NationalStacy M. Brown

D.C. Preps for Unusual Presidential Inauguration Ceremony

The Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as America’s 46th president and vice president promises to be like no other that the District of Columbia, or the world, has seen.

The pandemic has restricted much of the usual pomp and circumstance — there will be no parade — and government officials are limiting the crowd to a relative and select few.

But as much as the pandemic has dampened plans, the riot by an angry mob of outgoing President Donald Trump supporters has left the Capitol in shambles.

The act of domestic terrorism has the nation reeling and federal and local police on edge.

Festivities are scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. with the theme, “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union.”

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, along with their respective former first ladies, have all said they will attend.

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife have decided not to attend. Carter is 96.

After serving a permanent suspension from Twitter, Trump re-emerged to announce that he would not attend.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20,” Trump tweeted.

The president will join a small group of outgoing presidents who did not attend his successor’s inauguration.

John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson all declined the attend. Most recently, after resigning in 1973, Richard Nixon skipped Gerald Ford’s inauguration.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), an avid Trump supporter who voted to toss out Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes, joined some others urging the president to attend.

“I am urging the president to reconsider his decision to skip the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Of course, he is not constitutionally required to attend, and I can imagine losing an election is very hard, but I believe he should attend,” Scott remarked in a statement.

Traditionally, the inaugural ceremony is held at the West Front of the Capitol.

During Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, more than 1.8 million people attended the ceremonies.

Slightly more than 1 million attended Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

For Trump’s 2017 swearing-in, about 800,000 were in attendance.

Under ordinary circumstances, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies reportedly distributes more than 200,000 tickets to congressional offices for their constituents.

This year, each office will receive just two tickets.

The committee has joined health officials in urging people not to go to Washington because of the pandemic.

Another traditional part of the ceremonies that will not occur is the parade that usually traverses Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. However, a televised virtual parade that showcases communities around the nation will take place.

Biden plans to walk to the White House with a socially distanced escort.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, one day before the inauguration, a lighting ceremony that honors those who lost their lives due to the coronavirus is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Organizers have invited all of America’s communities to light their buildings and ring church bells to observe the moment.

“In the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation,” Pili Tobar, the communications director for the inaugural committee, said in a news release.

For additional information about all inauguration-related events, visit the Presidential Inaugural Committee at https://www.inaugural.senate.gov.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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