Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and what will it look like during Covid-19?

Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20.  Despite ongoing tensions with Donald Trump over the 2020 Election, the traditional outdoor ceremony is set to go ahead - though the coronavirus pandemic could scale back the usual celebrations. When and where is Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony? In keeping with tradition, the inauguration will be held on Wednesday January 20, in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC.  Mr Biden will be required to take an inaugural oath before assuming his duties and will deliver a public address.  Why is there a gap between the election and presidential inauguration? The election was held on November 3 2020, but Mr Biden does not officially become president until over two months later. Until 1933, the new president was inaugurated on March 4, four months after election day. This was then shortened to around two months with the ratification of the 20th Amendment. The time between US election and inauguration allows for the incumbent to tie up any loose ends, and for the incoming president to prepare for his tenure by working on policy and appointing his cabinet. This has been complicated by Mr Trump as he legally contests the election result.  Donald Trump, with his wife Melania Trump, is sworn in as President at the US Capitol in 2017 Credit: AFP What about the contested election? Still refusing to accept that he lost, Mr Trump has called for a massive rally in Washington DC on Jan 6, the day when both houses of Congress meet to formally confirm Joe Biden's election. Mr Biden says nothing will stop the transfer of power, even as Mr Trump’s claims of election fraud rumble on in the courts. Mr Trump discussed the possibility of imposing martial law to overturn the election with Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, it was reported in the US. Court after court has rejected legal bids to overturn Mr Trump's defeat. Will Donald Trump be there? Mr Trump has done nothing to make the path to Inauguration Day simple for Mr Biden, and the likelihood he will attend the ceremony appears increasingly doubtful.  If Mr Trump declines to attend on January 20, he will break a decades-long tradition. Usually, the person departing the White House would welcome their predecessor to the Oval Office and attend the swearing-in ceremony.  Both Mr Biden and Barack Obama attended Mr Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017. The president’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was also present, as were former presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Jimmy Carter.  On the subject of Trump's attendance, Mr Blunt, who is the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies shared that he is "confident" he will see "both Vice President Biden and President Trump on the stage on Inaugural Day". He then went on to highlight how that would be a "powerful message, no matter which and that will be a powerful message, no matter which one of them is sworn in." How will the coronavirus impact inauguration plans? This time the ceremony could also break traditions because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The US has seen the worst outbreak in the world, recording more deaths and cases than any other country. Festivities are likely to be scaled back, with public health measures including mandatory mask-wearing, temperature checks and social distancing in place.  What will Joe Biden say? Every president since George Washington has delivered the Inaugural Address. Mr Trump spoke for 16 minutes during his vow to break the “established order” and “make America great again”. For Mr Biden, the focus is likely to be on the cornerstones of his policies: the pandemic, the economy, climate change and health care. It also seems likely he will touch upon the issue of uniting Americans again - whether they voted for him or not. This issue has already been a key theme of his commentary so far. "With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Mr Biden said in a statement. “It's time for America to unite.” Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Credit: AFP And what about Kamala Harris? Vice president-elect Kamala Harris will take the inaugural oath but before Mr Biden. Ms Harris will be the nation’s first female vice president.  She will swear to “support and defend the Constitution” and “faithfully discharge the duties of the office”.  Who will perform? As of yet, there is no news on who will perform at the ceremony. During Mr Trump’s inauguration, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and teenage soprano Jackie Evancho joined him on stage. In 2013, Mr Obama had American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, among others. 

Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and what will it look like during Covid-19?

Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20. 

Despite ongoing tensions with Donald Trump over the 2020 Election, the traditional outdoor ceremony is set to go ahead - though the coronavirus pandemic could scale back the usual celebrations.

When and where is Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony?

In keeping with tradition, the inauguration will be held on Wednesday January 20, in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC. 

Mr Biden will be required to take an inaugural oath before assuming his duties and will deliver a public address. 

Why is there a gap between the election and presidential inauguration?

The election was held on November 3 2020, but Mr Biden does not officially become president until over two months later.

Until 1933, the new president was inaugurated on March 4, four months after election day. This was then shortened to around two months with the ratification of the 20th Amendment.

The time between US election and inauguration allows for the incumbent to tie up any loose ends, and for the incoming president to prepare for his tenure by working on policy and appointing his cabinet.

This has been complicated by Mr Trump as he legally contests the election result. 

Donald Trump, with his wife Melania Trump, is sworn in as President at the US Capitol in 2017 Credit: AFP

What about the contested election?

Still refusing to accept that he lost, Mr Trump has called for a massive rally in Washington DC on Jan 6, the day when both houses of Congress meet to formally confirm Joe Biden's election.

Mr Biden says nothing will stop the transfer of power, even as Mr Trump’s claims of election fraud rumble on in the courts.

Mr Trump discussed the possibility of imposing martial law to overturn the election with Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, it was reported in the US.

Court after court has rejected legal bids to overturn Mr Trump's defeat.

Will Donald Trump be there?

Mr Trump has done nothing to make the path to Inauguration Day simple for Mr Biden, and the likelihood he will attend the ceremony appears increasingly doubtful. 

If Mr Trump declines to attend on January 20, he will break a decades-long tradition. Usually, the person departing the White House would welcome their predecessor to the Oval Office and attend the swearing-in ceremony. 

Both Mr Biden and Barack Obama attended Mr Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017. The president’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was also present, as were former presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Jimmy Carter. 

On the subject of Trump's attendance, Mr Blunt, who is the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies shared that he is "confident" he will see "both Vice President Biden and President Trump on the stage on Inaugural Day". He then went on to highlight how that would be a "powerful message, no matter which and that will be a powerful message, no matter which one of them is sworn in."

How will the coronavirus impact inauguration plans?

This time the ceremony could also break traditions because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The US has seen the worst outbreak in the world, recording more deaths and cases than any other country.

Festivities are likely to be scaled back, with public health measures including mandatory mask-wearing, temperature checks and social distancing in place. 

What will Joe Biden say?

Every president since George Washington has delivered the Inaugural Address. Mr Trump spoke for 16 minutes during his vow to break the “established order” and “make America great again”.

For Mr Biden, the focus is likely to be on the cornerstones of his policies: the pandemic, the economy, climate change and health care.

It also seems likely he will touch upon the issue of uniting Americans again - whether they voted for him or not. This issue has already been a key theme of his commentary so far.

"With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Mr Biden said in a statement. “It's time for America to unite.”

Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Credit: AFP

And what about Kamala Harris?

Vice president-elect Kamala Harris will take the inaugural oath but before Mr Biden. Ms Harris will be the nation’s first female vice president. 

She will swear to “support and defend the Constitution” and “faithfully discharge the duties of the office”. 

Who will perform?

As of yet, there is no news on who will perform at the ceremony.

During Mr Trump’s inauguration, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and teenage soprano Jackie Evancho joined him on stage.

In 2013, Mr Obama had American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, among others.