Biden hinted at a toned-down ceremony devoid of the usual galas and balls that usually accompany presidential inaugurations in a Friday news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.
“The first and foremost thing is we’re going to follow again the science and the recommendations of the experts on keeping people safe,” Biden said, adding that specific details were still being hammered out. “So it is highly unlikely there’ll be a million people on the [National] Mall going all the way down to the [Lincoln] Memorial. … But I think you’re going to see something that’s closer to what the convention was like than the typical inauguration.”
The Democratic National Convention in August was nearly entirely virtual aside from Biden’s accepting the presidential nomination in person in Milwaukee.
“My guess is there probably will not be a gigantic inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. But my guess is you’ll see a lot of virtual activity in states all across America, engaging even more people than before,” Biden said.
The president-elect also stressed that he couldn’t do “a super version of the president’s announcement in the Rose Garden nationwide,” a reference to an October White House event for Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination that led to multiple COVID-19 cases within President Donald Trump’s administration.
Biden speculated that holding more events virtually might be an intentional choice by his party in the future.
“It’s going to have to be more imaginative, … but I think the convention we put on really opened up avenues that we never thought existed, and I doubt there will be … another Democratic Convention that’ll be straight like it always has been,” Biden said. “I think we can include more people.”
The president-elect told CNN on Thursday that he hoped Trump would put his pride aside and attend the inauguration to ensure “a peaceful transfer of power.” But he added that it was Trump’s personal decision and “of no personal consequence” to him.