Trump inauguration: the day many thought, prayed would never come


Preparations for the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, Washington DC
Preparations for the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, Washington DC
In the next 24 hours, the United States' 45th President will be sworn into office. What happens in Washington DC?

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to stream into Washington on 20 January to watch as President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th US president.

All eyes will be on the US Capitol as Mr Trump formally replaces President Barack Obama in the White House.

Here is a guide to the historic transition.

What is a presidential inauguration?

The newly elected US president is sworn into office by the Chief Justice of the United States every four years at noon on 20 January, as prescribed by the Constitution.

The incoming president was historically inaugurated on 4 March, but the period of delay was shortened when the 20th Amendment was ratified in 1933.

The oath is part of a ceremony marking the peaceful transition of power on the steps in front of the US Capitol.

The ceremony is then followed by a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and later celebrated through a series of inaugural balls.

What is the schedule of events (Washington time)?


  • 10:35am A day-long public concert held at the Lincoln Memorial begins with performances by the DC Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, the Republican Hindu Coalition and high school marching bands
  • 3:30pm Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence attend a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honour veterans
  • 4pm Mr Trump delivers remarks during the second half of Lincoln Memorial concert, where country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood will perform


  • Mr Trump attends service at St John’s Episcopal Church near the White House
  • Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, have morning tea with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The couples will then take a motorcade to the Capitol
  • 9:30am Inauguration ceremony begins with musical performances
  • 11:30am Opening remarks followed by Supreme Court Justice swearing in Mr Pence
  • Noon Mr Trump will recite the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Roberts. He will then deliver his inaugural address
  • 3pm-5pm Mr Trump and Mr Pence will embark on a 2.4km parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, which will probably be lined with supporters and protesters
  • 7pm-11pm Mr Trump, Mr Pence and their wives will attend three official inaugural balls


  • 10am Mr Trump and Mr Pence attend the interfaith National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral
  • 10am The Women’s March on Washington begins

Who is going to be there?

President Obama and the first lady will accompany Mr Trump in a motorcade to the US Capitol for the official ceremony, where they will be joined by members of Congress, politicians as well as supporters.

Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, who lost to Mr Trump in November’s election, are expected to attend.

George W Bush and his wife, Laura, as well as Jimmy Carter have also confirmed they will attend the ceremony.

George HW Bush, who was in hospital for respiratory problems, wrote a letter to Mr Trump wishing him well and apologising for missing the event due to health concerns.

An estimated 800,000 to 900,000 people are expected to flood the nation’s capital on Friday for the inauguration, but it is unclear whether they will be there in celebration or protest, officials said.

President Barack Obama drew an estimated 1.8 million people to Washington when he took office eight years ago.

The level of enthusiasm and demand for hotel rooms has not reached that of previous inaugurations, according the city’s convention and tourism bureau.

In fact, some hotels have reduced the minimum-night stay from four nights to two.

Other hotels are only 50% full, but higher-end hotels appeared to have more bookings, he added.

Who is not going?

More than 50 House Democrats are publicly refusing to attend the ceremony amid a feud between the newly elected president and the civil rights activist and congressman, John Lewis.

Mr Lewis is among the congressmen who will not be in attendance. Some lawmakers have said they will instead attend the Women’s March on Washington, a protest set to take place a day after the inauguration.

What are the protests about?

Several demonstrations both protesting and supporting Mr Trump will take place around the city over the weekend.

Most notably, the Women’s March on Washington is estimated to draw crowds of 200,000 people on 21 January.

It sets out to demonstrate for racial and gender equality, affordable healthcare, abortion rights and voting rights – issues perceived to be under threat from a Trump presidency.

The motorcycle group Bikers for Trump will also host a rally for the incoming president after the ceremony and before the inauguration parade.

Other protests include:

  • Anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons rally attended by former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein
  • #DisruptJ20 Festival of Resistance, organised by the DC Counter-Inaugural Welcoming Committee
  • #Trump420 march, hosted by marijuana advocates who plan to hand out 4,200 free joints (which is legal in Washington)

How is Mr Trump celebrating?

Mr Trump has enlisted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Radio City Rockettes, country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, 3 Doors Down as well as America’s Got Talent contestant and singer Jackie Evancho to perform over the course of two days.

Actor Jon Voight will also be in attendance, but it is unclear if he will speak or sing.

Ms Evancho, who took second place on the talent show, will sing the national anthem.

The Trump transition team has reportedly struggled to secure high-profile entertainers.

A number of artists turned down the opportunity to play, including Elton John, Welsh opera singer Charlotte Church and American DJ Moby.

Dreamgirls star Jennifer Holliday announced she had dropped an inauguration performance to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community while a Bruce Springsteen tribute band also decided to skip the event out of respect for the Boss, who is vocally critical of Mr Trump.

The newly sworn-in president and vice-president will also stop by three official inaugural balls, which are typically attended by the incoming administration’s supporters.

When does he start work?

The soon-to-be 45th president has vowed to roll back many of Mr Obama’s policies on “day one” in office, but it is unclear whether that begins on Friday or Monday.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told a news conference on Wednesday the president-elect may take four or five executive actions after he is sworn in on Friday.

But Mr Trump told The Times of London earlier this week that “day one” would not begin until Monday.

“I mean my day one is going to be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration,” he told the newspaper.



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