Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will be inaugurated at 11 a.m. central time on Wednesday, Jan. 20. But because of threats of domestic terrorism, the Coronavirus pandemic and an incumbent president facing his second impeachment, this inauguration will look completely different from those of the past.
Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:
The biggest question that many have about this year’s inauguration is whether or not it will be safe. Many Americans are now concerned after law enforcement’s response to the Jan. 6 insurrection, leading the U.S. Capitol Police Chief to resign.
Security around the Capitol building has drastically increased since Jan. 6. Up to 25,000 National Guard troops will join the DC Police, Capitol Police and the Secret Service for Inauguration Day, according to a press release. Seven-thousand National Guard members are already on the ground as of Jan. 14.
Vox Whitehouse Reporter Alex Ward said that a perimeter has been set up around the Capitol and the National Mall “making it nearly impossible for any unauthorized vehicle or person to get within blocks of the main building.”
The FBI is investigating potential threats to Inauguration Day, as well as continuing to investigate the insurrection, director Christopher Wray said in a briefing with the vice president Thursday. Wray said that one of their biggest challenges is distinguishing between “aspirational” and “intentional” messages seen on social media.
“When we talk about potential threats … we are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter,” Wray said.
Biden and Harris will still take their oaths in front of the U.S. Capitol, but the number of people in attendance will be greatly reduced in accordance with the COVID-19 precautions. As a result, several events will be held virtually.
The inaugural ceremonies will be livestreamed for anybody to watch on YouTube, Twitch or other social media platforms. The president-elect will likely deliver his inaugural address to a record number of people tuning in remotely.
After the swearing-in, a “virtual parade” will be held across the country. It will “celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life … and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era,” the inaugural committee said in a press release.
The committee has asked Americans not to travel to D.C. for the event. The new president likely won’t be able to brag about the size of his crowds like the last inauguration. Biden will then be escorted to the White House alone, a drastically different image from past years.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee will also host a memorial for the nearly 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 on the evening before the inauguration.
Before his Twitter account was suspended, President Donald Trump announced that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. However, Vice President Pence will be in attendance.
Other former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as the respective first ladies, will attend the inauguration and a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The 96-year-old President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn will not attend the inauguration for the first time since his own in 1977.
As usual, several prominent politicians will attend, including Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.
Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez will perform in Washington, and other acts like John Legend and Foo Fighters will perform remotely. Other celebrities like Eva Longoria and Keegan Michael-Key will host the several segments and events throughout the day.