Donald Trump is set to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States today — capping his improbable journey to the White House and beginning a four-year term that promises to shake up Washington and the world.
An estimated 800,000 people will gather on the National Mall in the centre of the nation’s capital to celebrate a man whose short 19-month political career has defied all predictions, and many norms.
Here is today’s inauguration ceremony schedule:
Friday, January 20
- 4:30pm: Trump, Pence and their families are expected to attend services at St. John’s Episcopal Church, just steps from the White House. Afterward, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome Trump and his wife Melania to the White House for tea. The two couples will then travel together to the Capitol by motorcade.
- 5:30pm: Inauguration ceremony begins on the west front of the Capitol with musical performances. The Rockettes dance troupe will also be performing, at a time yet to be announced. Attendees will include members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, diplomats and the public. Former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will attend, as will Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton. Former president George H.W. Bush is in frail health and will not be present.
- 7:30pm: Opening remarks. Religious leaders will offer the invocation and readings. Pence will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
- 8pm: Trump will recite the oath of office, administered by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. He will use president Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration Bible, as well as the Bible that Trump’s mother gave to him at his Sunday school graduation in 1955. Afterward, Trump will deliver his inaugural address. Religious leaders give readings and a benediction. Sixteen-year-old soprano Jackie Evancho will sing the national anthem.
- 8:30pm – Ceremony ends. Afterward, in keeping with tradition, Trump and Pence will attend the Congressional Lunch in the Capitol.
- 11pm to 1am: Inaugural parade. The newly minted president and vice-president make their way 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, trailed by some 8,000 parade participants. They will include members of all US military branches, as well as high school and university marching bands, equestrian corps, first responders, veteran groups and even a tractor brigade.
- 3am to 7am: Trump, Pence and their wives will make appearances at three official inaugural balls, two of which will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre and the other at the National Building Museum. A number of semi-official and unofficial balls also will take place throughout the city.