When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in as president and vice-president at noon EST (5:00 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday, they will do so on a day unlike any previous inauguration.
Biden has planned a significantly reduced inauguration day for two months due to the pandemic: a minimal crowd will be present at the United States Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony and his inaugural address. The traditional inaugural lunch with Congress and the Supreme Court followed by the inaugural parade was scuttled weeks ago, as were the traditional inaugural balls. The celebratory events will be replaced by a “virtual” parade, featuring parade participants from across the United States and a “Celebrating America” television special hosted by actor Tom Hanks replaces the balls.
Adding to the unique nature of this year’s inauguration: Outgoing President Donald Trump will not be in attendance, choosing to leave town before Biden is sworn in, making it the first time since Andrew Johnson has jumped in. inauguration of Ulysses S Grant in 1869.
And, of course, the unprecedented security coverage that followed the U.S. Capitol Riot two weeks ago will not allow any onlookers who would normally line up on the National Mall to watch the ceremony or along Pennsylvania Avenue for watch the new sworn president make his procession from the Capitol to the White House.
Here’s a look at the key events on Biden’s inauguration day schedule:
8:00 a.m. EST (1:00 p.m. GMT): Trump leaves Washington
For the last time as president, Trump will be leaving Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland on Air Force One. Typically, this event occurs after the outgoing president has attended his successor’s swearing-in ceremony and lunch to follow, marking a very public peaceful transfer of power.
President Obama also had a small farewell ceremony and speech at Joint Base Andrews on inauguration day – after attending President Trump’s inauguration ceremonyhttps://t.co/ah7xjRafss pic.twitter.com/vsajg2YRds
– Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) January 15, 2021
Trump, who has never conceded the election and still clings to the unfounded theory that he defeated Biden in November, has decided to give himself an early departure with his arrival in Florida, where he will settle in his post-presidency, scheduled for approximately 11:00 a.m. EST (4:00 p.m. GMT), approximately an hour before Biden’s swearing-in.
8:45 am EST (1:45 pm GMT): Biden and Harris go to church
Biden and Harris and their spouses will attend a morning church service at St. Matthew the Apostle’s Cathedral, the Roman Catholic church more commonly known as “St. Matthews’ and best known for being the site of the funeral of former President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
They would be joined by the main leaders of Congress: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy.
11:00 a.m. EST (4:00 p.m. GMT): Swearing-in ceremony and inaugural address
About 1,000 people – not the hundreds of thousands who normally show up – will be in attendance at this year’s swearing-in ceremony, including the Biden and Harris families, Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, who are limited to one guest each. to the pandemic. The pre-oath agenda includes a performance of Lady Gaga’s national anthem and musical performances by Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
At a constitutionally fixed time of noon EST, (5:00 p.m. GMT) Biden will be sworn in as the 46th U.S. President by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the western front of the US Capitol, the same location where the riot had taken place two weeks earlier.
Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and their wives will be in attendance. The only other former president alive, Jimmy Carter, 96, will not attend, marking the first inauguration he will miss since his in 1977. Although Trump will have decamped to Florida, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife , Karen Pence, will be in attendance. Biden swearing-in ceremony.
After the oaths of office, Biden will deliver his inaugural address, which will revolve around the theme “America United”.
Biden’s inaugural committee said his speech will set out “his vision to defeat the pandemic, to better rebuild, unify and heal the nation.”
Traditionally, after the inaugural address, the newly sworn-in president and vice-president travel to Capitol Hill for a signing ceremony and congressional lunch, which have been canceled due to the pandemic.
The expulsion of the outgoing president from the Eastern Front from the Capitol also broke with tradition. As Trump will be long gone, Biden will simply move on to the next event that normally takes place there.
13:40 EST (18:40 GMT): passing exam
After the swearing-in ceremonies, Biden and Harris will head to the steps of the Eastern Front of the Capitol, where they will take part in the US Troop Review Ceremony. As President, Biden will also serve as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army, in accordance with the United States Constitution. Every branch of the US military will be present for this event.
This event typically kicks off the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. However, this tradition has been canceled due to the pandemic.
2:25 p.m. EST (19:25 GMT): Wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Biden, Harris, their spouses and former presidents and their spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington, DC, to honor the “men and women in uniform who have paid the ultimate sacrifice ”To defend the United States, according to Biden’s inaugural committee.
3:15 p.m. EST (8:15 p.m. GMT): Presidential escort to the White House, virtual parade
With the parade moved online and the parade review booth in front of the White House dismantled, Biden’s inaugural committee is organizing a one-block escort to the White House.
“[E]any branch of the military will be represented in the escort, including the US Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and the Fife and Drum Corps of the 3rd US Infantry. The Old Guard ”, according to the inaugural presidential committee.
A virtual “Parade Across America” will follow, with performances by participants across the United States.
The cancellation of this year’s parade is the first since Ronald Reagan was forced to cancel his in 1985 due to dangerously cold temperatures.
17:15 EST (22:15 GMT): Biden signs executive orders and presidential actions
The new president will sign a series of executive actions, including orders to reverse Trump’s orders on immigration, climate change, and handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the actions Biden will sign also include orders to bring the United States back to the Paris climate agreement and to the World Health Organization.
After the signing ceremony, Biden will be sworn in in a virtual ceremony to a number of eligible President-appointed people to begin the “ first day ” of his administration.
8:30 p.m. EST (01:30 GMT, January 21): ‘Celebrating America’ special
With the pandemic forcing the cancellation of the many inaugural balls that traditionally take place in Washington, DC, the inaugural presidential committee has put together a prime-time television special that will be broadcast by several US television stations and broadcast. online.
Hosted by Tom Hanks, the event will feature remarks by Biden and Harris as well as musical performances by Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons, among others. .