WASHINGTON — Public health guidance to avoid big parties in the age of coronavirus is about to collide with the swearing-in of a new president. There are also reports President Donald Trump may use his last morning in office to plan a send-off and possibly a rally.
With lots of details to be worked out, this year's event honoring President-elect Joe Biden is sure to be more subdued than prior inaugural days.
Trump has not publicly said whether or not he will attend the swearing in on January 20, as traditionally the outgoing president has done before welcoming the new president to the White House. Aides have not speculated what he plans to do.
Trump may plan a “made-for-TV” moment on his last day in office, according to Axios. Sources say Trump is considering a White House departure on Marine One and a final Air Force One flight to Florida to attend a political rally.
There is some speculationTrump will announce a presidential campaign run in 2024 on Inauguration Day, according to NBC News.
Meanwhile, Biden this week has named top Democrats to the committee putting the day’s events together, including Representative James Clyburn, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti.
A giant parade down Pennsylvania Avenue isn't likely. Fancy balls may morph into virtual events. The traditional luncheon where lawmakers offer best wishes to the new president might not include food this year.
As for the swearing-in itself, the inaugural platform on the Capitol’s West Front is going up just like always, but it probably won’t be as crowded. Some estimate the platform will hold fewer than 1,600 people, all wearing masks and socially distant.
The choir that typically sings behind the new president may not happen, however the Marine Band, which has played at every inauguration since 1801, is still scheduled to participate.
Aides working to plan the day’s events say perception matters, and holding indoor events, including food and drink, could send the wrong message to Americans who have been repeatedly told to limit gatherings and wear masks.