What happens at the presidential inauguration? OLD

Matt Mathers
·3 min read
Workers prepare US Captiol for inauguration day (Getty Images)
Workers prepare US Captiol for inauguration day (Getty Images)

Following his 2020 election victory over Donald Trump, Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn in as president next year.

His inauguration is set to take place despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, although it will be scaled down to help limit the spread of the infection.

Officials organising the inauguration have warned people to stay away from this year’s event and remain at home.

Those who wish to watch the ceremony will be able to do so on most major television networks.

Where and when is the inauguration?

Mr Biden's public and outdoor inauguration will take place in Washington DC, at the western front of the US Capitol, where lawmakers take their seats.

In keeping with tradition, the event has been pencilled in for 20 January, the third Wednesday of the month.

Mr Biden was declared the presidential winner by most major news outlets on the weekend after the 3 November vote.

And this week, the US's electoral college met to officially certify his victory over Mr Trump.

But before Mr Biden can assume office, he must swear an oath to the office of the US president.

What is the presidential oath?

The wording of the presidential oath is set out in Article II, Section One, Clause 8, of the United States Constitution.

It says: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

By taking the oath, the president vows to carry out his or her responsibilities in accordance with the Constiution.

This is supposed to affirm that the new president is not above the laws that govern the US.

What else happens on the day?

Kamala Harris will also be sworn in as vice president-elect, before Mr Biden. She will be America' first-ever black and woman vice president.

Mr Harris in her oath will swear to execute her duties in accordance with the US Constitution.

Mr Biden is likely to address the nation after he is sworn in as president.

Traditionally, new presidents deliver remarks about the election campaign that put them in office and pledge to govern for all Americans.

As coronavirus deaths and infections continue to soar across the US, Mr Biden is likely to set out his plans for bringing the crisis under control.

He is also likely to speak about some of his incoming administration's other policies, such as the economy, health care and climate change.

There is usually some form of entertainment at the inauguration. But it remains unclear at this stage whether that will happen this year due to the pandemic.

Who else will be there?

Mr Biden is likely to take the stage with his wife, Dr Jill Biden.

In years gone by, past presidents - from both the Republican and Democrat parties - have attended the swearing-in ceremony.

But it remains to be seen whether Mr Trump will show up to see the new president swear his oath.

Despite impassioned pleas from his colleagues to attend, the defeated incumbent has remained silent on whether or not he will be present.

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