WPRI 12 News Washington DC Bureau

Biden’s inauguration to look different due to pandemic, safety concerns

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (WPRI) — Inauguration Day typically means millions of Americans will be flooding into the nation’s capital, but not this year.

Between the ongoing pandemic and recent security concerns, many of the historic day’s events are going virtual.

In addition to the Secret Service, at least 10,000 National Guard troops will provide security where last week’s deadly riot took place.

American history expert Michael Vorenberg says the U.S. has seen potentially dangerous inaugurals in the past.

“The Lincoln inaugurals, for example, the first one in 1861 happened in the midst of secessions of a number of states and there was some threat to his life,” he explained. “In 1865, the war had been going on for three years, but again, there were armed people to guard against dangerous folks.”

Biden announced Monday that he is not afraid to take the oath of office outside and will be sworn in as planned on the steps of the Capitol.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced he would not be in attendance.

“The inaugural, typically in the past 20 years, is about the transition of power, so as a result, the outgoing and incoming president interact,” Vorenberg added.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will lay a wreath at the Capitol, with other scaled-back events like parades and balls to follow.

Vorenberg said just because the events will be virtual, does not mean they are unimportant.

“I don’t think the significance of it will be lost,” he said.

Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

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