A joint congressional committee overseeing the events said its working to ensure events are "safe and showcase our determined democracy"

By Sean Neumann
January 08, 2021 02:45 PM
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The Jan. 20 inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will move forward, a congressional committee responsible for planning and hosting the events said this week.

The announcement — made by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies — came after Wednesday’s deadly riots in the U.S. Capitol, after President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to rally to the building with congressional lawmakers inside. Five people have died in connection with the riots, including a Capitol Police officer.

There have been heightened security concerns around the Capitol since the pro-Trump supporters were able to overrun police, bypass barricades, and break into the building while the country’s top lawmakers were inside.

Congressional lawmakers have called for investigations into the security failure, while U.S. Capitol Police chief Steven Sund announced on Thursday that he would resign amid backlash over the law enforcement response.

Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt confirmed the Inauguration Day events would carry on in a JCCIC statement published Thursday. The senators called the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol building “a sad and solemn day for our country.”

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during the 2020 campaign
| Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“The outrageous attack on the Capitol, however, will not stop us from affirming to Americans—and the world—that our democracy endures,” the senators said. “Our committee’s bipartisan, bicameral membership remains committed to working with our many partners to execute ceremonies that are safe and showcase our determined democracy.”

President-elect Joe Biden
| Credit: Andrew Harnik/AFP/Getty
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

The Jan. 20 ceremonies have already faced unprecedented challenges due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

At least 365,495 people have died from the COVID-19 respiratory illness as of Friday, according to a New York Times tracker. More than 21.6 million people across the U.S. have tested positive for the virus.

Earlier this month, Inauguration Day organizers asked the public to watch the events from home due to the pandemic.

Biden, 78, and Harris, 56, will still be sworn in “on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol” during the mostly virtual event, the congressional committee said.

The Inauguration Day events will include a "virtual parade across America," the committee said in an announcement earlier this month. The parade "will celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions, and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era,” Presidential Inauguration Committee CEO Tony Allen said in a statement.

Participants in the events will be announced in the coming weeks, Allen added, and they will include "musical acts, local bands, poets, dance troupes, and more paying homage to America’s heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic."

Trump, 74, said on Friday that he will not be attending the inauguration, joining a small list of presidents who refused to stick around for the official transition. Vice President Mike Pence, whose relationship with Trump has dramatically soured this week, is likely planning on attending the event, Politico reports.

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush have confirmed they will attend in-person, while it’s also expected former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will be present.