President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have begun releasing plans for their inauguration ceremony Jan. 20. During the ceremony, Harris will become the first Black and South Asian woman to be sworn into one of the top two government positions. CBS News reports the Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee announced five co-chairs for the event, including House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Louisiana Representative Cedric Richmond, and Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester have been named the other co-chairs. All four worked for Biden’s campaign in the run-up to the election and many credit Clyburn with Biden’s comeback during the Democratic primaries.
“Kamala and I are honored and grateful to these leaders for joining our inaugural committee as co-chairs and helping to organize a safe inauguration for all Americans,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Del., Friday. “These leaders reflect the strength, spirit, and diversity of America and have always held a steadfast commitment to restoring the soul of the nation, building back the middle class, and unifying the country.”
Clyburn said this will be one of the most important inaugurations in U.S. history.
“The peaceful transfer of power surrounding the inauguration is a bedrock of American democracy that represents our nation’s highest ideals,” Clyburn, chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee told CBS. “This inauguration will show the country and the world something I have always known: We know Joe, and Joe knows us.”
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which has been responsible for planning presidential inauguration ceremonies, has approved a budget of at least $1.5 million. The theme for the event will be “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union.”
Normally, an inauguration would bring hundreds of thousands to the Washington, D.C., area. However, with the coronavirus pandemic out of control across the U.S., the event is expected to include virtual portions and to be socially distanced, which will drop the number of people in attendance.
“It is highly unlikely there will be a million people on the Mall going all the way down to the Memorial,” Biden said. “My guess is there will not be a gigantic inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
According to Essence, Washington, D.C., officials have asked those visiting the area for the event to get tested for the coronavirus within 72 hours before traveling to the area and if they test positive to stay home. If visitors plan to stay in the area for more than three days, they should get tested again while in town.
Outgoing President Donald Trump is not expected to attend the inauguration, breaking presidential tradition. Instead, he’s considering a final, dramatic White House event to in order to outshine President-elect Joe Biden where Trump is expected to admit his intention to run in 2024.