Vice President Mike Pence, former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are billed to attend Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th United States (U.S.) President.
They will be accompanied by their first ladies Hillary, Laura and Michelle to the event billed for noon (EST). But, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will not, as they are unable to travel.
Also, the event will not be attended by outgoing President Donald Trump. According to event line-up, Senator Roy Blunt, chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, will serve as the inauguration’s master of ceremonies.
Also, Leo J. O’Donovan, a Catholic priest, member of the Jesuit order, and former president of Georgetown University, will deliver the invocation. Georgia firefighters’ union leader Andrea Hall will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
On the stars’ list, Lady Gaga will sing the American National Anthem, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman will recite her poem “The Hill We Climb” and Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks will also perform. At 22, Gorman will become the youngest inaugural poet, the event programme indicated.
Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, pastor of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware, and a friend of Biden, will deliver the benediction. The inaugural ceremony will take place on the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. and will be the 59th presidential inauguration.
Biden will take the oath of office as president, and Harris will take the oath of office as vice president.
Trump, who will leave the White House before noon today, was reported by The Washington Post to be angry that a roll call of stars are signing up to Biden’s event.
Four years ago, Trump secured country singers Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, rock groups 3 Doors Down’ and The Piano Guys – DJ RaviDrum and The Frontmen of Country.
Elton John, British singers Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Church plus Moby, publicly rejected invitations to perform.
A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir resigned from the group rather than perform and MSG Entertainment, the organisation that owns the Rockettes, said it was each dancer’s choice to perform after a dancer expressed concern on social media.
Obama, during his inauguration, had no trouble drawing the stars, with Beyonce, U2, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen all performing. Trump had made it clear he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, becoming the first president since 1869 to snub his successor.
The National Guard is deploying 25,000 troops the event – at least two and a half times the number for previous inaugurals.
The military routinely reviews service members for extremist connections, the FBI is carrying out additional screening, in addition to any previous monitoring.
Multiple officials said the process began as the first Guard troops began deploying to D.C. more than a week ago. They said it is slated to be complete by today.
The major security concern is an attack by armed groups of individuals as well as planted explosives and other devices.
But, European Union’s (EU) top diplomat said yesterday that the world needs American leadership in the battle against COVID-19, urging Biden to step up after the Trump administration was widely criticised for its slow response to the pandemic.
With rich countries contracting far more doses of various coronavirus vaccines than poorer ones, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said it was up to the United States to retake its place as “an engine of the world” and help.
“The world will face this year one of the biggest challenges to vaccinating humankind. This will require a lot of solidarity, a lot of cooperation and quite a lot of resources,” Borrell told Reuters in an interview.
In a pandemic that has killed almost 400,000 Americans and threatened the U.S. economy, Trump’s handling of the virus has been criticised at home, weakening any broad international response.
However, the first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations begin yesterday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defence.
Avril Haines, Biden’s choice for the top U.S. intelligence job, said the United States should take an “aggressive stance” toward the threat posed by the aggressive and assertive China that it faces today.
The Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence also said she thought it would be sometime before Tehran returned to strict compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the Biden administration might itself return to the agreement, which outgoing U.S. President Trump abandoned in 2018.
Haines, a former CIA deputy director and White House aide, said her priorities include restoring trust and confidence within the U.S. intelligence community, which Trump at times denigrated, as well as among the American people.
Pressed by both Republican and Democratic senators on the importance of the Chinese intelligence threat, Haines said she would make it a priority to devote more resources to China.
Also, Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, urged lawmakers to “act big” on the next coronavirus relief package, adding that the benefits outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden.
Yellen said her task as Treasury chief will be to help Americans endure the final months of the coronavirus pandemic, and rebuilding the U.S. economy “so that it creates more prosperity for more people and ensures that American workers can compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.”
Yellen said spending on public health and widespread vaccinations were the first steps for the administration. Extended unemployment and SNAP benefits, better known as food stamps, should be next, she said.
Targeting relief to people in the greatest need, and to small businesses, will create “a great deal of spending per dollar spent, they’ll create jobs throughout the economy,” she said.