The Political Atmosphere
When Mr. Trump takes office on Friday, he will be less popular than any new president in modern American history, according to a series of surveys published in recent days. The numbers suggest that rather than unifying a divided electorate, his transition to power has continued the polarization from the campaign.
Mr. Trump’s aides say they have had that atmosphere in mind while planning the week’s festivities.
More than 60 Democrats in the House of Representatives have said they will not attend the ceremony — many of them citing Mr. Trump’s recent criticism of Representative John Lewis, a civil rights icon.
A well-armed security bubble will encircle much of downtown Washington by Inauguration Day, as almost 30,000 local, state and federal officials work to ensure that the transfer of power goes off without a hitch.
The authorities will begin enforcing a soft and a hard perimeter in central Washington in the early hours of Friday morning, and other road closings around the region will follow. Only local vehicles will be allowed within the soft perimeter. No civilian vehicles will be able to pass inside the hard perimeter, where federal security forces will also be screening anyone hoping to enter by foot.
To assure security, many items, including backpacks and posters, will be prohibited on the Capitol grounds, along the parade route and at the inaugural balls. The National Park Service decided on Thursday to allow small umbrellas onto the National Mall and parade route because of rain in the forecast.
The official swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Friday on the West Front of the Capitol overlooking the Mall. Most of the nation’s dignitaries will be on hand, including Mr. Trump’s presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old singer best known from “America’s Got Talent,” will perform the national anthem. And six religious leaders chosen by Mr. Trump will offer blessings.
As Chief Justice Roberts administers the oath of office, Mr. Trump is planning to rest his hand on two Bibles: his childhood Bible and the Lincoln Bible, which Mr. Obama also used.
Mr. Trump will recite the 35 words mandated by the Constitution:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.”
He will then deliver his inaugural address, which has been a subject of much speculation.
After they officially review the armed services Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence will lead a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. A tradition since Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801, the parade is one of the inauguration’s highlights and typically draws large crowds and TV viewers around the country.
More than 8,000 people will march behind the president and vice president, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, including representatives of each branch of the American armed services, as well as high school, college and police bands that have volunteered to perform. This year’s parade is expected to be considerably shorter — about 90 minutes — than those celebrating Mr. Trump’s recent predecessors. It will also pass a certain conspicuous building that bears the name of the 45th president.
The Inaugural Balls
Come nightfall, many of the inaugural revelers will dress in their best evening wear to attend balls across the capital — including some to galvanize resistance to Mr. Trump. All in all, the night should be tamer than eight years ago, when the Obamas attended 10 official inaugural balls and supporters held scores of others.
Mr. Trump will attend just three official balls himself. Two of those, “Liberty” and “Freedom,” will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and are available to supporters who donated to his inauguration or purchased tickets. The third, the “Salute to Our Armed Services Ball,” will be at the National Building Museum for active duty and reserve military members, wounded veterans, emergency medical workers and Medal of Honor recipients. Mr. Trump will deliver remarks at all three balls and, as is customary, he will oblige the attendees with a ceremonial first dance with his wife, Melania.
Protesters are not unusual at an inauguration, but Mr. Trump’s is expected to attract many more than usual. Law enforcement officials said they were expecting 99 groups to carry out demonstrations of all sorts over the inaugural period, including 63 on Friday.
The largest event by far will be the Women’s March on Washington, which is on Saturday and is expected to attract several hundred thousand people. Beginning with a rally at 10 a.m. at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the Capitol, the march is intended to raise awareness about a variety of social issues. Here’s what you need to know.
The Weather Forecast
Cloudy with a good chance of rain. Temperatures in Washington are expected to rise into the mid to high 40s on Friday, but it was already drizzling by morning. The best chance for steady showers should come between the late morning and early afternoon hours, when Mr. Trump will take the oath of office. Small umbrellas will be permitted on the mall.
Source: Nicholas Fandos, www.nytimes.com