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Inauguration of Joe Biden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Presidential inauguration of
Joe Biden
Bidenharrisinaugural.png
DateJanuary 20, 2021 (2021-01-20)
LocationUnited States Capitol,
Washington, D.C.
Organized byJoint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Inaugural Committee
ParticipantsJoe Biden
46th President of the United States
— Assuming office

John Roberts
Chief Justice of the United States
— Administering oath

Kamala Harris
49th Vice President of the United States
— Assuming office

TBA
— Administering oath
Biden inaugural logo.png

2017
2025 →

The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States will mark the commencement of the four-year term of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president. A public ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, January 20, 2021, on the West Front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The event will be the 59th presidential inauguration. Biden will take the oath of office as president on that day, and Harris will take the oath of office as vice president.

The inauguration will take place during extraordinary political, health, economic, and national security crises, including outgoing President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election, which incited a storming of the Capitol, an attempt to remove Trump prematurely, which led to his historic second impeachment, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Festivities will be limited to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.[1][2] The live audience will be limited to members of the 117th United States Congress and, for each, one guest of their choosing, resembling a State of the Union address.[3] Public health measures such as mandatory face coverings, testing, temperature checks, and social distancing will be used to protect participants in the ceremony.[4]

"Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union"—a reference to the Preamble to the United States Constitution—and "America United" will serve as the inaugural themes.[5]

Context

The inauguration will mark the formal culmination of the presidential transition of Joe Biden that began when he won the U.S. presidential election on November 3, 2020, and became the president-elect four days later on November 7, 2020.[6] Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, were confirmed by the Electoral College on December 14, 2020.[7] Trump, who continued to dispute the legitimacy of the election without proof but committed to an "orderly transition" of power exactly two months after losing, will not attend the ceremony—the first time a losing incumbent will do so since Andrew Johnson skipped the 1869 inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant.[8][9][10] This will be the fourth time in United States history a departing president would refuse to attend their successor's inauguration.[9][11]

Upon his inauguration, Biden will become the oldest president at 78 years and 61 days, older upon taking office than Ronald Reagan, who left office at 77 years, 349 days. He will also become the first president from Delaware (although he was born in Pennsylvania), the second Catholic after John F. Kennedy, and the fifteenth former vice president to serve as president.[12][13][14][15] Harris will become the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American vice president.[16]

Planning

Construction of the inaugural platform at the United States Capitol
Construction of the inaugural platform at the United States Capitol

The Capitol Police Board has restricted public access to the West Front of the United States Capitol from September 7, 2020, to February 28, 2021, to "allow for the safe and secure construction of the Inaugural platform, stands, and other infrastructure necessary to support the event."[17] Construction began on September 29, 2020.[18] An inaugural first nail ceremony, which traditionally commemorates the start of construction of the inaugural platform, was not held because it “coincided with the period of remembrance for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”[19]

Joint Congressional Committee

The swearing-in ceremony and the inaugural luncheon for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris is being planned by the Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a bipartisan committee composed of United States Senators Roy Blunt (chairman), Mitch McConnell, and Amy Klobuchar (whom Biden ran against in the 2020 Democratic primaries), and United States Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Kevin McCarthy.[20] The committee, overseen by the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, chose the inaugural theme "Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union" to highlight the inaugural ceremony as a "hallmark of American governance and democracy" and stress the peaceful transition of power.[5]

On December 8, 2020, Republican members of the committee voted against a resolution that would have publicly recognized Biden as the president-elect and Harris as the vice president-elect, which Blunt explained was to avoid having the committee interfere with the ongoing electoral process.[21] After Biden's win was certified by the Electoral College, Blunt and several other Republican senators finally acknowledged him as the president-elect, stating that he will facilitate communications with Biden's presidential inaugural committee to "plan for the swearing-in ceremony."[22]

Presidential Inaugural Committee

The 2021 Presidential Inaugural Committee will organize several other inauguration‑related events at the direction of the President‑elect and Vice President‑elect of the United States.[23] The committee is led by Jim Clyburn, Eric Garcetti, Cedric Richmond, Lisa Blunt Rochester, and Gretchen Whitmer (co-chairs), Tony Allen (chief executive officer), Maju Varghese (executive director), Yvanna Cancela and Erin Wilson (deputy executive directors), David A. Kessler (chief medical adviser), and Adrienne Elrod (director of talent and external affairs). Allen stated that the events will "look different amid the pandemic" but maintain inaugural traditions while engaging Americans in a safe manner.[24][25] The committee's inaugural theme, "America United", was announced following the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building.[26] The committee's official YouTube and other social media will feature exclusive content related to the inaugural ceremonies.

Security and costs

Compared to past inaugurations, the drastic reduction in crowd size at Biden's inauguration is expected to reduce construction costs.[27] In September 2020, prior to implementing attendance restrictions, costs were estimated to exceed US$44.9 million, with the District of Columbia's costs incurred in connection with the inauguration being reimbursed by the federal government.[28] However, the storming of the United States Capitol, along with threats of nationwide political unrest on Inauguration Day and the days preceding it, has significantly increased the need for security.[27] The inauguration—and week preceding it—has been designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE).[29]

Storming of the United States Capitol

The inaugural platform occupied by pro-Trump demonstrators
The inaugural platform occupied by pro-Trump demonstrators

The storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 raised serious questions about the security of the inauguration; on January 8, the United States Secret Service (USSS), which will provide additional security, released a statement asserting that the inaugural ceremony will be secure.[30] Security preparations for the 2021 inauguration began after the previous ceremony in 2017.[30]

Following the storming of the Capitol, "non-scalable" seven foot-high crowd control barriers were installed around the perimeter of the Capitol grounds to prevent disruptions during the inaugural ceremony.[31] Additionally, tens of thousands of armed National Guardsmen—from nearly every U.S. state—will be deployed to secure the Capitol grounds, a level of security not seen since the September 11 attacks.[32][33][34] On January 11, 2021, Trump approved a request for an emergency declaration in Washington, D.C., allowing federal assistance through FEMA to help secure the inauguration.[35] Thousands of troops arrived a week before the ceremony and occupied the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.[34][36] Following calls[37] to hold his inauguration in private, Biden stated that he is "not afraid" of taking the oath publicly as originally planned, citing confidence in the Capitol's security.[38]

Pre-inaugural events

Train ride

Biden originally planned to travel to Washington, D.C. from Wilmington, Delaware on a passenger train, which he routinely took during his time as a U.S. Senator—earning him the nickname "Amtrak Joe".[39] However, this plan was scrapped due to security concerns on January 13.[40]

Biden, as vice president-elect in 2009, joined then President-elect Barack Obama on a similar inaugural train ride during their first inauguration. On January 20, 2017, after completing his tenure as vice president, Biden departed Washington, D.C. on an Amtrak Acela train bound for his namesake station in Wilmington, Delaware.[41]

Lincoln Memorial lighting

Inaugural organizers are inviting communities around the United States to light buildings and ring church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET on the eve of the inauguration in a moment of "unity and remembrance" for those lost to the pandemic.[42] A lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool will be held simultaneously.[42]

National Day of Service

Two days before Inauguration Day, January 18, 2021, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday that recognizes Dr. King's birthday. Biden and his inaugural committee encourage Americans to engage in acts of community service on that day and plan to co-organize events that focus on improving people's economic, health, and social well-being.[43]

Inaugural events

COVID-19 public health measures

Clyburn, a co-chair on the inaugural committee, stated that most traditional inaugural festivities will be conducted virtually, primarily modeled after the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[44] Biden and his inaugural committee are corresponding with U.S. House and Senate leadership and public health experts on details pertaining to the event's attendance.[45] The ceremony will take place outdoors on the West Front of the United States Capitol (the site of every inauguration since 1981).[46] While members of Congress, in previous years, would receive 200,000 tickets to distribute among constituents, on this occasion, each member will be allotted one guest ticket. Only around 3,000 people are expected to be permitted on the Capitol grounds.[47] The decision was made by the Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies based on consultation with public health experts.[3][48]

Field of Flags

Across the National Mall, an art display of "191,500 U.S. flags and 56 pillars of light" will be installed, representing those who could not attend the inauguration in person due to historic public health-related attendance restrictions.[49]

Ceremony

"The President's Own" United States Marine Band, which has appeared at every U.S. presidential inauguration since Thomas Jefferson's in 1801, will perform. They will play a medley of traditional music, herald the entry of dignitaries to the inaugural platform, and perform "Hail, Columbia" and "Hail to the Chief", the official anthems of the vice president and president, respectively, after Harris and Biden are each sworn in.[50][51]

Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend[52] but outgoing President Donald Trump will not.[53] Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, along with respective first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama, will attend the inauguration, while former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter cannot, as they are unable to travel.[54]

Roy Blunt, chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Fr. Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J., former president of Georgetown University, will deliver the inauguration's invocation.[55] Georgia firefighters' union leader Andrea Hall will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem, inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman will recite a poem, and Jennifer Lopez will perform.[56] The benediction will be delivered by Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman.[56]

Oaths of office

Biden was sworn into the vice-presidency by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on January 20, 2009.
Biden was sworn into the vice-presidency by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on January 20, 2009.

Harris will recite the following oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.[57]

Harris was sworn into the Senate by then-outgoing Vice President Biden on January 3, 2017.
Harris was sworn into the Senate by then-outgoing Vice President Biden on January 3, 2017.

Biden will recite the following oath, as prescribed by the Constitution:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. [So help me God.][57]

Biden will be sworn in on a Bible that has been in his family since 1893—the same one he used during his senatorial and vice presidential swearing in ceremonies.[58][59] It drew some public attention during the 2013 inauguration due to its size; it is 5 inches (12.7 cm) thick, and has a Celtic cross on the front.[60] Upon assuming office, Biden will receive a traditional 21-gun salute in his honor.

Inaugural address

Biden's inaugural address will “[lay] out his vision to beat [COVID-19], build back better, and bring the country together,” according to his inaugural committee.[61] He will ask Americans to wear facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for the first 100 days of his presidency.[62]

Post-inaugural events: "America United"

After the swearing-in ceremony, Biden, Harris, and their spouses will participate in a Pass in Review on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol featuring members of the United States Armed Forces. The congressional luncheon, a tradition witnessed since the 1897 inauguration of William McKinley, was also canceled due to public health concerns.[63]

Arlington wreath laying ceremony

Following the Pass in Review, Biden and Harris, along with former presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and all their spouses, will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.[64]

Virtual Parade Across America

Following the wreath laying ceremony, a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, NW will escort Biden and Harris to the White House and include every branch of the U.S. military.[65] The Virtual Parade Across America, organized by the Biden Inaugural Committee, will be televised, reflecting the "diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country" in the event's "musical acts, local bands, poets, dance troupes, and more."[65] Viewing stands outside the White House that were originally constructed for the inaugural parade were dismantled because they were ultimately deemed "unnecessary" for the revised plans.[66]

Celebrating America special

Traditional inaugural balls will not be held due to pandemic-related restrictions. A primetime television special will air as a substitute, known as Celebrating America, which will air in simulcast across most major television networks and other cable and streaming outlets. It will be hosted by Tom Hanks and include performances by Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, and Justin Timberlake, among others.[67] Biden may celebrate the remainder of the evening exclusively with relatives and close campaign advisors.[39]

Viewership

The Biden Inaugural Committee and Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies are implementing ways to make the ceremony interactive online in addition to a traditional televised broadcast.[3]

Protests and demonstrations

Applications for First Amendment permits are being processed by the National Park Service for demonstrations on Inauguration Day, including those filed by the ANSWER Coalition and by two pro-Trump groups named Roar for Trump and Women for a Great America.[68] A series of protests and counter-protests related to the results of the 2020 presidential election began in December 2020.[69][70] The FBI has warned of armed protests potentially occurring at state capitols in the week leading up to Inauguration Day.[71]

Preventing unrest

Significant efforts have been made to deter people from visiting Washington, D.C. during the week of the inauguration out of the concern that assemblies may become violent. This has prompted a strengthening of security in the city. The Biden Inaugural Committee and Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies urged people not to gather in the city for the inauguration.[3] D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urged tourists not to visit the city during the week of the inauguration and requested all demonstration permits processed by the Department of the Interior be rejected.[72][33] Additionally, Airbnb canceled all reservations in the city, a local hotel workers' union called on hotels to restrict guests to those providing inauguration security, and several Metro stations, parking garages, and bus routes around the Capitol will be closed or rerouted.[73][72]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Bennett, Kate; Fox, Lauren (November 25, 2020). "Pandemic inauguration could cut the choir, standing-room-only parties and maybe the historic lunch". CNN. CNN. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "JCCIC Announces Attendance Guidelines for 59th Inaugural Ceremonies". U.S. Senate. Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. December 16, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
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