An inauguration like no other


Joe Biden answers a question at the community event in Ames on Jan. 21, 2020.

Mallory Tope

From extensive security to virtual affairs, the 59th presidential inauguration will be like no other inauguration in history.  

At 12 p.m. (Eastern Time), President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn into office, making them the 46th president and vice president of the United States. 

In the wake of violent threats and the Capitol riot, 25,000 National Guard troops have been deployed as security for the inauguration. 

“This inauguration is going to look differently than previous inaugurations. I think we all know that,” said Michael Plati, the Secret Service special agent in charge of leading security planning for the inauguration. 

Over the last week, National Guard troops from all 50 states have relocated to the U.S. Capitol for safety precautions after numerous threats of violence, according to the Defense Department. 

“We don’t know if there will be any major terrorist event,” said Mack Shelley, Iowa State University chairman and professor of political science. 

The inauguration’s theme is “America United,” which aligns with Biden’s plan to partake in placing a wreath in Arlington with former presidents Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton, who announced they would be attending after President Donald Trump announced he would not be attending the inauguration.

Biden and Harris will lay the wreath in Arlington National Cemetery on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony will be Biden’s first act as the new commander in chief. 

“This theme is a dire necessity due to the recent events,” Shelley said. “Biden is saying that even if you don’t agree with me or my policies, we still must stay united.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inauguration will be closed to the public and will instead be broadcasted. 

The inauguration committee scaled back celebrations due to the ongoing pandemic.

“There are many grand traditions to the inaugural, and we plan to honor them by highlighting more of our nation’s people than ever before while keeping everyone safe,” said Tony Allen Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) CEO in a statement.

The traditional inauguration parade stretches from the U.S. Capitol to the White House to a short military escorted walk to the White House. 

Parade-like festivities will be televised, “‘Virtual Parade Across America’ featuring diverse, dynamic performances in communities across the country,” PIC said in a statement. 

In light for those watching the inauguration at home, Biden and Harris have released an inauguration playlist to listen to at home along with the inauguration.

This 46-song playlist features a spectrum of artists from Dua Lipa to Stevie Wonder. 

Trump announced he would not be attending the inauguration, making him one of four presidents not to attend the president-elect’s inauguration. 

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

Shelley said by not attending the inauguration, “Trump is playing like a sore loser.”

“Not many presidents go out like this; most attend their successor’s inauguration,” Shelley said.