When does Joe Biden get sworn in? US inauguration 2021 explained - and what to expect from the day

Joe Biden will become President of the United States on 20 January

Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated today, after he was formally confirmed as the next President of the United States by Congress on 6 January.

This was despite the Capitol building riots that disrupted the certification process and have led to President Donald Trump being impeached for the second time for “inciting” the violent mob that carried out the attack.

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As Mr Trump faces a Senate trial, here’s everything you need to know about when president-elect Joe Biden will take office.

Could Joe Biden be inaugurated sooner? (Shutterstock)
Could Joe Biden be inaugurated sooner? (Shutterstock)

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When will Joe Biden take office?

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are scheduled to take office on 20 January 2021.

Donald Trump had been relying on his vice-president, Mike Pence, who was presiding over the session of Congress, to block certification of the election result.

Pro-Trump rioters storm the Capitol building (Getty Images)

Yet, to President Trump’s frustration, Mr Pence confirmed on Wednesday 6 January that he had no "unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted".

After the president’s supporters were cleared from the building after more than five hours, session resumed and lawmakers certified Joe Biden’s 306 electoral votes, to President Trump’s 232.

Mr Trump has since released a statement saying while he “totally disagrees” with the outcome of the election, he will hand over the presidency to Mr Biden on the traditional inauguration date – although he himself will not be present at the ceremony.

The statement read: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”

However, since then Mr Trump has become the only US president in history to be impeached for a second time when the House of Representatives accused him of encouraging violence with his false claims of election fraud.

Mr Trump now faces trial in the Senate, but that will not happen before Biden is sworn in as president.

When does the next president traditionally take office?

The new president has always been inaugurated on 20 January, a date which is enshrined in the US constitution.

Inauguration Day is usually a huge ceremony hosted at the Capitol building in Washington DC, which sees hundreds of thousands of people flock to the city - but the coronavirus pandemic will change proceedings significantly this year.

Joe Biden’s team has said the celebrations will be “extremely limited” for safety, and it has urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital.

Opening remarks are usually scheduled for around 11:30 EST (16:30 GMT), with Biden and Harris scheduled to be sworn in at midday.

The vice president-elect will be sworn into office first, followed by the president who takes the oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.”

After the swearing-in ceremony, Biden and Harris will take part in a “Pass in Review” - a review of troops meant to reflect a peaceful transfer of power - according to the New York Times.

This will then be followed by the president’s inaugural address, which, again breaking with tradition, will be delivered to a limited number of government officials.

The inaugural address gives the new president an opportunity to speak directly to American citizens and outline their plans for the next term.

What will happen after the inauguration?

Following the swearing-in ceremonies, the outgoing president should then leave the Capitol along with the First Lady.

However, President Trump has said he will not attend Biden’s inauguration.

Biden transition officials have previously said that whether Trump attends the inauguration or not won’t affect their plans.

After his inaugural address, Biden and Harris are then set to receive a “presidential escort” to the White House.

This inaugural parade usually attracts huge crowds who watch the president head to his new residence, but this year the traditional procession will partly consist of the presidential escort, with the rest of the parade reimagined in virtual form.

Other traditional inaugural activities will also be virtual due to Covid-19, with the president-elect telling Americans to expect “something that is closer to what the convention was like than a typical inauguration”.

Usually, there is a post-inauguration luncheon, when members of Congress formally welcome the new president and vice-president in a symbolic display of bipartisanship.

However, Biden’s inaugural planners have confirmed the long-standing tradition has been cancelled this year.