News & Politics

Biden’s Inauguration Will Still Take Place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Despite Riot Damage

A damage assessment of the inaugural platform is currently underway.

Police guard the Capitol in the aftermath of rioting on January 6. Photograph by Evy Mages

Despite the damage that was sustained to the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s pro-Trump riot, a key congressional committee has pledged that the swearing-in ceremony of President-Elect Joe Biden will take place as scheduled, and at its traditional location.

“The great American tradition of an inaugural ceremony has occurred in times of peace, in times of turmoil, in times of prosperity, and in times of adversity,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt and Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said in a joint statement Thursday evening. “We will be swearing in President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021.”

Blunt is the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which has authority over inauguration activities on the grounds of the Capitol. Klobuchar is a Democratic member of the committee.

“Since 1901,” the Senators continued, “the Joint Committee has been entrusted to plan and host the inaugural ceremonies every four years to mark the transition to a new presidential administration or the commencement of a new presidential term—thus fulfilling the 20th Amendment of the Constitution.

“[Wednesday] was a sad and solemn day for our country. The outrageous attack on the Capitol, however, will not stop us from affirming to Americans—and the world—that our democracy endures. Our committee’s bipartisan, bicameral membership remains committed to working with our many partners to execute ceremonies that are safe and showcase our determined democracy.”

Separately, in response to an inquiry about the damage that was sustained to the Capitol on Wednesday, spokesperson Paige Waltz said that the committee “is coordinating with our institutional partners to conduct a thorough assessment of the inaugural platform, and the other Capitol spaces and grounds that are traditionally used for inaugural ceremonies. We’ll be holding off on commenting about specific damages until that assessment is completed.”

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.