Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Inauguration Day, From Home: Biden Team Plans Celebration Amid COVID-19

Construction crews work on the platforms where President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office at the Capitol in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite
Construction crews work on the platforms where President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office at the Capitol in Washington.

The team planning President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration Day festivities is urging Americans to stay at home and celebrate the tradition where it is safe, given the risks of traveling and gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden's presidential inaugural committee named a chief medical adviser for the day, Dr. David Kessler — the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, who was an adviser to the Biden campaign.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris plan to take their oaths of office at the U.S. Capitol, the committee said in a statement. "The ceremony's footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined," it said.

The committee has also hired what it called "seasoned production experts" to work on the program for Americans to watch at home, including Stephanie Cutter, Ricky Kirshner and Rod O'Connor, who worked on the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was a virtual event. The team has experience planning Super Bowl halftime shows and the Tony Awards, the committee said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Roberta Rampton is NPR's White House editor. She joined the Washington Desk in October 2019 after spending more than six years as a White House correspondent for Reuters. Rampton traveled around America and to more than 20 countries covering President Trump, President Obama and their vice presidents, reporting on a broad range of political, economic and foreign policy topics. Earlier in her career, Rampton covered energy and agriculture policy.
To make informed decisions, the public must receive unbiased truth.

As Southwestern Pennsylvania’s only independent public radio news and information station, we give voice to provocative ideas that foster a vibrant, informed, diverse and caring community.

WESA is primarily funded by listener contributions. Your financial support comes with no strings attached. It is free from commercial or political influence…that’s what makes WESA a free vital community resource. Your support funds important local journalism by WESA and NPR national reporters.

You give what you can, and you get news you can trust.
Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.