The inauguration of Joe Biden

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, January 21, 2021
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5:53 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump will hold a departure ceremony this morning ahead of Biden's inauguration

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Jim Acosta and the White House team

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas, on January 12.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas, on January 12. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Eager for a final taste of the pomp of being president, President Trump will have a departure ceremony this morning before one last presidential flight to Palm Beach.

Trump is expected to leave from Joint Base Andrews this morning and arrive at his Palm Beach resort by the time President-elect Joe Biden is being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. 

Trump has told people, CNN reported, that he dislikes the idea of leaving Washington as an ex-president and hates the thought of having to ask Biden to use the plane. 

Trump's departure aboard Marine One from the White House South Lawn will likely be visible and audible to the Bidens, who will spend the night before the inauguration at Blair House, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the executive mansion.

Its use was offered to them by the State Department rather than the Trumps, who refuse to make contact with the incoming president and first lady. 

Once Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews, he is expected to receive a military-style sendoff and joined by a crowd of supporters.

This event is expected to be like a state visit departure event, an official told CNN. Some of the pomp and circumstance under consideration for the ceremony includes a color guard, military band, 21-gun salute and red carpet.  

5:52 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden's inauguration will look very different to years past. Here's what we know.

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf

The Marine Band rehearses on the West Front of the Capitol on January 18.
The Marine Band rehearses on the West Front of the Capitol on January 18. Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

The invitations have been scaled back by the pandemic and the security has been heightened due to the Capitol riot, but Joe Biden's inauguration as the 46th president of the United States today will still have plenty of pomp.

Here's a look at what will be different:

  • The National Mall will be shut down to keep people away, so we will all be spared another comparison of crowd sizes, especially since President Trump's Twitter handle has been turned off. The threat of violent protests from election-denying Trump supporters and the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops will keep anyone from forgetting Trump's turbulent leadership, or lack thereof.
  • Normally, members of Congress get a raft of tickets to distribute at will. This year they each get a plus one. The public is being encouraged to stay away and there will be no public parade from the Capitol to the White House. Instead there will be a virtual parade bringing in people from around the country.
  • The inaugural balls — usually there are multiple and the new president makes a short appearance at several — will be replaced by a produced TV show featuring stars like Hanks along with Justin Timberlake. This will feel very much like the Covid inauguration.

Other things to look out for:

  • What will Biden say? Pay special attention to how Biden references his predecessor, soon to face an impeachment trial, during his inaugural address.
  • Who will be at the actual inauguration ceremony? All the normal VIPs, incoming and outgoing Cabinet members, lawmakers and Supreme Court justices are likely to attend, as is outgoing Vice President Mike Pence. Trump will not. It's rare, but not unheard of, for a president to skip the transfer of power. Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga will add some show-biz glitz to the ceremony, which will still take place at the West Front of the US Capitol, looking out on an empty Mall, a show of defiance to the people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, maybe. But also a reminder that this is a very singular beginning to a new administration.