Jan. 20 (UPI) — By noon Friday, Donald John Trump will step into the history books when he is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
After an election night victory that defied polls and pundits alike, and an election as divisive as any in modern American politics, Trump’s presidency becomes a reality. For his millions of supporters across the country, including the tens of thousands packing the National Mall in Washington, Friday marks the start of an administration that has pledged to return America to greatness. For his millions of critics, including the tens of thousands expected to pack the National Mall in Washington to protest the inauguration, Trump’s presidency marks a new low after a campaign that laid bare huge rifts that remain along lines of race, class, gender and identity.
The schedule of events for Friday’s inauguration is a tight one. The Trumps will go to church, a presidential tradition, then meet with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House about two hours before they walk onto the dais. After a private sit-down, the incoming and outgoing presidents will travel the mile-and-a-half down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Once there, they will be joined on a large dais on the west front of the Capitol facing the National Mall by three other former presidents: Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, whose wife, Hillary Clinton, Trump defeated in the election.
Hillary Clinton is scheduled to attend the inauguration alongside her husband, as she has for all four inaugural ceremonies since her husband left office.
After reciting the 38 words prescribed by the Constitution that constitute the official oath (it will likely be 42 words because most presidents have added the codicil “so help me God” despite the fact they are not officially part of the oath), Trump is expected to deliver his inaugural address.
Like many presidents before him, the speech is expected to be a broad one, “philosophical” in tone, according to a spokesman. The speech is expected to last about 20 minutes and will be followed by the remainder of the outdoor ceremony, including an invocation and musical performances. The inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will conclude the public portion of events.
Later Friday, Trump and his wife, Melania, are expected to attend three of the 26 official inaugural balls being thrown across Washington.
The day is expected to be a chilly one in the District, with temperatures in the mid-40s and a slight chance of rain around noon.