The inauguration of the president of the United States is traditionally a ceremony laden with symbolism. The Constitution gives some touches of an act governed also by customs and customs and that, on this occasion, will be marked by the absence of the outgoing president, Donald Trump, the reinforcement of security and sanitary measures derived from the COVID pandemic- 19.
On January 20, Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States. He will do so flanked by his wife, Jill Biden, and before the Chief Justice, John Roberts, and shortly after his Vice President, Kamala Harris, is sworn in, who will be the first woman to occupy the second highest political rank in the North American country.
George Washington took office on April 30, 1789 and, until 1933, the presidential terms began on March 4. The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1933, brought the ceremony forward to January 20, in an attempt to reduce the period of ‘impasse’ since the elections.
Thus, the terms of the president and vice president expire at noon on January 20, so that is when the ceremonies should be held. Exceptions to the public act are only contemplated when the date falls on Sunday, which is passed to the 21st.
The Constitution also includes in its articles the text that the future tenant of the White House is obliged to recite: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully exercise the office of President of the United States and that I will do everything possible to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. “
Washington and, more specifically, the Capitol, has been the recurring scene for the inaugurations of the presidents of the United States – more than 50 investitures have taken place before the headquarters of the main legislative body.
The pandemic has marked the preparations on this occasion, but the absence of strict rules on the ceremony allows them to be adapted to the circumstances. Ronald Reagan, for example, had to start one of his two terms indoors because of inclement weather.
The Joint Commission of the Congress on Investiture Ceremonies is responsible for coordinating the events of January 20, also the number of attendees. Traditionally, the organizers distribute around 200,000 invitations, but this time the congressmen will only be able to attend with one guest and there will be no audience.
Trump will not be on this short list, although by his own decision. Two days after a group of supporters stormed the Capitol, he confirmed that he would not attend, something that his vice president, Mike Pence, will do however, as a gesture of respect to Biden.
Trump is the fourth president in history – after John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson – not to attend the inauguration of his successor and, to find the last absence of this caliber, it is necessary to go back more than 150 years ago.
The assault on the Capitol on January 6, during the joint session of Congress to certify the votes of the last elections, has put the focus on the security of Biden’s inauguration ceremony, cataloged as a National Special Security Event (NNSE, for its acronym in English).
Several agencies have mobilized to establish a security perimeter and more than 20,000 members of the National Guard will ensure the proper development of the ceremony. As the organizing committee recalls, “the great American tradition of an investiture ceremony has occurred in times of peace and in times of turmoil,” so it should be no different in this case.
Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem during the ceremony, which also includes a performance by Jennifer Lopez. Both artists thus collect the witness of Aretha Franklin, who acted in the first inauguration of Barack Obama, and of Benyoncé, who did it in the second.
On the other hand, actor Tom Hanks will present a television special that, under the title of ‘Celebration in America’, will offer performances and message of support in prime time. It will be broadcast by most of the major networks in the country.
Biden was born in Pennsylvania, although he has spent most of his life in Delaware, where he has his residence. His presidential victory, however, also involves his move to the White House, a building that George Washington ordered built in the 19th century and in which all presidents since John Adams in 1800 have lived.
The building, baptized with its current name by Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and six floors, although the bulk of the political work takes place in the West Wing, where the Oval Office is located and what is known as the Sala de Situations.