Joseph R. Biden Jr. will become president of the United States at noon Wednesday in a scaled-back inauguration ceremony. While key elements will remain traditional, many events will be downsized and “reimagined” to better adapt the celebration to a nation battling the coronavirus. Here’s a guide to the event.
What will the inauguration look like?
Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on the Capitol’s West Front sometime before noon. The new president is then expected give his inaugural address and conduct a review of military troops, as is tradition.
But instead of a traditional parade before cheering spectators along Pennsylvania Avenue as the new president, vice president and their families make their way to the White House over a mile away, there will be an official escort with representatives from every branch of the military for one city block.
For remote viewers, the inaugural committee has planned what it is calling a virtual parade across the country featuring music, poets and dancers “paying homage to America’s heroes on the front lines of the pandemic.”
Who will attend? And can I attend?
George W. Bush, along with Laura Bush, the former first lady, will attend, as well as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, along with former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Traditionally, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies would distribute hundreds of thousands of tickets to the swearing-in ceremony for members of Congress to invite constituents, but this year tickets are not available to members of the public. Planners are urging people to stay home and participate in virtual inaugural events to prevent large crowds that could easily spread the coronavirus.
Events will be live streamed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee and by The New York Times.