Joe Biden will lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery shortly after he takes the oath of office with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama joining him in a show of unity.
He also told reporters in Wilmington on Monday that he’s not worried about having an outdoor swearing-in ceremony on January 20th in the wake of last week’s riot on Capitol Hill, where a pro-Trump mob swarmed the stands built for his inauguration.
‘I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside,’ Biden said.
After the swearing in and a military pass and review at the Capitol, Biden will head to Arlington Cemetery with most of his predecessors in the Oval Office.
Jill Biden will also be there as will Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff – part of Biden’s inauguration theme of ‘America United.’
It will be one of Biden’s first acts as president in a display of bipartisanship.
But it will also show the increased isolation of outgoing President Donald Trump, who said last week he would not attend his successor’s swearing-in – a decision Biden said he agreed with.
Joe and Jill Biden will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington on Biden’s inauguration day – the two are seen above at a Memorial Day ceremony
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will join Biden in a display of bipartisanship and to show case the inauguration theme of ‘America United’
Former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton will also be on hand
The presidents and first ladies will come together at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery in a show of unity
Trump announced Friday that he will be a no-show Biden’s inauguration ceremony, a break with historical tradition.
The wreath laying also highlights the growing isolation of outgoing President Donald Trump
‘To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,’ he declared. He is expected to leave Washington D.C. ahead of time.
Biden indicated he was glad Trump wasn’t attending.
‘One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing him not showing up,’ he said. He noted Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to attend, is welcome.
The last president not to attend his successor’s swearing-in was President Andrew Johnson in 1869 – who had also been impeached. Both John Adams and John Quincy Adams snubbed their successors too.
Shortly after Trump announced the snub, Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton announced they would attend. George W Bush and wife Laura had already confirmed they would attend. Jimmy Carter, 96, and wife Roslynn, 93, will not attend, the first inaugural they have missed since 1977, while they attempt to keep safe from COVID.
Biden’s inauguration committee on Monday announced the new details of the upcoming ceremony and the events that will surround the transfer of power.
The team is highlighting ways to include people even as they plan for a scaled-back event. They have asked supporters to stay home and celebrate there because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The day will also include a ‘field of flags’ on the National Mall that will consist of approximately 191,500 U.S. flags of varying sizes, including flags representing every state and territory, and 56 pillars of light.
The display will represent the people unable to travel to Washington D.C. for the inauguration because of the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals can sponsor a flag through the inauguration committee.
But the fallout from Wednesday’s attack is already being felt as the city ramps up its security presence ahead of the January 20th swearing in.
The National Park Service said it would suspend tours of the Washington Monument, a major tourist site, through Jan. 24 due to safety concerns from threats to disrupt the inauguration.
Meanwhile, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday asked for additional security with nine days to go until Biden becomes the 46th president.
Bowser also asked the Interior secretary to ‘cancel any and all public gathering permits in the District of Columbia, and deny any applications for a public gathering during the period January 11 – January 24’ in order to avoid another situation like Wednesday when an unruly mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
She also asked all Americans to stay away from the event. She had already extended the city’s 6 p.m. curfew through Inauguration Day.
Her words come as Capitol Hill goes on lock down with seven-foot tall anti-climbing fencing circling the area where Biden will take the oath of office.
Additional National Guard units also have arrived in the Capitol after extra security was brought in following Wednesday’s MAGA riot that left five people dead. More than 6,000 members of the National Guard have already been deployed and as many as 13,000 guardsmen could be on hand for the January 20th ceremony.
There is also an inside location on standby in case it’s needed. But organizers are vowing the swearing-in will take place on the West Front of the Capitol, where stands have been built and seating is being arranged.
A seven-foot tall anti-climbing fence now circles the Capitol as part of enhanced security measures
U.S. National Guard members walk among the columns of the crypt beneath the U.S. Capitol rotunda days – more than 6,000 members of the National Guard have already been deployed to help with additional security
Members of the New York National Guard form up on the East Front of the Capitol
On Wednesday, the pro-Trump mob climbed to the dais where Biden will take the oath
Biden, himself, said he was not worried about his swearing-in day.
‘I am not concerned about my safety, security or the inauguration,’ he said last week.
The pro-Trump insurgents swarmed over the stands being built on the West Front of the Capitol for the upcoming ceremony.
They climbed to the dais where Biden and Harris will take the oath of office. They waved flags from stand built for TV cameras to record the swearing-in.
And they sat in the same stands nearly every member of Congress, three former presidents, and members of the Supreme Court will sit.
Little damage was caused to the construction area however, with only some of the sheets of plastic covering the stands being ripped.
A pro-Trump mob stormed the inauguration stands in front of the Capitol last week in the same area the inauguration ceremony will take place
The mob climbed onto the stand built for TV cameras to record Biden’s inauguration
Inaugurations are classified National Special Security Event, which involves a closed air space and massive police and military presence. Several federal agencies are involved in the planning.
The Secret Service is the agency responsible for the event.
‘For well over a year, the U.S. Secret Service, along with our NSSE partners, has been working tirelessly to anticipate and prepare for all possible contingencies at every level to ensure a safe and secure Inauguration Day,’ the agency said in a statement last week.
Biden already had been planning a scaled back event because of the pandemic and his team has encouraged supporters to stay home. The National Mall is typically packed with supporters to witness their candidate become president.
Workers have disbanded stands built around the White House for the inauguration parade, which will now be a virtual event.
Instead, Joe and Jill Biden, along side Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff, will participate in a socially distanced Pass in Review on the Capitol’s West side. Those are military traditions where Biden will review the readiness of military troops.
Biden will also receive a traditional presidential escort with representatives from every branch of the military from 15th Street in Washington to the White House.
That, the Presidential Inaugural Committee says, will be socially distanced too, while ‘providing the American people and world with historic images of the President-elect proceeding to the White House without attracting large crowds’.
Additionally, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have canceled the traditional luncheon held on Inauguration Day for the new president, sparing Biden a crowded sit down on Capitol Hill after he takes the oath of office.