WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inaugural committee released new details Sunday about his trip to the White House following his swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol, further underscoring the scaled-down and largely virtual nature of his inauguration day plans.
After the oath of office, Mr. Biden will conduct a traditional review of military forces to highlight the peaceful transfer of power, the president’s inaugural committee said in a statement. The committee also said Mr. Biden would get an official escort with representatives from all branches of the military for a city block before arriving at the White House.
The statement left many details unclear, including the nature of Mr. Biden’s remainder of the journey from approximately 1.5 miles from the Capitol to the White House. According to a long tradition, a huge column of President cars rolls slowly down Pennsylvania Avenue past thousands of cheering spectators, with the newly-inducted President covering part of the distance.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the inaugural committee has urged Americans not to travel to Washington for this event. The committee hopes to deter large crowds from transmitting the virus, which kills more than 2,000 Americans every day.
Instead of the great, personal extravagances of the past few years, the opening committee planned a “virtual parade” across the country, which will show “the iconic images of a new president, a new vice president and their families on their way to the White House” along with “musicians, local bands, poets, dance troops and more paying homage to America’s heroes on the front lines of the pandemic ”.
Committee officials plan to mimick the various segments from across the nation that aired during the Democratic National Convention in August, when the spread of the virus also banned large physical gatherings.
Mr Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have each been vaccinated against the coronavirus and are therefore exposed to little personal risk. However, the inauguration officials hope to avoid an event that could aggravate the raging spread of the virus across the country and model behavior that reflects public health guidelines.
The announcement on Sunday came days later Workers dismantled a large parade viewing stand That had been built in front of the White House in the last few weeks, apparently with some hope of something a little more traditional. But the continued spread of the virus has made this impossible.
Maju Varghese, the executive director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee – a nonprofit funded by private donations – said in a statement that the committee works for “an inclusive and accessible celebration that brings Americans together and unites our nation, especially such difficult times time for our country. “
The proposed “Pass in Review,” with Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris looking at uniformed service members, will take place on the east side of the Capitol after Mr. Biden swears in on the west side of the building. There he is supposed to deliver a speech to the nation, which is flanked by a reduced gathering of government officials and dignitaries.
The traditional military review is in part intended to recall the United States’ tradition of peaceful transfer of power, but its announcement came on a day when this fundamental aspect of American democracy was being called into question.
An audio recording of a Saturday telephone conversation was released on Sunday in which President Trump pressured Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him to overthrow the election and put Mr. Raffensperger with “an offense” threatened. Also on Sunday together 10 former defense ministers published a statement in the Washington Post warns of any political interference by the Pentagon in the presidential change, whose leadership Mr Trump has teamed up with loyalists since the November election.
It remains unclear whether Mr Trump plans to attend Mr Biden’s inauguration, let alone attend the new President’s traditional welcome to the White House before a limousine ride to the Capitol for the ceremony. The opening committee’s statement made no mention of the outgoing president and a committee official had no further details.