As the presidential inauguration rapidly approaches, many people are likely wondering how the logistics of the event will unfold, and when the official transition of presidential power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump will take place. Thus, here is a look at some Inauguration Day details, including what time Donald Trump's presidency officially starts.
The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution actually establishes the precise date and time at which a new president must take office. According to the amendment, a new president is sworn in and takes office at noon on Jan. 20. Thus, Obama will still be president of the United States up until noon on Jan. 20, and, at noon, Trump will be sworn in and will officially become president of the United States, ending Obama's term.
Trump will be sworn in as president by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building. After he takes the oath of office, Trump will deliver an inaugural address, which, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), is typically used by an incoming president to "present their vision of America and to set forth their goals for the nation."
Following his inaugural address, Trump will participate in a host of activities in accordance with long-held Inauguration Day traditions. First, he will attend a traditional congressional luncheon hosted by the JCCIC. He then will participate in the Inauguration Day parade, which will begin at the Capitol Building and then continue along Pennsylvania Avenue all the way to the White House. In addition to Trump's motorcade, the parade will feature various marching bands, members of the armed forces, and civic and cultural organizations, among other entities.
Finally, Inauguration Day events will culminate inaugural balls. According to Western Journalism, Trump will attend two official inaugural balls, as well as an unofficial armed services ball that honors veterans and currently enlisted armed services members.
In addition to the strict timeline of events planned for Inauguration Day on Jan. 21, the Presidential Inauguration Committee has also indicated that Trump plans to participate in inauguration-related activities both before and after Inauguration Day. These activities include a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery and a "Make America Great Again" welcome celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19, and a National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral on Jan. 21.
Overall, it is very clear that both law and tradition set very precise precedents and schedules for Inauguration Day (and week) procedures. The transfer of power from Obama to Trump at noon on Jan. 20 as well as the follow-up Inauguration Day events are demonstrative of the emphasis that is placed on tradition and procedure in peacefully transferring power from one president to the next in the United States.