What UK time is Biden’s inauguration? All the dates and times you need to know

Eleanor Sly
·4 min read
<p>Joe Biden will be the 46th US president </p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden will be the 46th US president

(AFP via Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden will officially become president of the United States on 20 January 2021. He will be the 46th US president and take over the position from Donald Trump.

Following a turbulent year with the ongoing Covid pandemic and recent Capitol riots, this year’s Inauguration celebration will look rather different from those of previous presidents.

Follow Inauguration Day 2021 – live: Bidens appear for first time and attend Mass ‘after delaying for Trump’

When is Inauguration Day?

Inauguration day will take place on Wednesday 20 January 2021, as per the US constitution.

Inauguration Day will start at 4:30pm GMT (11.30am ET) today with a performance of the US national anthem.

Shortly before 5pm GMT, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayo.

Mr Biden will be expected to take the oath of office at around 5pm GMT (12pm ET) after which he will deliver his inauguration address.

Mr Trump’s presidency will come to an end as his term expires at 5pm GMT (noon in Washington DC) on January 20 by law.

Where is it?

In line with tradition, the inauguration will be held in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC.

Where can I watch the proceedings?

In the UK, both BBC One and ITV will be holding separate two hour long news specials, which will begin at 4pm GMT.

Coverage of the Inauguration will also be available from 4pm GMT on Sky News and on the BBC News Channel from 3:30pm GMT to 7pm GMT.

How will celebrations be different this year?

Under normal circumstances, large crowds would usually gather leading up to the US Capitol in celebration of the inauguration, but this year's celebration will look different amidst the Covid pandemic.

In the aftermath of the violence seen on 6 January, the entire Washington Mall has been shut to the public for the event. Supporters would usually gather here to watch events but this year it will only be open to the media and security personnel.

Americans are being urged not to travel to Washington, DC, and to instead participate virtually by the mayor of Washington DC and the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

It was previously expected that less than 1,600 people will be allowed to attend the inauguration and mask and social distancing guidelines will be in place, and this could be even more strict now.

Ahead of Mr Biden's arrival in Washington,12 members of the National Guard were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups and were hence removed from the presidential inauguration security mission. Some had previously posted their extreme views online.

Officials said that they posed no immediate threat to Mr Biden.

What will be happening?

Both the vice president-elect and president-elect will take their Oaths of Office at noon, which will then be followed by an inaugural address.

Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will become the first woman and the first black and Asian-American to ever serve in this role.

A “virtual parade” showcasing communities across the country will be televised to replace the traditional inaugural parade as the Biden’s arrive at the White House with a military presidential escort.

There are also set to be musical performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks. Later, at an evening concert at the Lincoln Memorial, performers will include Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, and Demi Lovato.

What about the election disputes?

Following an attack on the Capitol on 6 January by pro-Trump supporters, officials are even more eager to reduce in person celebrations and maintain high levels of security at the event.

The president finally conceded his election defeat in a video following an attack on the Capitol by his supporters last week saying a “new administration will be inaugurated” and committing to an orderly transfer of power.

Inauguration day effectively acts as a hard deadline to the end of Mr Trump’s one term as president, and his presidency will come to an end on that day, whether or not he has conceded.

Security officials have insisted that the event will be secure following the breach at the Capitol on 6 January, with extremely tight security around the entire capital region and at least 10,000 National Guard troops in place.

Will Donald Trump attend?

President Donald Trump has confirmed he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony and will leave the White House, bound for Florida.

Vice-President Mike Pence is set to attend the inauguration despite the president’s absence, reports have said.

In 2017 Barack Obama attended Mr Trump’s swearing-in on inauguration day as outgoing president alongside then outgoing vice-president Mr Biden.

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