Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday in a ceremony like no other, as crowds are being kept to a minimum amid the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of violence after the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
There are a full slate of activities planned for the president-elect’s big day, but tradition has been upended. Instead of in-person, lavish inaugural balls, for example, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will participate in a star-studded prime-time program called “Celebrating America.” The National Mall, where millions have gathered to watch historic events, is closed as a security measure, and about 25,000 National Guard troops are expected in Washington for the inaugural ceremonies.
Here’s a look at the main events of the day.
What time does the program begin?
Biden is scheduled to arrive at the U.S. Capitol at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Harris — who will be the first woman, the first Black American and first South Asian American vice president — will be sworn in before Biden, by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Biden will take his oath of office at noon, being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The presidential inaugural committee says the ceremonies are expected to be shown on all major networks and platforms, as well as BidenInaugural.org/watch.
What is the theme of Biden’s inaugural speech?
The committee says Biden’s inaugural address will lay out “his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation.” He’ll give the speech immediately after being sworn in.
President Donald Trump won’t attend the ceremony. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their spouses will join Biden and his wife Jill at a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, following the inaugural ceremonies.
Will there be a parade?
Yes, but like other events, it will be virtual. The time isn’t yet scheduled, but the committee says the “Parade Across America” will be televised and feature communities around the country.
What time is the “Celebrating America” special?
Beginning at 8:30 p.m., the 90-minute program will feature remarks from both Biden and Harris and performances by artists including Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Bruce Springsteen. The event will be hosted by actor Tom Hanks. It will be carried live by major networks and cable outlets including MSNBC and CNN, and available on social-media channels like YouTube.
U.S. stocks SPX, +0.91% were higher Tuesday as investors awaited the Biden swearing in and also digested headlines from Treasury Secretary-nominee Janet Yellen’s Senate confirmation hearing.