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Graphics: Comparison of Biden and Trump inaugurations | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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Al Jazeera examines side by side the inaugurations of the two most recent presidents of the United States.

The inaugurations of US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump mark stark contrasts in the political situation in the United States.

Trump, the only president to have been impeached twice, took office after knocking the country out by beating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a long-running, external bid for the presidency.

Biden took office after defeating Trump in the polls and after four years of tumultuous – and often criticized as “racist” policies by the former president’s administration.

Al Jazeera took important images of both events to allow comparison of historical events.

Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration is on the left, with Biden’s 2021 inauguration on the right.

Crowd size

Trump, known for his penchant for exaggeration, has long called his inauguration the busiest in history, although historians have disputed that claim.

Former President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, is considered the tallest with 1.9 million attendees.

Biden has chosen not to have attendees other than those needed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the National Mall instead filled with flags.

Here’s a comparison of the crowds at Trump and Biden’s inaugurations.


Little difference can be observed on the Capitol grounds between 2017 and 2021, apart from greater social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the seat of US government played a crucial role in Trump’s last days as president.

January 6th far right Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory.

The riot resulted in Trump’s historic second indictment and the deployment of approximately 25,000 National Guard troops to Washington, DC, for security during the dedication ceremony.

Oath of office

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence all took the same oath between 2017 and 2021.

Their husbands held a holy book – in all four cases the Bible – as they placed their right hands on the text and recited their oaths.

A break in tradition

Trump has chosen not to attend Biden’s inauguration, one of many standards he broke during his presidency. This made him the first president to skip his successor’s inaugural ceremony in 152 years.

When Trump took office in 2017, Obama – a constant target of Trump’s criticism – was present and the men were pictured together.

Their vice-presidents – Pence and Biden – were also pictured alongside their spouses.

Iconic waves

During the two inaugurations, the presidential and vice-presidential families greet the American public in photos which become emblematic.


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