Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 presidential election on 7 November, but Donald Trump still refuses to concede to the President-elect.
Despite launching the official transition process, the president continues to push baseless claims of widespread voter fraud that he insists cost him the election.
The election discord, however, has one very hard deadline: inauguration day, which will mark the end of Mr Trump’s presidency.
When is inauguration day?
Inauguration day will take place on Wednesday 20 January 2021, as per the US constitution.
On this date, Mr Biden will be expected to take the oath of office and will be sworn in as president.
Mr Trump’s presidency will come to an end as his term expires at noon on January 20 by law.
Where is it?
In line with tradition, the inauguration will be held in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC.
Construction of the parade platform for Mr Biden’s inauguration day has already begun ahead of the January date.
How will the pandemic affect celebrations?
Huge crowds usually gather leading up to the US Capitol in celebration of the inauguration, but this year’s celebration may have to make unprecedented concessions amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Biden has announced that his inauguration will be pared-down in light of the virus and will “honour the American inaugural traditions and engage Americans across the country while keeping everybody healthy and safe.”
The event is likely to be much smaller this year, and it is expected that less than 1,600 people will be allowed to attend the inauguration and mask and social distancing guidelines will be in place.
It is unlikely there will be a choir behind the president as per tradition and discussions are ongoing as to whether anyone who remains on the main platform near Mr Biden will need a coronavirus test, CNN reported.
Why is there so much time between election day and inauguration day?
The time between election day on 3 November and inauguration day on 20 January allows for the outgoing president to wrap up ongoing projects and for the incoming president to prepare for office.
During this time Mr Biden will decide his cabinet for his administration and will work on important policy so he is ready to take charge after inauguration day.
This year’s transition has been delayed by Mr Trump as he refused to concede the election or allow the official process to begin until two weeks following Mr Biden’s announcement as winner of the election by news networks.
What about the election disputes?
The peaceful transition of power is a bedrock of American society, and in past examples of contentious elections, resolutions had been made long before any refusal to concede so the current situation concerning the president is uncharted territory.
Inauguration day effectively acts as a hard deadline to the end of Mr Trump’s one term as president, and his presidency will come to an end on that day, whether or not he has conceded.
Despite making wild accusations of voter fraud, Mr Trump and his legal team have yet to provide any definitive evidence, and a number of his lawsuits have failed to gain traction in the courts.
Mr Trump took to Twitter on 23 November to finally announce that he had given GSA head Emily Murphy permission to work with Mr Biden’s transition team “in the best interest of our country”.
However, the president has said he “will never concede” the election, and the US constitution makes no mention of how a president should be removed if they lose an election and refuse to hand over power to their opponent.
Will Donald Trump attend?
Mr Trump may not attend the incoming president’s swearing-in ceremony, three White House officials speculated to CNN, a move that would mark a grave political statement.
“I can’t foresee a scenario where he goes and that tradition carries on as normal,” one of the officials tells CNN.
In 2017 Barack Obama attended Mr Trump’s swearing-in on inauguration day as outgoing president alongside then outgoing vice-president Mr Biden.
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