Landing in the midst of a deadly pandemic, and now facing security concerns due to an insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol last week by a pro-Trump crowd, President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will lack the crowds, and much of the fanfare, that those in years past had.
In light of those two issues, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has rethought how this year’s event will look. Much of it will be virtual.
The committee is also stressing each event “will be socially distanced” and the inaugural committee “will have vigorous health and safety protocols in place.”
The inaugural committee has not released specific times for all parts of the event.
Here is the schedule of events for Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, and the events of the days leading up to it, as we currently know it:
Wednesday: Inauguration Day
The departing president and the president-elect typically ride down Pennsylvania Avenue together after the incumbent greets the incoming president at the White House. However, that is will likely not happen this year as Trump has said he is not attending the ceremony.
Instead, Trump will leave the White House for Florida shortly before Biden’s inauguration. Trump will hold a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, the usual jumping-off point for Air Force One, in Maryland just outside Washington before his departure from the capital city, sources said.
8:45 a.m.: Biden, Harris and their spouses will attend mass at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. They will be joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans
The inaugural committee will “host a first-ever curated livestream for young Americans before and during the Inaugural Ceremonies.”
The livestream will be hosted by entertainer and advocate Keke Palmer, feature appearances from Dr. Jill Biden, include segments about presidential pets, excerpts of student voices from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs “We the Young People” programming, and more.
10:30 a.m.: Biden, Harris and their spouses will arrive at U.S. Capitol for the inauguration.
11:15 a.m., inauguration ceremony begins: At the swearing-in, the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, will give the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia.
Lady Gaga, who campaigned with and performed for Biden during the election, will perform the National Anthem.
There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
There will be additional musical performances.
Harris will be sworn in first 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, shortly before noon.
Harris chose Sotomayor for the task, according to the Associated Press. She’ll also use two Bibles for the swearing-in, one of which belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice.
Noon, Biden sworn in as president: Biden will be sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol building becoming the 46th president of the United States, around noon.
Following tradition Chief Justice John Roberts will lead Biden in the oath of office. He will take the oath using his 127-year-old, 5-inch-thick family Bible.
After Harris and Biden take their oaths of office, Biden will deliver an inaugural address to layout “his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation,” according to the inaugural team.