Joe Biden’s inauguration will take place today, making him the 46th President of the United States.
The Democrat will take the reins in a moment of profound unease in US politics, with outgoing Donald Trump becoming the first President in 152 years not to attend the welcome ceremony for his successor.
With officials looking to ward off any copycat attacks on the Capitol following the insurrection just two weeks ago, and with the pandemic still rife on American soil, inauguration events have now shifted online.
The crowd will mostly be limited to members of the US Congress, Supreme Court, and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And while Trump will flee the White House this morning, soon-to-be-former vice president Mike Pence will stick around for a national anthem sung by Lady Gaga.
Today promises to be one of the most unconventional Inauguration Days in the country’s history. Here’s everything you’ll be able to stream on the day:
11am ET (4pm GMT) – Biden arrives at the US Capitol
Biden will arrive at the scene of an attempted coup that took place just a fortnight ago, with an audience squeezed from usual capacity of around 200,000 people down to about 1,000. Trump will no doubt delight in aerial footage showing a less-than-full reception for his successor.
12pm ET (5pm GMT) – Swearing in ceremony
The President-elect and his vice president Kamala Harris will take the oath of office around noon local time at the Capitol in Washington DC. Official timings are yet to be released, presumably for security reasons.
But we do know that proceedings will begin with an invocation by the Reverend Leo J O’Donovan, a Jesuit priest and former president of Georgetown University and close friend of the Biden family.
Lady Gaga, who teamed with Biden on domestic violence issues when he was vice president under Obama, will then sing the national anthem.
Amanda Gorman, who became the country’s first Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, will read a poem specially written for the occasion called The Hill We Climb.
Biden will then give his first speech as US President, which will be centred around the idea of “an America United” — a theme that he drew on throughout his presidential campaign.
The traditional luncheon that follows the inaugural ceremony and the usual inaugural ball have both been canceled. The inaugural committee is holding three “virtual” balls tonight, including one called We Are One, which will feature remarks from Harris.
Pass in Review – timing not yet disclosed
The Pass in Review will take place on the East front of the Capitol with members of the military as part of a long-standing tradition reflecting the peaceful transfer of power to a new president. Biden and Harris will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
3.15pm ET (8.15pm GMT) — Virtual Parade Across America
After the wreath ceremony, Biden and Harris will receive a presidential escort to the White House in a historical journey involving representatives from every branch of the military, as well as the drumlines for the University of Delaware and Howard University — Biden’s and Harris’ alma maters.
Ghost actor Tony Goldwyn will host the virtual parade, which will see performances and appearances from celebrities including Earth, Wind and Fire and talk show host Jon Stewart.
8.30pm ET (1.30am GMT) — Celebrating America TV special
Celebrating America, a 90-minute prime-time special hosted by Tom Hanks will round off the night with some star-studded fun.
Actresses Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the special, which will include “stories of young people making a difference in their communities.”
Scheduled performers include rock legend Bruce Springsteen (a Trump favourite), Foo Fighters, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who are all set to perform from “iconic locations across the country”.
Where can I watch Inauguration Day events?
Most of the programming for the Presidential Inauguration can also be available at bideninaugural.org/watch.