When is Joe Biden's inauguration and will President Trump attend?

18 January 2021, 12:37

Joe Biden is set to become the 46th President of the United States
Joe Biden is set to become the 46th President of the United States. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Joe Biden is set to become the 46th President of the United States, succeeding President Donald Trump after a fierce election battle. Here's the date, time and schedule of his inauguration day.

Mr Biden, a Democrat who previously served as Vice President under Barack Obama, will begin his term this week, two months after winning the election.

But the traditional inauguration event for the new president is set to look very different because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the thousands of supporters who would usually gather along the National Mall notably absent.

Security will be even tighter than usual after last week's violent storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters which led to his second impeachment.

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So when is Joe Biden's inauguration date? What's the time and schedule? And will Donald Trump attend? Here's the latest information:

When is Joe Biden's inauguration date and time?

Joe Biden's inauguration will take place on Wednesday January 20 from 11am ET / 4pm GMT.

The inaugural parade will take place at 2pm ET / 7pm GMT.

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What will happen during the event? And what is the inauguration schedule?

The theme for the inauguration will be America United, an issue that has long been a central focus for Mr Biden.

The event begins with the President’s procession from the White House to the Capitol.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take her inaugural oath first, becoming the nation’s first female, Black and Indian American vice-president.

Mr Biden will then be sworn in, taking the pledge of allegiance on the West Front of the Capitol.

Lady Gaga will then sing the national anthem.

In keeping with the theme of unity, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that after he is officially inaugurated, Mr Biden, Ms Harris and their spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, and will be joined there by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their wives.

The committee also announced plans for a major public art display spanning multiple blocks of the National Mall that will feature 191,500 U.S. flags and 56 pillars of light, to represent every US state and territory.

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How will it be different because of Covid?

Usually, huge crowds of supporters would line the National Mall in Washington during the event.

But the National Park Service announced on Monday it would shut down public access to Washington monument until January 24, citing threats surrounding inauguration.

After Mr Biden asked Americans to stay home for his inauguration, the Field of Flags is meant to represent "the American people who are unable to travel" to the Capitol to celebrate his swearing-in, according to the committee.

It is not the only Covid-era change to the festivities.

In keeping with crowd-size restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, Mr Biden will have a significantly pared-down inauguration, with traditional activities like the parade and the inaugural balls moving to a virtual format.

But even as the celebration itself will be smaller, inauguration officials are preparing a significant security presence in preparation for what may be more pro-Trump demonstrations across Washington.

In keeping with crowd size restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, traditional activities like the parade and the inaugural balls will be virtual.

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Who will attend?

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their wives will all attend the event.

Mr Trump himself is not attending, a decision Mr Biden said was a "good thing", though Vice President Mike Pence and his wife plan to.

He is the first President in more than 150 years not to attend his successor's inauguration.

Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, previously announced that they would not be making the trip - the first time the couple, aged 96 and 93, will have missed the ceremony.

How can I watch Joe Biden's inauguration?

Tom Hanks will host a TV special celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden as US president, with performances by Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons.

It will be broadcast live on US TV networks ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC.

It will also be streamed live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW, DirectTV and U-verse.