Washington: When President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the US on Friday, 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.
On his pick for Department of Homeland Security, Trump said General John Kelly “is a judge of our borders.” Filling in all his cabinet positions, he tapped former Governor Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture, describing him as “a great great farmer” who loves the farms, knows everything about farming and about agriculture.
He said several “politically correct” people had met him seeking that job, but he asked them if they had “any experience with farms or agriculture” or if they had “ever seen a farm.”
He reminded the crowd that border patrol agents and customs officials had endorsed him during the presidential election.
He also took a jab at American news network CNN and sarcastically at some donors who, he said, donated “very generously” the day after he won the presidential election.
Referring to cable TV network Fox, he said, “Fox has treated us very well. When I say well, I mean fairly.” Trump said his opponents predicted that his loss will be the “greatest” in political history but he “outworked” anybody “who ran for office.” “This is a celebration of victory. We needed this victory,” he said, adding that his party will register huge wins in elections in 2018 Senate elections.
Trump repeatedly asserted that there was a huge turnout at the various inaugural events scheduled during the day, from the Arlington Cemetery, where he laid a wreath in honour of the fallen solider to the concert at Lincoln Memorial.
“Tens of thousands of people were there at the Lincoln Memorial. (The crowd) went all the way to the back. They never had so many people and very few people ever had a concert at the Lincoln Memorial.”
With predictions of rain during Trump’s inauguration on Friday morning, he said he doesn’t care.
“If it really pours, that’s OK because people will realise it’s my real hair. That’s OK. Might be a mess but they are going to see it’s my real hair,” he said to laughter from the crowd.
Trump told the guests he wrote his inauguration speech. Earlier, introducing Trump, Pence said in him the US will have a president with “strength, vision, determination and leadership qualities that will ‘make America great again'”.