Things to watch
From a morning stop at church through the swearing-in to the last dance of the evening, it’s going to be an inaugural marathon today. Donald Trump will take Washington by storm, no matter what the weather. (Which, by the way, looks like rain.)
35 or 39?
Trump’s oath of office is the only essential today; all the rest is window dressing. The Constitution sets out a 35-word oath for the new president. Some presidents make it 39 by tacking on “so help me God.” There are conflicting stories about when the ad lib started. Some say George Washington added the words when he took the oath at his 1789 inaugural. Others say the first eyewitness account of a president using those words came at Chester Arthur’s inauguration in 1881. Historian Jim Bendat says Washington’s use of the phrase is a myth, but every president since 1933 has done it.
Trump’s inaugural address will set the tone for the launch of his presidency. Will he go the traditional route and offer a message of unity to a divided nation, play the role of disrupter of the established order, or blend a little of both? This won’t be his usual off-the-cuff address. Aides say Trump has taken a big role in writing the speech and has been practicing at Trump Tower. Expect him to keep it short, around 20 minutes or so.
Trump aims to squeeze in a little work on his first day in office, perhaps in between the parade and the evening balls. What to watch for: His aides mention possible executive actions and perhaps the swearing-in of some members of his Cabinet.