(WASHINGTON) — The countdown clock on the White House transition is winding down as specifics about Donald Trump’s inauguration are being finalized.
Here’s a rundown of what is known about the schedule so far:
Easy pick of a theme
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Trump team announced that it’s going to stick with the campaign slogan that helped get the real estate developer elected, saying that “Make America Great Again” will be the inaugural theme.
“The theme is very simple,” Trump inaugural chairman Tom Barrack told ABC News. “The idea is to have a cross cut of harmony of America and normal Americans that reflects on them, not on the power and prestige of this man.”
In 2009, “A New Birth of Freedom” was the theme for Barack Obama’s first inauguration, and “Faith in America’s Future” in 2013.
Some of the most basic logistics of the inauguration are set forth by the 20th Amendment of the Constitution.
The official transfer of power happens at noon Jan. 20, which falls on a Friday this time around.
Inauguration Day is a federal holiday in Washington, D.C., and parts of nearby Maryland and Virginia, but only for people who are regularly scheduled to work on that day. D.C. public schools have off that day, as do local colleges in the area, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Catholic University of America and American University. They have cancelled classes that day. Howard University has not listed the inauguration as a school holiday on its academic calendar.
One of the inaugural traditions is that the outgoing president accompanies his successor to the Capitol, and that is expected to happen again this year. President Obama has said he will escort Trump and he will watch him take the oath of office, then the Obamas will leave on Marine One.
Trump’s inaugural committee announced via Twitter that there will be a welcome rally and parade, though officials didn’t specify when.
Breakdown of the Inaugural Balls
While the main inauguration ceremony itself takes place during the day, the focus of much attention are the various balls hosted in the new president’s honor.
Trump’s team is bucking with tradition, however, and dramatically cutting the number of inaugural balls.
“The balls are kind of a confusing quagmire because the states themselves have their own celebratory events,” Barrack said. “We’ll have basically three balls. Two in the [Washington] Convention Center, one called the Commander in Chief ball, which is a traditional military ball. And then we’ll have a series of private dinners.”
It’s a stark contrast from recent inaugurations. Obama attended 10 inaugural balls and former President George W. Bush attended eight inaugural balls to celebrate their first inaugurations.
“This is a workman-like inaugural. This is not a coronation,” inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn said. “And you’ve seen some inaugurals in the past that maybe did seem like a coronation. Again, it’s every president’s choice. This president wants to get to work.”
Jackie Evancho first rose to fame as a 10-year-old runner-up on America’s Got Talent. Now the Pittsburgh native, 16, is about to take one of the world’s biggest stages, singing the national anthem at Trump’s inauguration next month.
While it may be her first time singing in front of Trump, it isn’t the first time she’s met him: a photo of Evancho and Trump at Mar-a-Lago was posted on her official Facebook page back in 2011.
After America’s Got Talent, Evancho was invited by Obama to perform at the White House for the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Evancho also sang for Pope Francis during his visit to the United States and was the youngest person ever to give a solo concert at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Chairman Barrack and spokesman Epshteyn have denied recent reports that the inaugural committee was struggling to find A-list talent for performances during the day’s festivities.
“No struggle, whatsoever,” Epshteyn said. “We have world-class talent, world-class entertainers reaching out to us offering their help, offering their services so no struggle, whatsoever.”
There is a bipartisan history of bringing in big stars to add some entertainment to inaugurations.
Aretha Franklin and cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed at Obama’s first inauguration and Beyonce serenaded the Obamas as they danced at the first ball they attended in 2009. At his second inaugural, Beyonce sang the national anthem and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
George W. Bush held a concert with Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson and 98 Degrees at a pre-inauguration event. Fleetwood Mac made a rare reunion performance at one of Bill Clinton’s first inaugural balls after he had dubbed their hit “Don’t Stop” his campaign song.
Melania Trump’s presence
Though she won’t officially move to D.C. immediately after the inauguration, future first lady Melania Trump will also play a prominent role in the festivities.
“She’s a full part in the victory celebration for the president-elect and she’s an essential part of not only his marriage, but as his wife and his platform,” Barrack, the committee, chairman, said. “So she will be visible and prominent and very dominant in things she is going to take responsibility for. And I’m going to let that be a surprise.”
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