By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – At noon on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, it will yet another chapter in American history when Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris becomes the first woman Vice President of the United States.READ MORE: Man In Stable Condition After Being Shot In Terrace Village
University of Pittsburgh professor of political science Kristin Kanthak joined “Your Day Pittsburgh” to discuss Inauguration Day, the history of the day, and its impact.
WATCH: Interview With University of Pittsburgh Political Science Professor Kristin Kanthak
Kanthak described Inauguration Day as similar to Christmas for political scientists, especially with the United States poised to swear in its first woman vice president.
“This is a big deal,” she said. “Even besides that, inaugurations matter. This is a time when our laws tell us what happens next. It does not matter what you, or I, or anyone else wants – there’s going to be an inauguration today. We’re going to inaugurate a president on January 20.”
However, 2021 will bring a different kind of inauguration due to the pandemic, and the outgoing president, Donald Trump will not attend, which has only happened a couple of times in the past.READ MORE: Friends And Family Say Final Goodbyes To Ahmir Tuli
“It’s happened a couple of times before, but really only a handful,” Kanthak explained. “We generally think that part of the process of going through an inauguration is to have the incumbent president there to sort of handoff power, so it is unusual not to have the president there and it’s a little tricky logistically to not have him there.”
Once Inauguration Day comes, the outgoing president usually leaves a note for the incoming president somewhere in the Resolute Desk inside the Oval Office.
Will President Trump continue this tradition for President-Elect Joe Biden?
“I would love to know,” Kanthak said. “When Donald Trump entered the White House, Barack Obama left a note for him and Trump talked about it a lot. It made an impression on him. The most famous recent note was the note that George H.W. Bush left after he lost his re-election effort and left a generous note to the incoming president, President Clinton, wishing him well and that’s usually what we see at an inauguration.”
The transition of power and ceremony that takes place on January 20, is usually a moment of unity and not partisanship.
“It’s just a big party,” Kanthak said.MORE NEWS: Ex-U.S. Attorney Trying To Help Free Man Convicted Of Killings
At noon today, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.as the 46th President of the United States.