Joe Biden inaugurated 13 presidents in his lifetime, but his own swearing-in will be very different.
At noon on January 20, when Biden takes the oath of office, he is not cheered on by thousands of well-wishers, marched in a parade or accompanied by the outgoing president. His inauguration will be a hushed affair reflecting the severity of security threats following the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the pandemic in the country.
Biden will continue to take the oath at the Capitol, accompanied by socially distant members of the military, and his opening committee has planned a series of virtual events. These events, which begin at 10 a.m.CET, will be broadcast live on the Biden team's official channels, broadcast on multiple cable networks, and available on various other platforms such as Twitch and Facebook. Vox will also stream the event here:
Still, officials are preventing people from traveling to DC for the ceremony. According to CNN, escalating security concerns forced Biden to change his plans: he will no longer take the train from Wilmington, DE to Washington, DC, a journey he made for years in the Senate.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam jointly urged Americans not to come to DC for the inauguration: “Due to the special circumstances of the 59th Inauguration of the President , including last week's violent uprising and in the face of the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington DC and instead participate virtually. "
President Donald Trump has made it clear that at 152 years of age, he will break tradition if he refuses to attend his successor's inauguration. Typically an outgoing president invites the president-elect to the White House before the housewarming ceremony, but that won't happen either. Instead, Trump will hold a departure ceremony on the morning of the inauguration at Joint Base Andrews, according to NPR, after which he is expected to fly straight to his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. However, Vice President Mike Pence reportedly plans to attend Biden's inauguration.
On a show of unity – the first theme is "America United" – former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will accompany Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery shortly after Biden and Harris took the oath of office. The only other former president still alive and absent from attendance is Jimmy Carter, 96, who will skip the event for the first time since his inauguration in 1977.
If you want to participate from home, here's what awaits you for the rest of the week.
How to watch the ceremony and opening events
There are several ways to follow the initiation and the events associated with it. In addition to the live stream from Vox, you can also watch the official channels of the Biden team as well as one of the social media channels of the YouTube team: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch.
When you watch TV on your TV, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC and PBS will broadcast it live. More details on accessible viewing options that the committee has compiled here.
Here you will find an overview of the events on Tuesday, January 19th.
Nationwide Covid-19 Memorial, around 5:30 p.m. ET
The inaugural committee is hosting a ceremony where congregations across the country light buildings and ring church bells to honor the now 400,000 American lives lost to Covid-19. In Washington, DC, the event will be illuminated around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Inaugural Balls, around 7-11pm ET
In place of the traditional personal opening balls on Wednesday night, the Biden team hosted virtual balls on Tuesday highlighting America's multiculturalism, including an AAPI opening ball, a Latino opening event, and We Are One, an event focused on black communities and the African diaspora concentrated. Well-known personalities from the respective communities are represented at all these events, including former Olympian Michelle Kwan, Kumail Nanjiani, Edward James Olmos, Emilio Estefan, Tobe Nwigwe and various political leaders.
Here you will find an overview of the events on Wednesday 20th January.
Counter-programmed farewell to President Donald Trump around 8 a.m. CET
In addition to skipping Biden's inauguration, Trump will host his own event at Joint Andrews Base, Maryland. Details are still up in the air, but invitations have been sent out giving each guest a plus of five – possibly an indication that Trump is worried about his own crowd. CNN has reported that for logistical reasons, Pence is not expected to join Trump on this farewell. The relationship has deteriorated, however, as the President publicly accused Pence of refusing to contest Biden's electoral votes – a power that Pence allegedly did not have.
Virtual opening prayer service for the President, around 10 a.m. CET
The public day of the elected President Biden begins with A virtual opening presidential prayer service at Washington National Cathedral. It will include worship from interfaith leaders as well as artists and other voices: Bishop William J. Barber II will preach, and Josh Groban, Patti LaBelle and the Clarke Sisters will perform. Biden is accompanied by the congressional leadership: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Minority House Chairman Kevin McCarthy.
Opening ceremonies, reporting begins at 10:30 am ET
At the inauguration, Lady Gaga will perform the national anthem Jennifer Lopez with a traditional performance and a poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, who recently made history as the first national youth poet to win an award. The invocation is given by Leo J. O & # 39; Donovan, a Catholic priest of the American Jesuits, and the blessing of the Reverend Dr. Beaman, pastor of Bethel African Methodists Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware – both faith leaders are long-time friends of the Biden family.
Biden will take his oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, and Harris will take hers from the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Post-opening events, around 2 p.m. ET
After the inauguration, the Bidens, the Harris family, and the Obamas, the Bushes, and the Clintons will lay wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery. Then the traditional “pass in review” will take place on the eastern front of the Capitol Building, reflecting the transfer of power to a new commander in chief. Biden is then escorted to the White House alongside each branch of the military.
At this point there would normally be a presidential parade; Instead, the opening committee has planned a virtual parade across America, modeled on the Democratic National Committee's virtual appeal last summer. The host is actor Tony Goldwyn with Jon Stewart, New Radicals and Earth Wind & Fire.
"Celebrating America," primetime special, 8:30 pm ET
The opening activities will end with a “Celebrating America” special hosted by actors Tom Hanks, Biden and Harris. In addition to appearances by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chef José Andrés, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend and Eva, comments are made, including Longoria, Demi Lovato, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Kerry Washington.
Also on the program are ordinary Americans such as a UPS driver, a child who set up a pantry for groceries and staples in their community, a kindergarten teacher, and the first American to receive a Covid-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial.
The Capitol on January 18 before a dress rehearsal for the inauguration.
Patrick Semansky / Getty Images
What can you expect from the events?
During his campaign and transition, Biden made it very clear that he wanted to focus on the two issues of American unity and “Build Back Better”, his campaign slogan.
He recently released a $ 1.9 trillion relief plan that, according to Vox's Emily Stewart, "is a big deal … more than double the US $ 800 billion reconstruction and reinvestment law." that the Democrats passed in 2009 after the great recession. " Biden has signaled a desire to take advantage of historically low interest rates to revitalize the economy by spending heavily at the start of his tenure. Encouraging Congress to respond quickly to his proposal could play a big role in his remarks, especially as the impeachment process against Trump threatens to overshadow his priorities.
"To be honest, I think President-elect Biden did exactly what he had to do, which is to be president," Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) told Vox. "I think one of the most important ways to unite our country right now is to tackle the pandemic, which is worsening as we all focus on the uprising last week."
Biden has undoubtedly made Covid-19 and its tribute a focus of its inaugural activities. On Tuesday, he held a Nationwide Covid-19 Memorial to “remember and honor the lives Covid-19 has lost in cities across the country”.
It is still a question of how many lawmakers will attend the inauguration (either for political reasons, concerns about the transmission of Covid-19, or the risk of further attack), but several lawmakers Vox has spoken to said they would be there. The presence of up to 25,000 National Guard troops is likely to allay fears of at least the third consideration.
"That's why I definitely want to be here and recognize the peaceful transfer of power," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to Vox. Sens. Ted Cruz, Roger Marshall, Josh Hawley and Tommy Tuberville, who all protested the legitimacy of some of Biden's electoral college votes at the Capitol last week, will all be in attendance, according to reports from Fox. The GOP leadership of the House and Senate has also confirmed they will be in attendance.
Democrats had to seriously expand their virtual hosting chops over the past year – they gave up lots of personal campaigns for security reasons (to uncertain success) and hosted a virtual convention (to much more certain success).
"We are modeling our inauguration after our national convention," Jim Clyburn (D-SC) told Vox. "We hired the same people to put this together, to put this together. It was very effective, I thought. The virtual appeal worked famously and people loved it."
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