Las Vegas Sun

July 20, 2018

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Inside the 58th presidential inauguration


Susan Walsh / AP

Inaugural preparations continue Nov. 15, 2016, on the West Front of Capitol Hill in Washington, looking at the National Mall and Washington Monument. One thing you can count on during inauguration season in Washington: People of all stripes will find a reason to show up, whether it’s to celebrate or commiserate.


Trump launched a line of Inauguration merchandise, including sets of branded beer koozies and Solo cups, both $20.

On Jan. 20, Donald Trump and Mike Pence will lose the hyphens from their titles. The next president and vice president will take their oaths and do plenty of smiling and waving. While Trump has promised a “great show,” Inauguration Day is really about the peaceful transfer of power. It goes back to George Washington, who delivered the shortest address in history — 135 words — during his second inauguration.



The inauguration has been held on the west front terrace of the Capitol since 1981.

The 58th ceremony stands to be particularly colorful, whether in terms of special guests (and notable snubs) and memorabilia or the massive protests slated to take place nearby.

• Mormon Tabernacle Choir: This will be the sixth presidential inauguration for which the group has performed. Soprano Jan Chamberlin resigned over the gig, saying that performing for Trump conflicts with her faith.

• The Rockettes: Thirteen of the dancers are full-time and under contract to perform. Three have declined anyway, but the remaining dancers are seasonal contractors and can volunteer. As of press time, no dancer of color had signed up.

• Jackie Evancho: The 16-year-old opera singer and “America’s Got Talent” alum agreed to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

• Trump dumped Charlie Brotman, 89, who has announced every inauguration since Eisenhower, for campaign volunteer Steve Ray.

• Stars with Las Vegas ties who declined to perform: Elton John, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, George Lopez.

• Former first couples in attendance: Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter.

HOW TO WATCH: See it live: How to get tickets

Did you know?

Inauguration Day is a federal holiday in Washington, D.C.

• Option 1: Contact your U.S. senator and representatives, as they have some tickets to distribute. Nevada’s senators are Dean Heller and Catherine Cortez Masto, and representatives include Jacky Rosen, Dina Titus, Mark Amodei and Ruben Kihuen.

• Option 2: Visit for information on tickets to the inauguration ceremony, parade and balls.

• Option 3: Enter to win a trip to Washington, D.C., for Inauguration Day by filling out a form on Trump’s website. Contestants must be 18 years old, legal residents of the U.S. and submit by Jan. 18. The prize includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations for two nights and ground transportation for the winner and one guest:


• If you can’t make it to the event, major networks such as CNN, Fox and ABC are broadcasting the event.

• We reached out to local Republicans, from Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office to Nevada Chairman Michael McDonald, for details about potential watch parties, but as of press time received no response.


• The Women’s March on Washington will have a major presence in D.C. If you’re in Nevada, a local offshoot Jan. 21 will start at the Llama Lot off of 10th and Fremont streets, according to Deborah Harris, Nevada coordinator for the Women’s March. A rally will follow the march, at Lloyd D. George Courthouse. “This movement isn’t just about giving the people a day to voice an opinion or feelings,” Harris said. “This is about letting people know that your power is not lost; pick it back up and let’s get to work.”

• For a different kind of protest, tune into Love-a-thon, a Facebook Live broadcast beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 20 and including celebrity guests such as Jane Fonda and Jamie Lee Curtis. The three-hour event aims to raise $500,000 for the ACLU of Southern California, Planned Parenthood and Earthjustice.

• Marijuana legalization supporters plan to pass the joint on Inauguration Day; 4,200 joints, to be precise. Although voters passed the 2014 ballot initiative to legalize pot in D.C., Congress blocked city officials from implementing the law.


• Morning worship: Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has attended some morning service (with the exception of Richard Nixon during his second term). Trump will visit St. John’s Episcopal Church after coffee with outgoing President Barack Obama.

• Procession to the Capitol: The incoming president and vice president and their spouses are escorted to the White House by members of the Joint Congressional Committee before a formal meeting with the outgoing president.

• Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol: Opening remarks at 8:30 a.m. PT. Swearing-in at 9 a.m. PT.

Before the president takes his oath, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will swear in Mike Pence. The oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Trump will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. The oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath at Obama’s first inauguration, putting the word “faithfully” in the wrong spot. Obama paused when reciting it, but to ensure the oath was Constitutional, Roberts re-administered it later that night at the White House.

Trump is rumored to have written his own inaugural address, claiming it to be short and sweet. However, some news outlets say he is working with his aide and speech writer Stephen Miller.

• Departure of the outgoing president: Since Gerald Ford’s exit in 1977, the former president and first lady leave the grounds by helicopter, after being escorted to military cordon by the new president.

• Inaugural luncheon: After Trump finishes his address, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies hosts a luncheon to celebrate. The chairman of the committee chose George Caleb Bingham’s painting of “Verdict of The People” to be displayed.

Don’t forget your coat or umbrella if you plan to be there. It’s supposed to be rainy during the afternoon, with a high of 59 degrees.

• Inaugural parade: The processional will include more than 8,000 people from 40 organizations and each branch of the U.S. military. Among them will be representatives of Talladega College, a historically black liberal arts school, which became the center of a national controversy sparking backlash from students, staff and alumni.

• Inaugural balls: President Trump will attend three official inaugural balls, one of which will be military (The Salute to Our Armed Services Ball). Tickets have yet to be announced.

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