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10 Things That Will Happen on Inauguration Day

Ever since the ratification of the 20th Amendment on January 23, 1933, The Presidential Inauguration has taken place on January 20. However, if January 20 falls on Sunday (just like it did in 1957 (President Eisenhower’s second Inauguration), 1985 (President Reagan’s first Inauguration), and 2013 (President Obama’s second Inauguration), a private swearing-in ceremony for both the President and vice-president takes place and the public swearing-in ceremony is held the following day on Monday, January 21. The ceremony will take place on the West Front of the United States Capitol Building.

Excluding when the current President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the inauguration takes place for each new presidential term, even if the president is continuing in office for a second term. Wednesday, January 20, 2021 will mark the beginning of the four-year term of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president. This article will cover the events and traditions that will occur on Inauguration Day. Any significant changes that will be made to some of these traditional events due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will also be mentioned. 

Now, with all of that information being said, let’s take a look down below and see 10 Things That Will Happen on Inauguration Day: 

1. Security Will Be Ramped Up:

The atrocious storming of The United States Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump Supporters (instigated by President Donald Trump) on January 6, 2021, resulted in five deaths and caused lots of damage (and theft) as the protesters occupied parts of the building for several hours. The deadly insurrection not only interrupted the certification of the Electoral College Votes, but also resulted the evacuations of Congress Members and forced the lockdowns of the Capitol building. The insurrection was widely condemned by current and former leaders around the world and members of Congress

In the wake of the deadly insurrection, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced on January 7 that a “7-foot non-scalable fence” will be installed around the entire perimeter of the Capitol Grounds to ensure that no disruptions occur during the Inauguration. In addition, McCarthy stated that 6,200 National Guard Troops will be deployed throughout the Washington D.C. area through the Inauguration. 

2. Donald Trump Is Still Technically President on Inauguration Day:

Although January 20 will be Joe Biden’s first day as the 46th President of The United States (POTUS), ongoing President Donald Trump will still technically be President that day. The reason for that being is that the new president is traditionally sworn in at 12:00 PM EST on Inauguration Day. 

3. Joe Biden Will Be Sworn In As President of The United States:

Shortly after Kamala Harris is sworn in as the Vice President of The United States, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the President of The United States and will recite the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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. [So help me God.]” 

Traditionally, the new President is sworn in by the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of The United States. Current Chief Justice John Roberts, who has administered the presidential oath to Barack Obama (Both of Obama’s Inaugurations) and to Donald Trump, will do so for Joe Biden. 

4. Kamala Harris Will Be Sworn In As Vice President of The United States:

Before Joe Biden takes the presidential oath of office, vice president-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office of the vice president of the United States. She will be sworn in by one of the Associate Supreme Court Justices of The United States and will recite the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

5. Joe Biden Will Give An Inaugural Address:

Once a new president is sworn in, he gives a speech, known as an “Inaugural Address” to present their vision of America and to set forth their goals for the nation. 

6 COVID-19 Public Health Measures For The Inauguration:

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in 376,459 deaths in The United States so far, most of the traditional inaugural events will be conducted virtually, primarily modeled after the 2020 Democratic National Convention, according to House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who’s also the Chairman of the inaugural committee for President-elect Joe Biden.

Click here to to read this article on all the major changes of the 2021 Presidential Inauguration that will happen due to the coronavirus. 

7. Joe Biden Will Assume Control of The President’s Social Media Accounts:

After being sworn in as President, Joe Biden’s administration will gain control of the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse Twitter accounts. However, whether or not Biden will retain the combined 60 million followers of those accounts remains up for debate.

8. The Outgoing President Leaves A Note In The Oval Office For His Successor:

One of the relatively new traditions that takes place on Inauguration Day is the outgoing President leaving a handwritten note in the Oval Office for the incoming president to find. It is one of the many symbols that represent a peaceful transition of power between presidential administrations. 

See Also

According to Kate Andersen Brower’s bookTeam of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump, Ronald Reagan started the tradition in 1989, when he left a letter (see below) in the top drawer of the Resolute desk for his successor, George HW Bush, who served as Reagan’s vice president during his eight years in office. Every president since Reagan has followed suit but given current President Donald Trump’s refusal to ensure a peaceful transition of power (until after the storming of the US Capitol, reluctantly though), it seems very unlikely that he’s follow the tradition and leave a note for President-elect Joe Biden.

Click here to see the notes that each president after Reagan has left for his successor. 

9. Some of Biden’s Cabinet Members Will Be Confirmed:

On Inauguration Day, some of the incoming president’s cabinet members will be confirmed by The Senate on the same day. However, with the Georgia Senate Runoff races and other delays by Congress can possibly result in President-elect Joe Biden not having a single Cabinet official confirmed on Inauguration Day. Should this occur, according to The Washington Post, it would break a longstanding tradition of having at least one member of the President’s Cabinet confirmed since the end of The Civil War.

10. Former Presidents and Vice-Presidents Will Attend:

Along with current members of Congress, and the families of the president-elect and vice president-elect, former Presidents, First Ladies, Vice Presidents, and Second Ladies are also invited to attend the Inauguration.

It was recently confirmed that former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama  will attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Their wives, former First Ladies Hillary Clinton (also a former Senator of New York and former Secretary of  State), Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama, will also be in attendance. Former President Jimmy Carter, who at 96-years-old, is America’s oldest living president, and his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, will not attend due to the pandemic and their old ages. 

It is also customary for the outgoing President and Vice President to attend the inauguration of their successors. The video below shows then-President Barack Obama and then-Vice-President Joe Biden greeting the former Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and their spouses at Trump’s Inauguration in 2017. While Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend the inauguration (if invited), President Donald Trump announced that he will skip President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. This will be the fourth time in US history that a departing president would refuse to attend their successor’s inauguration.

Which of the things listed above were you surprised to discover actually happens on Inauguration Day? Do you think President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will attend the 2021 Presidential Inauguration? Let us know your answers to both questions down below in the comments section!

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Brianna Oard

I am currently a senior at The University of Miami. I will graduate in December 2021 with a major in Journalism and minor in Sports Administration.

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