Here’s what to expect at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration
Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in Wednesday in Washington, D.C., becoming the 46th president of the U.S.
His inauguration will look different than in years past because of the coronavirus pandemic and added security measures due to mob violence at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
Here’s what to expect at Biden’s inauguration, which can be heard live on KTAR News 92.3 FM, online or on our app:
The event is scheduled to get underway at about 9 a.m. Arizona time at the West Front of the Capitol.
An invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance will occur before pop star Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem.
The swearing in ceremony for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled to get underway at about 10 a.m.
Biden will then deliver his first presidential address.
Who is attending?
President Donald Trump won’t be present at the inauguration, making him the first president to skip the ceremony in more than 150 years.
Vice President Mike Pence, however, has said he will attend the ceremony.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who campaigned with Trump, has also committed to attending the inauguration.
So has Cindy McCain, the wife of longtime U.S. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and who threw her support behind Biden in the election.
Ducey and McCain both posted Tuesday that they were already in D.C.
Three former presidents will also be in attendance.
What’s the theme?
The theme for Biden’s inauguration will be “America United,” an issue that’s long been a central focus for Biden but one that’s taken on added weight in the wake of the violence at the Capitol.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee said that the theme “reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future.
In keeping with the theme of unity, the committee also announced that after he is officially inaugurated, Biden, Vice President-elect Harris and their spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, and will be joined there by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their wives.
It will be one of Biden’s first acts as president, and a show of bipartisanship at a time when the national divide is on stark display.
What effect will COVID-19 have?
Typically, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which is in charge of putting together the inauguration, makes 200,000 tickets available for members of Congress.
This year, every lawmaker gets just two tickets and the total attendance is expected to be about 1,000.
Several traditional events were also canceled, including the luncheon and ball.
They were replaced by virtual events.
How tight will security be?
U.S. Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol days earlier than usual in preparation, and the city center is essentially on lockdown with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of troops and law enforcement officers stationed around the area.
About 25,000 members of the National Guard are streaming into Washington from across the country — at least two and a half times the number for previous inaugurals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.