WASHINGTON, D.C. — History stands ready to be made on January 20 as President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will take the Oath of Office on the west front of the U.S. Capitol building.
Biden, who will swear in as the 46th President of the United States, will take office at a difficult time for the nation: with the coronavirus raging, unemployment claims soaring and partisan divisions sharpening, he prepares to deliver a speech that aides say he wants to use to “call Americans to unity.” The theme of this 59th presidential inauguration ceremony will be “America United” with a goal of bringing the country together and creating “a path to a brighter future.”
However, the situation Biden faces upon entering office is not the only historical aspect of his inauguration. Accompanying him will be running mate Kamala Harris, a California Senator who will become the nation’s first female vice president.
The outgoing President Donald Trump will also make history as one of only a few presidents to ever boycott their successor’s inauguration. Trump has made it clear that he will not attend, although Vice President Pence will appear at the ceremony. Only three other presidents have ever purposefully avoided their successor’s inauguration: John Adams did not attend Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801, John Quincy Adams did not attend Andrew Jackson’s inauguration in 1829, and Andrew Johnson did not attend Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration in 1869. Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama will reportedly attend the inauguration; Jimmy Carter, 96, will stay home due to the pandemic.
To ensure a safe and peaceful transition of power after the violent riot at the Capitol on January 6, the Defense Department has deployed up to 25,000 service members in Washington, D.C., and National Guard units in every state will be ready to protect from similar incidents taking place at the state capitols.
The National Mall is closed to the public until at least January 21, the day after the inauguration, and 13 rail stations within the Secret Service’s security perimeter have also been closed and will be bypassed by any trains. Main bridges into the city will also be closed for two days. In addition, the minimized crowd that will attend the inauguration will be seated six feet apart and required to wear facial coverings.
The inauguration set for noon on Wednesday will be broadcast live on all major networks and platforms, including the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch.