President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump walk at a pre-Inaugural “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (Source: AP Photo)
America’s interest in inauguration has grown over the decades. When President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the US today, this will be the 58th formal presidential inaugural ceremony since 1789. In all, US Presidents have been sworn into office 70 times – usually in public, sometimes in private following the death or resignation of a President, or because Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday. Notably, the US Senate oversaw the first 28 Inaugurations of both the President and Vice President.
But it was in February 4, 1901, that the Senate approved a concurrent resolution to create the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). The Senate and House of Representatives then appointed members on February 5, 1901. Since then, all Inaugural Ceremonies at the US Capitol have been organised by the JCCIC. However, a separate Presidential Inaugural Committee, appointed by the President-elect, has the responsibility for all official inaugural events other than those held at the Capitol Hill.
The military also plays a role with the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, which coordinates all military participation and support for the Inaugural Ceremonies. Although the US Constitution specified the oath to be taken by the President, the Framers of the Constitution provided that Congress would determine when and where the inauguration would take place.
America’s interest in inauguration has grown over the decades. By late 1820s, what had typically been a small, indoor ceremony moved outdoors, allowing more people to witness this important event first hand.
By the end of the 19th century, the Presidential Inauguration had evolved into an elaborate day-long event, marked by parades, fireworks, luncheons, and glamorous Inaugural Balls.
As per the schedule, the vice president-elect Mike Pence would be sworn in first, followed by Trump at noon local time. Following the swearing in JCCIC will host a congressional luncheon for the new President and the Vice President. Approximately 200 guests including members of their families, the Supreme Court, Cabinet designees, and members of Congressional leadership are expected to attend the event in Statuary Hall.
The First President George Washington dined alone after his inauguration in 1789, but in the modern era, the JCCIC has hosted a luncheon at the Capitol following the swearing-in ceremonies.