News & Politics

Biden Inaugural Committee Says Stay Home, Don’t Come to DC

They may be aiming for the smallest crowd ever to witness an inauguration—period.

The Biden Inaugural Committee urged Americans on Tuesday to watch the inauguration festivities at home instead of journeying to Washington during the pandemic. The swearing-in ceremony will still be taking place on January 20th, albeit in a far more intimate ceremony than years past.

Despite the unconventional circumstances, some rituals will remain intact. Biden and Harris will take their public oath of office in the traditional spot at the West Front of the US Capitol, and the newly-minted president will give an inaugural address on the platform.

However, most of the spectacle will look very different thanks to the virus continues. Be prepared to stumble through inaugural Zoom fatigue: around 80 percent of the festivities will be happening virtually. In a sign of the times, the planning committee has even tapped its own chief medical adviser, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler.

But perhaps the biggest departure of all from last time, when the White House spokesman spent his first day on the job fibbing about the crowd size in order to make it seem like Donald Trump’s audience exceeded Barack Obama’s? This time around, organizers are actively hoping for a small turnout. To tweak a phrase made famous four years ago, they might even get the smallest audience ever to witness an inauguration. Period.

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Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.