Speed Reads

biden inauguration

Biden's Inauguration Day begins at church and ends at the White House

President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th U.S. president outside the U.S. Capitol at noon on Wednesday, amid heavy security and hours after President Trump leaves Washington, D.C., for Florida. Biden will start the day with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, their spouses, and the top congressional leaders: Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The inauguration ceremony will begin at 11:15, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office at noon, with Biden's hand on his family Bible. Justice Sonia Sotomayor will swear in Harris. While Trump is skipping the inauguration, outgoing Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend. The theme of Biden's inaugural address is the aspirational "America United."

After they are sworn in, Biden and Harris will conduct a pass in review of military service members, then lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all of whom are attending the inauguration, will also take part in the wreath-laying ceremony. Biden and Harris will travel to the White House under escort form every branch of the U.S. military at 3:15 p.m., and Biden is scheduled to start signing a raft of executive orders at 5:15.

Due to security risks and the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no crowd on the mall — there are flags instead — and the traditional inaugural balls have been replaced with a prime time "Celebrating America" TV event hosted by Tom Hanks and featuring top musical acts, from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Biden and Harris will deliver remarks at 8:48. Biden's Inauguration Day is scheduled to end with a 9:55 p.m. appearance on the Blue Room Balcony of the White House with first lady Jill Biden.