Everything you need to know about the inauguration of US President Donald Trump

How to watch it, a timeline of the day, who's performing, and what Obama does next...


If you don’t want to witness Donald Trump being sworn in as US president on Friday 20th January, you had better find a rock to hide behind for the afternoon. But if you do want to take a peek at a turning point in American history, you will have plenty of options as the whole event will be broadcast live for UK audiences across TV, radio and online. 


Find out how to watch the ceremony in the UK, and get the answers to all your inauguration questions, below…

How can I watch Donald Trump’s inauguration in the UK? 


On the BBC 

From 4pm to 6pm, BBC1 will be airing live coverage from Washington DC’s Capitol Hill, anchored by Katty Kay, with more coverage on the BBC News channel from 3pm to 7pm. Kay was previously the Washington DC correspondent and now serves as a news presenter on BBC World News America.

The coverage will follow the swearing in ceremony, the inaugural address, and the presidential parade to the White House.

Newsnight, BBC Breakfast and Panorama will also have special programming to mark the inauguration, while a new programme from Monday 23rd January will follow the President’s first 100 days in office. 


ITV’s coverage will take place from 4pm to 6pm, with News at Ten presenter Tom Bradby reporting from Washington DC. Washington Correspondent Robert Moore will also be on hand to provide analysis as Trump takes the Oath of Office. 

Martin Geissler and Juliet Bremner will be talking to the new President’s supporters, and critics and expert guests will take a closer look at Trump’s inaugural address. 

On Sky News

Sky will have an Inauguration Special that begins at 3pm on Sky News and continues all evening. Sky Atlantic will cover the inauguration from 4pm to 6pm andit will be presented by Adam Boulton and Kay Burley from Washington DC. Anna Jones will also be presenting a special Sky News at 9 later that evening.

Adam Boulton is also presenting a programme called Trump: America’s President, every night at midnight from now until Friday.

How can I listen to the inauguration on the radio?


The BBC World Service will provide live coverage of the inauguration from Washington DC from 4pm to 7pm.

Jim Naughtie will host PM on BBC Radio 4 from 4.30 to 6pm, while Anna Foster will head up coverage on BBC 5 Live’s Drive programme from 4pm to 7pm. 

How can I follow the inauguration online?

The BBC News website will begin updating from 11am, with analysis from BBC reporters in Washington and around the world in the build-up to the ceremony. The site will also host a live stream during the new President’s speech. 

At what exact time will Donald Trump become President?


Noon local time (5pm GMT) on 20 January is the point of no return, when Donald Trump will take the Oath of Office.

Chief Justice John Roberts of the US Supreme Court will administer the oath on the steps of the United States Capitol Building.

The exact moment that trump becomes President will be when he utters the last word of the oath, which will go something like this: I Donald J Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.

How many people are expected to attend – and which VIPs are invited?


The D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is planning for 800,000 to 900,000 people to attend the inauguration festivities. You can expect bikers to be in the crowd…

All the former presidents and their spouses are currently down to attend, so you will see Jimmy Carter, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and – as his wife – Hillary Clinton. George Bush Sr, the oldest living former president, is currently recovering in hospital after suffering from shortness of breath.

Barack Obama is also expected to be there – not going would make him the first president for 96 years to make such a snub.

Who is actually performing?


Presidential inaugurations have historically had a pretty stellar line up – Aretha Franklin and Beyonce both performed for Obama, while past presidents have had Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra… the list goes on.

In contrast, Trump has built up an impressive roster of rejections. Celebrities who have reportedly turned down the gig include Elton John, Celine Dion, Moby and Charlotte Church. Most recently, the Bruce Springsteen tribute band pulled out.

So, who is actually playing? Well, there’s a band that apparently sound a bit like Nickelback called 3 Doors Down. Then there’s Jackie Evancho who came second in American’s Got Talent. And also a handful of country singers.

When does Donald Trump move into the White House?


The White House handover immediately follows the inaugural parade. On the morning of 20 January, Barack Obama will wake up in the White House for the last time. That night, Donald Trump will sleep for the first time in his new home.

Will Donald Trump take over the @POTUS Twitter handle?

Because one account owned by Donald Trump on Twitter clearly isn’t enough – it appears that the new President will be using both his personal account (@realDonaldTrump) and the official @POTUS handle. Twice the fun.

This information came to light in an interview with Michael Gove in the Sunday Times, with Trump saying he likes using his own Twitter. 

“The tweeting, I thought I’d do less of it, but I’m covered so dishonestly by the press, so dishonestly, that I can put out Twitter – and it’s not 140, it’s now 280 – I can go bing bing bing . . . and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out,” he said.

Where will Obama go after the ceremony, and what will his new job be?


After eight years in the White House, Obama is jetting off for some rest and relaxation in sunny Palm Springs. His journey there will be his last ride in Air Force One. “Here’s one thing: I’m not setting my alarm,” Obama told CBS.

As for his long-term plans, he will remain in Washington until his youngest daughter Sasha finishes school in 2019. Obama is also expected to take on a guidance role for the next generation of Democrat leaders.

“What we’ll be most interested in is programming that helps the next Michelle Obama or the next Barack Obama, who right now is sitting out there and has no idea how to make their ideals live, isn’t quite sure what to do – to give them resources and ways to think about social change,” he told The New Yorker.

Obama is likely to spend more time on his initiative My Brother’s Keeper, as well – which creates a mentoring system for young black men. He also may step up his work with Organizing for Action, a grass roots effort formed from the president’s 2012 re-election team, which focuses on climate change and immigration reform.

US inauguration day timeline


Please note: all times UK GMT

1.30pm: Trump, Pence and their families are expected to attend services at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

2.30pm: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome Trump and his wife Melania to the White House for morning tea (around 9.30am local time). The two couples will then travel together down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol by motorcade.

4.30pm: The ceremony will begin on the West Front of the Capitol, featuring religious leaders with ties to Trump, remarks from Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, the chairman of the congressional inaugural committee, and musical performances.

Just before 5pm: Mike Pence will be inaugurated as Vice President.

5pm: Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Trump will deliver his inaugural address and his first speech as President. If he follows Obama’s example, the speech will be about 20 minutes in length.

Sometime after 5pm: The Obamas will bid farewell and depart from the East Front of the Capitol.

After the ceremony: Trump will then attend the traditional Congressional luncheon at which there will be more musical performances.

After that, the new President will review the American Armed Forces from the East Front of the Capitol.

Following this, Trump and Pence will lead the parade from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue. Once he has arrived at the White House, Trump will watch the rest of the parade from a reviewing stand there.

In the evening, there will be two official inaugural balls, held on separate floors of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, as well as the Armed Services Ball, which will be held at the National Building Museum. Trump is expected to make appearances at all three.


And so the era of Donald Trump begins.