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Clyburn says Biden's inauguration events will be '80 percent virtual'

The chair of Biden's inaugural committee said the mostly virtual Democratic National Convention will serve as a model.
Image: Jim Clyburn
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks in at the Capitol on Sept. 17, 2020.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who chairs the inaugural committee for President-elect Joe Biden, said Tuesday that most of the events Jan. 20 will take place virtually because of the pandemic.

“We will be setting an example with this inauguration. It is going to be, I may call it, hybrid. He will take the oath in the traditional way, but all of the inaugural festivities are going to be 80 percent virtual,” the South Carolina Democrat said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Clyburn said that they’re going to model Biden’s inauguration after the Democratic National Convention, most of which took place virtually over the summer, with speakers delivering remarks from separate locations.

The top Democrat said that organizers haven’t figured out yet exactly how the inauguration will work in terms of the location of the main ceremony, but he suggested it would likely take place in front of the Capitol as it has been done for the swearing-in of previous presidents.

“I would suppose that he will take the oath in a traditional fashion. We can do that while social distancing,” he said.

Asked if he thinks it’s important for President Donald Trump to attend Biden’s inauguration, Clyburn said, “The American people believe in a peaceful transfer. Now, does he have to be there? I don't think so. Should he be there? Yes.”

“The president can participate if he wants to, but if he doesn't, this country will move on without him.”

Trump, for his part, has not relented on his false and baseless claims that he won the 2020 election. NBC News has previously reported that the president had been discussing the possibility of skipping the swearing-in of his successor and instead launching a bid on Inauguration Day to retake the White House in 2024.