’s energy industry from one focused on fossil fuels to one expanding renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Transportation: Pete Buttigieg Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the choice for Transportation secretary. Buttigieg, 38, who competed against Biden for the Democratic nomination before dropping out and endorsing him, would be the fi rst openly gay Cabinet secretary confi rmed by the Senate.

Energy: Jennifer Granholm made clean energy a hallmark of her administration when she was Michigan’s governor. 2010 PHOTO BY AL GOLDIS/AP

Buttigieg was the nation’s youngest mayor of a city South Bend’s size or larger when he took offi ce in 2012 at age 29. He envisioned his hometown as a “beta city,” the perfect size to use his data-driven background with the consulting fi rm McKinsey to test big ideas. That included the “smart sewers” that saved South Bend an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars and became a template for a product now sold to cities all over the world.

Health and Human Services: Xavier Becerra California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 62, is Biden’s pick for Health and Human Services, a critical appointment amid a global pandemic that has killed more than 350,000 in the U.S. alone. If confi rmed by the Senate, Becerra would be the fi rst Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services, a $1-trillion-plus agency with 80,000 employees and a portfolio that includes drugs and vaccines, leading-edge medical research and health insurance programs covering more than 130 million Americans.

Agriculture: Tom Vilsack Tom Vilsack, 70, served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of Agriculture for eight years and will be nominated to reclaim the role under Biden. The former Iowa governor is a longtime Biden ally and an experienced hand on rural issues, though his nomination has disgruntled some Black lawmakers who expected a Black nominee. Vilsack’s agenda will naturally focus on rural areas, which have seen their economies especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Education: Miguel Cardona Miguel Cardona, 45, is Connecticut’s commissioner of education, with oversight of the state’s public schools. He became the top education offi See CABINET, Page 34

White House chief of staff: Ron Klain was Biden’s chief of staff as vice president and will serve him again as president. JACQUELYN MARTIN/AP


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Climate change envoy: John Kerry has been a senator, secretary of State and presidential candidate. MARK MAKELA GETTY IMAGES

Cabinet Continued from Page 33

cial in Connecticut in 2019 after being an assistant superintendent in the school district in Meriden, which serves nearly 9,000 students. It’s the district Cardona grew up and went to school in, and also where he started his career in education as an elementary school teacher.

Housing and Urban Development: Marcia Fudge Marcia Fudge, 68, has represented Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, which stretches from Cleveland to Akron, since 2008. If confi rmed, she would be the fi fth African American secretary of Housing and Urban Development. HUD will play a critical role in the administration’s economic recovery plans, as the country faces an acute rent and mortgage crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Veterans Affairs: Denis McDonough Denis McDonough, 51, was White House chief of staff in President Barack Obama’s second term and was previously deputy national security adviser, a position he held at the time of the 2011 commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He would be the second non-veteran to head the Department of Veterans Aff airs, after Trump appointee David Shulkin.

EPA: Michael Regan Michael Regan, 45, would be the fi rst Black administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. A former air quality specialist with EPA, he has been serving as head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Budget director: Neera Tanden would be the fi rst woman to head the office that lays out spending plans. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Housing and Urban Development: Marcia Fudge has represented an Ohio district in Congress since 2008. SUSAN WALSH/AP

Biden’s EPA administrator will likely be tasked with rebuilding the agency and reasserting its authority after years of regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration.

for... President Biden. Sullivan also served as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and director of the policy planning staff at the State Department under Hillary Clinton. Sullivan was a lead negotiator during the opening of talks that led to an agreement for Iran to halt its nuclear weapons development. The Trump administration later pulled out of the agreement, and Biden hopes to revive it.

White House chief of staff: Ron Klain Ron Klain, 59, was a senior adviser to the Biden campaign. He served as chief of staff to Biden for two years when he was vice president and earlier did the same for Vice President Al Gore. He headed the White House response to the Ebola epidemic in Africa during the Obama administration. A close confi dant of Biden, Klain had long been rumored for the post even before the election.

UN ambassador: Linda Thomas-Greenfi eld Linda Thomas-Greenfi eld, 68, was the top U.S. diplomat overseeing African aff airs in the Obama administration. Her nomination would elevate a Black woman and career foreign service offi cial to the high-profi le position. She would bring a markedly diff erent tone and presence to the international body, which the Trump administration has derided and denigrated.

Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines Avril Haines, 51, a former deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser, would be the fi rst woman to lead the U.S. intelligence community as the director of national intelligence. Haines has worked directly with Biden before, serving as deputy chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2007 to 2008 when Biden was the committee’s chairman.

National security adviser: Jake Sullivan Jake Sullivan, 44, was national security adviser to Vice President Biden and would reprise the role

White House press secretary: Jen Psaki Jen Psaki, 42, will head a White House communications team made up of all women. Psaki wore many hats in the Obama administration, including White House communications director and State Department spokesperson, and has overseen the confi rmation team for Biden’s transition. As press secretary, Psaki will become one of the most public faces of the Biden administration.

Chief medical adviser: Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci, 80, has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and, as such, has been the most prominent public health offi cial during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has endured sometimes withering criticism from Trump administration offi cials and allies for his push for a robust response. He has advised every president since Ronald Reagan. Biden also asked Fauci to serve on his COVID-19 task force. When asked on NBC’s “Today“ show whether he had told Biden that he would serve as his chief medical adviser, Fauci said, “Oh, absolutely. I said yes right on the spot.”

Climate change envoy: John Kerry John Kerry, 77, played a key role in crafting the Paris Climate Accord as secretary of State and signed the eventual agreement. Before serving as secretary of State, Kerry was a


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The Cabinet fi ve-term senator from Massachusetts and was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004. The Paris accord was another international agreement that the Obama administration signed, that the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of and that Biden hopes to rejoin.

Budget director: Neera Tanden Neera Tanden, 50, would be the fi rst woman and fi rst person of South Asian descent to head the Offi ce of Management and Budget, which not only maps the president’s spending blueprint but also serves as a key gatekeeper by reviewing government regulations for their fi nancial impact. Some progressive Democrats objected to Tanden’s nomination as did numerous Republican senators who objected to her history of combative tweets.

Surgeon general: Vivek Murthy Vivek Murthy, 43, served as surgeon general during the last three years of the Obama administration and would return to the role under Biden. As surgeon general from 2014 to 2017, Murthy helped lead the U.S. response to the Zika and Ebola outbreaks and he worked to address the opioid crisis. Murthy also helped bring attention to the health consequences of stress and loneliness, an issue that gained prominence in 2020 as local governments impose restrictions in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

CDC director: Rochelle Walensky

U.S. trade representative: Katherine Tai Katherine Tai has been tapped to be the nation’s top negotiator on trade. Tai is chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, where she was integral in the Trump administration’s negotiation of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, winning several concessions for congressional Democrats. Tai would be the fi rst Asian American and the fi rst woman of color in the role. Tai previously directed China trade enforcement for the Offi ce of the U.S. Trade Representative and is expected to be integral in crafting trade policy toward China.

White House Domestic Policy Council: Susan Rice Susan Rice, 56, is a seasoned diplomat with extensive foreign policy and national security experience and was considered a top contender to be secretary of State. She doesn’t have formal domestic policy experience. Rice served as ambassador to the United Nations and then White House national security adviser in the Obama administration.

Key positions not yet fi lled As of press time, Biden hadn’t yet announced selections for these Cabinet-level posts, although a number of contenders have emerged for each: h Commerce secretary. h Labor secretary. h Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Rochelle Walensky, head of the infectious diseases division at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Harvard Medical School professor, is Biden’s choice as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walensky is best known for her work on the national and international response to HIV/AIDS.

Other White House staffers

Agriculture: Tom Vilsack headed the USDA for eight years under Obama and has been tapped to return to the job under Biden. JUSTIN HAYWORTH/AP

U.S. trade representative: Katherine Tai is expected to be integral in crafting American trade policy toward China. SUSAN WALSH/AP

Biden and Harris have named a number of other staff ers to serve in the incoming administration: h Dana Remus, White House counsel. h Cedric Richmond, senior adviser and director of the White House Offi ce of Public Engagement.

h Kate Bedingfi eld, White House communications director. h Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president. h Jen O’Malley Dillon, deputy chief of staff . h Louisa Terrell, director of White House Offi ce of Legislative Aff airs. h Reema Dodin, deputy director of the Offi ce of Legislative Aff airs. h Shuwanza Goff , deputy director of the Offi ce of Legislative Aff airs. h Cathy Russell, director of the White House Offi ce of Presidential Personnel. h Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director. h Mike Donilon, senior adviser to the president. h Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary. h Julie Rodriguez, director of the White House Offi ce of Intergovernmental Aff airs. h Hartina Flournoy, chief of staff to the vice president. h Ashley Etienne, communications director to the vice president.

Other senior administration officials Health team: h Marcella Nunez-Smith, COVID-19 equity task force chairwoman. h Jeff Zients, COVID-19 response coordinator. h Natalie Quillian, deputy COVID-19 response coordinator. Economics team: h Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. h Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the Treasury. h Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council. Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Kevin Johnson, Deirdre Shesgreen, Savannah Behrmann, Rebecca Morin and Tom Vanden Brook, Jeanine Santucci

Domestic Policy Council: Susan Rice had been seen as a leading candidate for secretary of State. CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

The Inauguration of the 46th President

Jill Biden continued teaching while her husband was vice president, and she plans to do the same as fi rst lady. TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT

Jill Biden ready to go back to work Incoming fi rst lady plans to keep her day job Maria Puente USA TODAY

The fi rst thing to know about Jill Biden — a college professor with four degrees, including a doctorate — is that she is going to be a very busy fi rst lady, since she plans to keep her day job after moving into the White House. After all, she continued teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College during the eight years her husband was vice president. Her plan to pursue her career and keep a paying job sets her apart from her predecessors in the 232-year history of presidential spouses. “She will really be bringing the role of fi rst lady into the 21st century,” says Katherine Jellison, a history professor at Ohio University and recognized expert on fi rst ladies. Jellison notes that no previous wife of a president has been “allowed” to be like most modern American women, with both a work life and a family life.

“Americans have historically wanted their fi rst ladies to be in the White House and at the president’s side whenever possible,” Jellison says. “The winds of change are blowing because the country keeps moving; this was bound to happen,” says Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to former fi rst lady Laura Bush and an assistant to President George W. Bush, and now runs the Legacies of America’s First Ladies Initiative at American University’s School of Public Aff airs.

A professorial calm There’s another thing to know about Jill Biden, and about Joe Biden: They project serenity, which turned out to be a vital quality in the 2020 election. The Bidens come to the White House after a tight election and a slow vote count (due to the huge number of pandemic-inspired mail-in ballots), made even more tense by the angry public rantings of the incumbent president, who tried to

stop the vote counts, fi led lawsuits in multiple states, shouted unfounded allegations about fraud and hinted that he might not accept the results. Throughout, both Bidens remained calm and pressed for everyone else to do the same. It’s likely to be the same once Jill Biden takes up the role of fi rst lady. Considering her profession, you can count on education being at the top of Biden’s fi rst-lady agenda, along with advocating for military families and cancer awareness (son Beau Biden, an Army veteran, died of brain cancer in 2015), all of which she pursued as second lady. “The beauty of (being fi rst lady) is that you can defi ne it however you want,” she told Vogue in July 2019. “And that’s what I did as second lady — I defi ned that role the way I wanted it to be. I would still work on all the same issues.” But fi rst lady is a higher-level job in terms of attention and pressure. Can she really do it all? “I would love to. If we get to the White House, I’m going to continue to teach,” she said in an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning” in August. “I want people to value teachers and know their con-


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The First Lady • Jill Biden tion of their lives and values,” Biden has said of the role of a presidential spouse. “She should respond to the interests and concerns of today’s American women, who are mothers, spouses and wage earners and struggling to balance all three. I think they will identify with a fi rst lady who also is trying to balance all three roles.” McBride and Andersen Brower say Biden is more prepared to be fi rst lady than most of her recent predecessors, with the exception of Barbara Bush and her daughter-in-law, Laura Bush. “The amount of time of exposure to this world, eight years (as second lady) plus his (36) years in the U.S. Senate, makes her uniquely equipped to handle the job, and to balance teaching with the opportunity to change people’s lives with this major megaphone,” Andersen Brower says. McBride says: “I think she will fi gure out a way to make it work. It’s not without its heavy demands. I think her experience will make it easier to transition to a working (fi rst lady).” The Bidens share a moment in Dubuque, Iowa, on Jan. 3, 2008. Joe Biden quit the race after fi nishing fi fth in the Iowa caucuses that day but later became Barack Obama’s running mate. MARK HIRSCH/AP

tributions and to lift up the profession.” She took a leave of absence from teaching this year as she campaigned for her husband. “He’s always supported my career,” she told CNN in January. “And this is a critical time for me to support him because, you know, I want change.” She has strongly defended her husband and family. When asked about the personal attacks by Trump and his media allies on son Hunter Biden, 50, she told “The View” hosts that their tactics were mere “distractions.”

A career in education Biden, 69, has a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate of education from the University of Delaware, which she earned in 2007 under her maiden name, Jill Jacobs. Biden was the fi rst vice-presidential spouse to have a paying non-political, non-legal, outsidethe-Beltway job while serving. Her predecessor in the role, Lynne Cheney, worked, too (and still works), as a senior fellow at a Washington think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. Karen Pence, wife of Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s vice president, also teaches. Biden signaled how much she values her career as an educator when she gave her national convention speech remotely this summer. She delivered it while standing in the empty classroom where she taught English at Brandywine High School in Wilminton, Delaware, the early 1990s. “Teaching is not what I do. It’s who I am,” Biden said. “She has said on the campaign trail she has every intention of doing it,” says Kate Andersen Brower, a journalist and author of the book “First Women,” about modern fi rst ladies.

Joe Biden with sons Beau, left, and Hunter and future wife Jill in the mid-1970s. Jill “gave me back my life” after the death of his fi rst wife, Joe Biden wrote in his 2007 memoir. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

But another fi rst-lady expert, Betty Boyd Caroli, author of multiple White House-related books, including “First Ladies,” has her doubts about whether it’s feasible. “Eleanor Roosevelt thought she could combine the two jobs but soon found out she could not, and the job of FLOTUS has grown a lot since she left the White House” in 1945,” Caroli says. (FLOTUS is an abbreviation for “fi rst lady of the United States.”) Biden has the experience to make a good try. She’s hardly the fi rst second lady to move up to fi rst lady (the most recent was Barbara Bush), but she has the advantage of bonding and working closely with “her” fi rst lady, Michelle Obama. “Jill Biden gives every indication she will be a very activist FLOTUS, following the example of Lady Bird Johnson and others; she’s been thinking about it for a long time,” Caroli says. “That is to make Americans feel proud of their fi rst lady as someone who is in some way a refl ec-

How the Bidens met Jill Jacobs was born in Hammonton, New Jersey, and raised in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. She got married after graduating from high school, but she and her fi rst husband, Bill Stevenson, had drifted apart by their junior year at the University of Delaware. They were separated and about to be divorced when she met Joe Biden n 1975. At the time, Joe Biden was a fi rst-term U.S. senator and a widower. His wife, Neilia, and baby daughter Naomi had died two years earlier in a car accident that left Beau and Hunter injured. According to the story, the young senator saw Jill’s picture in an ad — she did a little local modeling — and sought her out. It took fi ve proposals before she agreed to marry him. (She wanted to be sure; she didn’t want Beau and Hunter to lose another mother). The couple married in 1977 and had a daughter, Ashley, in 1981. They now have fi ve grandchildren, ages 25 to 14. Both Bidens are devoted to the “Cancer Moonshot” program, launched by President Barack Obama “to end cancer as we know it.” Their interest isn’t just due to Beau’s death at age 46; both of Jill Biden’s parents died of cancer. So if Biden carries out the role of fi rst lady with the twist of pursuing her career, she has already demonstrated qualities prized for the “traditional” part of the job and for what has long been assumed to be the fi rst lady’s No. 1 responsibility: humanizing her husband and promoting his agenda. Myra Gutin, a fi rst-lady historian and professor of communication at Rider University in New Jersey, says that a press secretary for former fi rst lady Betty Ford wrote years ago that the fi rst lady can provide a window into the White House. “From this window, we can develop a sense of the character of the president and his family,” Gutin says. She predicts Biden will use her White House podium to provide those insights and “make life a little better for Americans.”


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

The Inauguration of the 46th President

The fi rst ‘second gentleman’: Meet Harris’ husband Emhoff Jeanine Santucci USA TODAY

With Kamala Harris’ historic election as vice president comes another historic role for her husband, Doug Emhoff . He’ll become the country’s fi rst “second gentleman” when Harris is sworn in as vice president Jan. 20. Emhoff will be the fi rst male spouse of any vice president or president, and he played a big role in the campaign for Joe Biden’s presidency. Here’s what to know about Emhoff :

He’s an entertainment lawyer Emhoff , 56, is an entertainment lawyer and former partner with the fi rm DLA Piper. He took a leave of absence from the fi rm after Harris joined Biden’s ticket so he could focus on the campaign, he said. He will be joining the faculty at Georgetown Law School later in January. He’s handled cases involving production companies, a former NFL athlete and a sports nutrition company, among others, according to the fi rm. The case he may be most noted for is his successful defense of an advertising agency in a dispute over the rights to the chihuahua that starred in the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” ads in the 1990s. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he moved with his family to Southern California from New Jersey as a teenager. He graduated from California State University at Northridge in 1987 and went on to the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, where he got his law degree in 1990. He said during a “Lawyers for Biden” event that he would focus on “access to justice” as an issue while he’s second gentleman. He recalled being shocked, as a young lawyer going to Los Angeles’ Superior Court, by all the people lining the halls in need of legal help.

He and Harris met on a blind date The story of how Harris met her husband begins with a blind date. A client of Emhoff ’s and a friend of Harris’ set them up in 2013, when Harris was California attorney general. She would be elected to the Senate four years later. Ahead of their date, Emhoff called and left a long voicemail that Harris replays to him on their anniversaries. “We’ve been together ever since,” Emhoff said in a YouTube conversation with Chasten Buttigieg, the spouse of former Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg. Harris and Emhoff married in 2014 in a court-

house ceremony in Santa Barbara, California. “We met, fell madly in love (still are), got married and continue to live very happily ever after,” he tweeted early last year. “I love my husband. He is funny, he is kind, he is patient, he loves my cooking. He’s just a really great guy,” Harris told NowThis in an interview.

He has two adult children

Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, onstage at the Democratic National Convention in August. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Emhoff shares two children, Cole and Ella, with his fi rst wife, Kerstin Emhoff , a fi lm producer. The two children are named after jazz legends John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald. Cole, 26, and Ella, 21, are known to call their stepmother “Mamala.” “To my brother and me, you’ll always be ‘Mamala,’ the world’s greatest stepmom,” Ella said in a video introducing Harris at the Democratic National Convention, which was held virtually. “You’re a rock, not just for our dad, but for three generations of our big, blended family.” Kerstin, Emhoff ’s fi rst wife, has been supportive of Harris from the start, and even volunteered her expertise when Harris herself was running for the Democratic nomination in the primaries, she told Marie Claire. “We are friends,” Harris said of her relationship with Kerstin Emhoff . “We have a very modern family.”

He was busy in the campaign Emhoff and Jill Biden were prominent faces for the campaign who traveled to key states. When the candidates themselves couldn’t be in all the battleground states at once, their spouses stepped in to stump for them. The day after Harris delivered her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Emhoff made his fi rst full public remarks to an LGBTQ Caucus virtual meeting at the convention. Soon after, Emhoff was headlining a fundraiser with James Taylor, and the fundraisers and events continued at a steady pace. Emhoff also took part in events with Jewish Americans to help campaign for Biden, and he’ll be the fi rst Jewish person in the role of vice presidential spouse. Emhoff has been a vocal presence on social media in support of his wife, from her presidential bid through to her and Biden’s victory. “I’ve got you. As always,” he said in a tweet that went viral shortly after she suspended her primary campaign. Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Rebecca Morin

Emhoff rallies supporters in Philadelphia on Nov. 2, the day before the election. Pennsylvania would prove pivotal. MARK MAKELA/GETTY IMAGES

Emhoff takes a selfi e with Harris before she spoke at the Iowa State Fair in August 2019. ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES


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