Joe Biden’s inauguration
When: Wednesday, Jan. 20
Where: U.S. Capitol
Start time: 11:15 a.m. Eastern
Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday on the same Capitol steps that were swarmed with rioters hoping to nullify his victory.
Biden’s inauguration will be like no other in history. Since the Jan. 6 insurrection that left five people dead, 25,000 National Guard troops have been deployed in the city and have locked down the National Mall, where flags are replacing the thousands of people who ordinarily would be on hand when Biden takes the oath of office.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no public parade from the Capitol to the White House and inaugural balls have been replaced with a star-studded virtual celebration. Biden has asked his supporters to stay home and avoid the city to help limit the spread of the virus.
In another twist, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump won’t be in attendance for Wednesday’s ceremony, the first time the outgoing president hasn’t overseen the transfer of power since Andrew Johnson in 1869. Instead, the Trumps are expected to leave Washington onboard Air Force One on Wednesday morning and arrive at their private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida hours before Biden takes the oath.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or stream Biden’s inauguration:
What time does the inauguration start?
The inaugural ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. with an invocation by the Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan, the former president of Georgetown University and a longtime friend of the Biden family.
Andrea Hall, the first Black woman promoted to fire captain in the South Fulton Fire Rescue Department in South Fulton, Ga., will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Grammy Award-winning artist Lady Gaga will perform the national anthem.
Also performing will be Jennifer Lopez and country-music legend Garth Brooks, who told reporters he viewed his inclusion in the event as a “statement of unity.”
What time will Joe Biden be sworn in as president?
Joe Biden will be sworn in at noon EST on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, will lead Biden in the oath of office. Biden will rest his hand on a large Bible held by Jill Biden that’s been in his family since 1893. His late son, Beau Biden, used the same Bible when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general in 2007.
“It’s just been a family heirloom on the Biden side of the family, and every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night host Stephen Colbert last month. “For example, every time I’ve been sworn in for anything, the date has been on that and is inscribed on the Bible.”
As far as where to watch the ceremony, it’s going to be hard to miss. All major broadcast channels plan to break into their regular programming to cover the inauguration live, including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS. The ceremony will also be shown live on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, as well as C-SPAN.
You can watch a livestream of the ceremony here, courtesy of PBS:
Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Just before Biden takes the oath of office, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a history-making event in which the first Black, South Asian, and female vice president will take her oath of office from the first Latina justice.
Sotomayor also swore in Biden as vice president in 2013.
Harris will use two Bibles for the swearing-in, one of which belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice. In July, she called Marshall “a fighter” in the courtroom and said he was “one of the main reasons I wanted to be a lawyer.” Like Harris, Marshall was also a graduate of Howard University, among the most prestigious historically black universities in the country.
Who is attending the inauguration?
While the Trumps won’t be in attendance, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence are expected to be on hand.
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are also expected to attend the ceremony, as are former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush will also be attendance, saying in a statement that despite their political differences, “I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”
Not attending the inauguration will be former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who opted against traveling to Washington amid the pandemic. The Carters sent Biden and Harris their “best wishes” and “look forward to a successful administration,” according to a spokesperson.
Why is the inauguration on a Wednesday?
Blame the Great Depression.
The 20th Amendment, ratified in 1933, moved the start and end of the presidential term to Jan. 20 from March 4. The goal was to eliminate a four-month lame-duck period that affected Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to battle the Great Depression.
Trump’s inauguration took place on a Friday (but “day one” of his administration didn’t begin until the following Monday). Former President Barack Obama’s first and second inaugurations took place on a Tuesday and a Monday, respectively.
Washington is fortified due to the deadly attack on the Capitol
More than 25,000 National Guard troops will be on hand Wednesday. To place that number into context, it’s five times the number of troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
The National Mall is completely closed to the public, Metro has closed 13 stations inside the security perimeter, Amtrak has canceled all Northeast Regional trains south of Washington, and many of the streets surrounding the Capitol are barricaded and closed.
Because of coronavirus, a different kind of inaugural celebration
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re not getting inaugural balls. Instead, we’ll get Tom Hanks.
The Academy Award-winning actor will host Celebrating America, a virtual celebration of Biden’s inauguration that will air Wednesday from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Eastern on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, PBS, and MSNBC (Fox and Fox News are sticking with their regular programming).
Among the artists expected to perform are Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, the Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi, Eva Longoria, and South Jersey native Ant Clemons.
The Associated Press and other wire services contributed to this article.