Many Inauguration Traditions Signaling Transition of Power Will be Missing This Week

Jean Mackin

In many ways, this week’s inauguration will be unique.

“It’s almost a perfect storm that we’re encountering, which is the pandemic making it unsafe to have large crowds, and the unrest,” said John Lappie, assistant political science professor at Plymouth State University.

Lappie said this inauguration is missing many traditions that signal a smooth transition of power

“President Trump and Melania Trump have not met with Joe Biden nor his wife as would be traditional,” he said.

“They won’t be going to church together in the morning, which is also an inaugural tradition, nor riding to the inauguration in the same car,” he added. “Donald Trump will be only the fourth president in U.S. history to not attend the inauguration of his successor.”

Lappie said there have been a few abnormal inaugurations in the past.

“FDR’s final inauguration in 1944 was really stripped down due to it being wartime, World War II. And the beginning of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had to sort of sneak into the Capitol because they were worried about him being assassinated by Confederate sympathizers,” he said.

And he said holding the inauguration outside the Capitol is not required by the Constitution but is an important image.

“Those sort of things aid the transition to power, aid the public in seeing the incoming president as legitimate when you see the outgoing president bringing him to the inauguration,” he said.