20th January 2021 marks the end of Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency and the beginning of a new political era in the USA. Joe Biden’s inauguration will see him sworn in as the 46th president, alongside Kamala Harris, the nation’s first female vice president.
What Happens During the Inauguration?
The new president and vice president will swear Oaths of Office in front of the US Capitol building in Washington DC. President Joe Biden will then give an inaugural address, his first chance to speak to the nation as its leader.
There will also be a memorial to those who have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While previous inaugurations have drawn enormous crowds, today’s events will look very different.
What’s Different This Year?
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Mayor of Washington DC has urged Americans not to travel to the capital. There will instead be a virtual parade and several online celebrations. Strict social distancing guidelines will be in place.
Plus, following an attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, security will be tighter than ever. At least 10,000 National Guard troops will be in Washington DC and fewer than 1,600 people will be allowed to attend the inauguration.
What Will Trump Be Doing?
Back in 2017, Barack Obama and Joe Biden attended Trump’s inauguration, as is tradition for the outgoing president and vice president. Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, will attend the inauguration but will skip Trump’s farewell event.
However, in a serious departure from convention, Trump has announced that he will not attend Biden’s inauguration. He made the announcement on Twitter before his account was permanently deleted.
The outgoing president who refused to attend an inauguration was Andrew Johnson in 1869. Johnson and Trump are two of only three US Presidents to be impeached
What Does This Mean For The UK?
The UK has always had a ‘special relationship’ with our neighbours across the pond. Many people in the UK are looking forward to Joe Biden’s presidency, eager to see the back of Trump’s turbulent years in office.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to congratulate Joe Biden once the US election results became clear back in November. A former adviser says that Biden “believes deeply in teamwork between the US and its traditional European allies.”
However, the relationship between President and Prime Minister may not be smooth sailing. Johnson ruffled a few feathers back in 2016 over his comments about Obama’s Kenyan ancestry. In addition, Johnson and Biden have different views on Brexit. Joe Biden supported then-President Obama’s position against the UK leaving the EU, while Boris Johnson fought an election on the promise of ‘getting Brexit done’.
Nonetheless, the two leaders have lots of views in common, especially climate change. Both have publicly committed to setting new targets for the reduction of carbon emissions.
How Can I Watch The Inauguration?
Here in the UK, you’ll be able to watch the inauguration online and on television. The ceremony will take place at 12:00 US time (17:00 in the UK). BBC One’s TV coverage starts at 15:30 UK time and continues until 18:00.
UK news outlets will also be covering the inauguration online with livestreams and rolling updates.