There’s less than two weeks to go until Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, and we still don’t know a lot about his inauguration.
Sure, it’s always a last-minute flurry to finalize schedules, ticket sales, performers and other details, but the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Committee has yet to reveal many specifics for the three-day celebration. Which means that a lot is going on behind the scenes — or that everything will come together in the last few days.
The committee is “fully focused on organizing world-class events that honor our nation’s tremendous history and reach every corner of the globe,” said communications director Boris Epshteyn.
At the very least, it looks as if there’s still plenty of room for Trump fans hoping to attend the festivities.
“Hopefully, all supporters, and those who want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will go to D.C. on January 20th. It will be a GREAT SHOW!” the president-elect tweeted Friday.
Here’s a quick update about the official events.
The inauguration slogan: “Make America Great Again!” Trump’s catchphrase received an exclamation point, because inaugurations are even more exciting than presidential campaigns.
The schedule: The inauguration kicks off the morning of Thursday, Jan. 19, with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and a “welcome celebration” on the Mall with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The swearing-in, the parade and the balls will take place Jan. 20. The next day, the new president and administration officials will attend a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.
The concert: No list of performers has been announced for the outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial, although the Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are slated to appear at some event. But don’t look for a lineup of big names. “The so-called ‘A’ list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!” he tweeted last month.
The swearing-in: The ceremony at noon Friday will be preceded by a church service and a brief meeting with President Obama. It’s unclear whether the president-elect and his family will spend the previous night at Blair House, a tradition started by Jimmy Carter. (Inauguration officials say he’s leaning toward staying there, but there’s been no official announcement.)
The ceremony and the congressional lunch afterward are hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which will release about 250,000 tickets to the swearing-in starting Monday. These tickets are distributed by members of Congress.
Sixteen-year-old singer Jackie Evancho will sing the national anthem, and New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Franklin Graham are among the faith leaders who will offer prayers or readings during the ceremony.
The parade: This one will be shorter than those at previous inaugurals because, according to committee officials, Trump wants to get to work before attending the inaugural balls that night. The marchers — 8,000 people in more than 40 organizations — include police, drill teams and high school and college bands.
The inaugural balls: There will be three official balls: two with guests from across the country and a ball for the armed services that is dedicated to the military, first responders and other service personnel. The two main balls will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (where President Obama held his two official balls in 2013), and the invitation-only Salute to Our Armed Services Ball will be at the National Building Museum.
There are, of course, a number of semiofficial and unofficial balls. State societies like those of Texas, Indiana and Michigan all host their own parties. Indiana’s (home of the vice president-elect), on Jan. 19 at the Grand Hyatt, is sold out, but several other states’ still have tickets available.
Tickets: The committee launched an official website last month, but it has not yet posted specific information about how to get tickets for the concert, the parade or the inaugural balls. Many of those will go to donors who receive a ticket package to a number of events, but the committee also said that individual tickets will be made available — ball tickets for purchase, and some concert and parade tickets at no cost — by early next week.
Inaugural merchandise: The committee has not released any information about official souvenirs or memorabilia. This week, a site paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee (a joint fundraising committee of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and the Republican National Committee) launched with “45” hats, lapel buttons, mugs, T-shirts and tote bags ranging from $10 to $60.