President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the next leaders of the U.S. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C. at about noon Eastern Time. The inauguration will look very different from past inaugurations due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) still has several events planned for the day. The committee also announced several performers for the historic day, including Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga.
Biden will take office just two weeks after pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress certified his Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump. One week later, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for inciting the violence, making Trump the first president to be impeached twice. The next step is a Senate trial, which will likely not begin until after Biden is in office because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not plan on calling the Senate to Washington early. Trump does not plan on attending, although Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence do.
"This inauguration marks a new chapter for the American people — one of healing, of unifying, of coming together, of an America united," PIC CEO Dr. Tony Allen told the Associated Press earlier this week. "It is time to turn the page on this era of division. The inaugural activities will reflect our shared values and serve as a reminder that we are stronger together than we are apart, just as our motto ‘e Pluribus Unum’ reminds us -- out of many, one." With less than a week to go before the inauguration, here is what has been announced so far.
Lady Gaga will perform the National Anthem
Lady Gaga will perform the National Anthem during the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, the PIC announced. Jennifer Lopez is set to give a performance. Father Leo J. O'Donovan, a longtime friend of the Biden family, will deliver the invocation. Andrea Hall, President of the International Association of Firefighters Local 3920, will read the Pledge of Allegiance. Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States, will read a poem. Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman will deliver the benediction.prevnext
The theme is 'America United'
Following two months of President Donald Trump refusing to accept the 2020 November election results, Biden will try to bring the country back together with his inauguration. The country is at an unprecedented time, not just because of the political divide, but also because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 380,000 Americans. "The inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Kamala D. Harris will showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild so that we emerge as the indomitable force that a united America represents," reads a statement from the PIC's website.prevnext
Former presidents will join Biden to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
After the swearing-in ceremony, Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Harris, and Harris' husband, Douglas Emhoff, will head to Arlington National Ceremony for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, and former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton will also attend the ceremony. There will also be a memorial for COVID-19 victims at the Lincoln Reflecting Pool at 5:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 19.prevnext
Tom Hanks will host a primetime program called 'Celebrating America'
After the inauguration, Biden and Harris will speak during a special primetime event called Celebrating America. Tom Hanks will host the 90-minute special, which will include appearances from Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, and Justin Timberlake. The special will start at 8:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 20 and will air on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. It will also be streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.prevnext
Very few tickets will be allocated to members of Congress
While the swearing-in ceremony will be held in person, there will be far fewer attendees at the ceremony than usual. In December, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that members of Congress will only receive two tickets, one for themselves and one for a guest, according to the Washington Post. Usually, members receive up to 200,000 tickets each to hand out to constituents. Other events have been canceled due to the pandemic, including the usual post-inauguration luncheon where the new president usually meets members of Congress.prevnext
Security will be heightened after the Capitol riot
Security will be even tighter than usual due to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. About 6,2000 National Guard members were activated to help D.C. law enforcement for the next month, according to the Associated Press. The National Park Service will announce a decision on Friday about closing the National Mall on inauguration day, reports NBC News.prev