Schedule of Biden-Harris Inauguration Day: Timeline of events and how to watch
Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday in a ceremony unlike any before. Safety precautions have been implemented due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, restricting crowd sizes and the typical pomp and circumstance. The Capitol is also on high alert following the deadly siege earlier this month.
The largely virtual affair, however, will still feature several ceremonial events and be capped off by a star-studded televised celebration this evening.
Timeline of events
8 a.m. — President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will depart the White House for the last time and make their way to Joint Base Andrews. They will then take their final flight aboard Air Force One to Palm Beach, Fla., and travel to their Mar-a-Lago resort.
President Trump is breaking with more than a century of tradition by refusing to attend the swearing-in of his successor. Vice President Pence and other GOP officials will not attend Trump’s goodbye ceremony; Pence will instead attend Biden’s inauguration.
8:45 a.m. — Joe and Jill Biden will be joined by Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, for a church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.
10 a.m. — Actress Keke Palmer will begin hosting the first-ever curated livestream for kids and young Americans before and during the inaugural ceremonies, with a message from Jill Biden. It will be streamed online by the inaugural committee, PBS News Hour and Amazon Prime Video and will also be broadcast by Nickelodeon and Discovery Education.
10:30 a.m. — Arrival at the Capitol’s East Front
11:15 a.m. — The inauguration program will begin with an invocation from Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president. A firefighter from Georgia named Andrea Hall will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and Amanda Gorman, who made history in 2017 by being named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, will read a poem.
Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem. The ceremony will also feature musical performances from Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
11:55 a.m. — Harris is sworn in as the 49th vice president of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor shortly before noon on a Bible that once belonged to first the African American to serve on the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall.
Noon — Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at noon, in accordance with the 20th Amendment of the Constitution. Trump’s term officially ends. The new president will immediately give his inaugural address.
The Rev. Silvester Beaman, a pastor from Delaware who was an ally of Biden’s late son Beau Biden, will conclude the inauguration by giving the benediction.
1:40 p.m. — Biden and Harris review the readiness of the military in a review at the Capitol, a longstanding tradition to reflect the peaceful transition of power to a new commander in chief.
2:25 p.m. — Biden, Harris and former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton, along with their spouses, will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
3:15 p.m. — The new president and vice president will then proceed to the White House to receive a Presidential Escort, with each branch of the military represented.
Instead of the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, there will be a virtual “Parade Across America” with performances from all 50 states and several territories. Jon Stewart is expected to make an appearance, and Earth Wind & Fire is among the musical acts.
5:15 p.m. — Biden will enter the Oval Office for the first time as president. He is expected to sign more than a dozen executive actions reversing some of Trump’s signature policy initiatives and setting a new tone for his administration. He plans to issue a national mask-wearing “challenge,” stop the construction of the southern border wall, revoke the so-called Muslim ban and rejoin both the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement, among many other things.
5:45 p.m. — Biden then swears in Day One presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony.
7 p.m. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki will give her first briefing from the historic Brady Press Briefing Room with reporters.
8:30 p.m. — “Celebrating America” virtual television event, hosted by legendary actor Tom Hanks with performances by Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Tim McGraw, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend and Foo Fighters.
The 90-minute event will also include remarks from the new president and vice president.
9:55 p.m. — The Bidens appear on the Blue Room Balcony facing the South Lawn to conclude the day’s festivities.
How to watch from home
Major television networks, including ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox, PBS, NBC and MSNBC, will air live coverage throughout the entire day.
ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NBC and MSNBC will be airing the Celebrating America prime-time celebration on television. Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DirecTV and U-verse will also be carrying the special live for those who do not have cable.
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