dpa/GNA – President-elect Joe Biden gave an emotional speech on Tuesday where he fought back tears as he commemorated his deceased son and gave thanks to his home state of Delaware.
“I only have one regret, that he’s not here,” Biden said, referring to his son Beau, a former state attorney general who died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46. “Because we should be introducing him as president.”
Biden choked up during the speech in Delaware, the state Biden represented as a senator for over three decades.
“Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart,” the 78-year-old Biden added.
The speech was a send-off event for Biden as he heads to Washington to be inaugurated as the 46th president on Wednesday.
Biden has long been known as a politician open to displays of emotion, especially after multiple family tragedies. His penchant for self-reflective and sometime tearful rhetoric stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, whose speeches are best known for fiery attacks on the media and political opponents.
Meanwhile, in his first extended remarks in weeks, outgoing President Trump said he will pray for the new administration’s success in a videotaped farewell speech.
“This week we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” Trump said in the nearly 20-minute video. “We also want them to have luck.”
While Trump’s address was a seemingly rare gesture of goodwill towards his successor, Trump did not name Biden once.
Trump has not conceded defeat in the November presidential election and his unfounded claims of voter fraud spurred on his supporters to storm the US Capitol in a deadly attack earlier this month.
“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol,” Trump said in the video, adding that political violence “can never be tolerated.”
He also used the address to tout his administration’s achievements, such as tax cuts, border security measures and foreign policy moves.
“The world respects us again, please don’t lose that respect,” Trump urged the next White House.
“As I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning – there’s never been anything like it,” he said.
Wednesday’s inauguration has been beset by security concerns after supporters of the outgoing president attacked the Capitol building earlier this month. Over 25,000 troops in the National Guard have been deployed to the capital city.
The US National Guard pulled 12 soldiers from the effort to secure Biden’s inauguration, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Tuesday.
Hoffman said that two of the 12 were removed from duty for “inappropriate comments or texts” without providing details on the content of those communications. The other soldiers were flagged during the vetting process for reasons “unrelated” to securing the inauguration.
“We’re out of an abundance of caution taking action and immediately removing them from the line of duty at the Capitol,” Hoffman said on Tuesday.
US Army General Daniel Hokanson said there are over 25,000 National Guard troops working to secure the inauguration in the nation’s capital, which has been on high alert since the January 6 mob attack on Congress.
The fears included potential insider threats from Guard members holding extremist views, although Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said Monday there was “no intelligence indicating” any such danger.
Areas around downtown Washington, including the National Mall, are completely shut down. Fences have been erected, cement blocks laid down and heavy trucks are being used to block traffic along main streets of the capital.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence will not be attending a planned send-off event for Trump’s departure from Washington on Wednesday, according to an official schedule released Tuesday.
While Pence is attending the inauguration event, Trump will be the first president in over 150 years to buck tradition and not attend the inauguration of his successor