How Long Will Biden’s Inauguration Speech & Ceremony Be?

Getty How long will Biden's speech be?

If you’re watching President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration ceremony today, you may be wondering just how long the ceremony lasts. What time does it end? The ceremony doesn’t last very long and most of the events will be completed by this afternoon. In addition, Biden’s speech is likely to be only about 20 minutes long.

Here’s what you need to know.


Biden Will Be Sworn in Around Noon

Biden will be sworn in at around 12 p.m. Eastern today, as is traditional for most of the recent inauguration ceremonies.

It’s expected that the Inauguration program itself will begin around 10:30-11:15 a.m. Eastern, KIRO 7 reported. This will begin with an invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, and then the National Anthem, followed by a poetry reading and a musical performance.

Following this, Harris will be sworn in as Vice President around 11:55 a.m. Eastern/12 p.m. Eastern. After she is sworn in, Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States around 12 p.m. Eastern or slightly thereafter(11 a.m. Central.) Then a benediction will end the ceremony.

In other words, it will take about an hour after the official Inauguration ceremony begins before Biden is sworn in as President.


Most Inaugural Addresses Are About 20 Minutes Long

After Biden is sworn in, he will then deliver an Inaugural address. Although there’s not a required minimum or maximum length for the speech, recent Inaugural speeches have been about 20 minutes long.

In 2016, Trump’s speech was just under 20 minutes in length. This is unusual, since Trump’s rally speeches tended to be closer to 90 minutes in length. Similarly, both of President Barack Obama’s inaugural addresses were less than 20 minutes long.

It’s likely that Biden will stick with tradition and also speak for about the same length of time as Obama. This would put Biden’s Inauguration ceremony ending around 12:30 p.m. Eastern, if everything proceeds on time.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden’s themes in his address will cover unity and recovery, and his advisers said his speech is expected to be 20 to 30 minutes in length, where he shares his “forward-looking vision” for his administration. His speech will reach out to all Americans.

Incoming White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told ABC’s This Week: “This will be a moment where President-elect Biden will really work to try to turn the page on the divisiveness and the hatred over the last four years and really lay out a positive, optimistic vision for the country, and … lay out a path forward that really calls on all of us to work together.”

In August 2020, Biden received a lot of attention when he delivered a very short acceptance speech of about 20 seconds in length at the Democratic National Convention after he was officially nominated.

He simply said: “Well thank you very, very, much, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you all. It means the world to me and my family and I’ll see you on Thursday. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

It wasn’t his official acceptance speech, which was scheduled for two days later. But still, some were surprised by how short his speech was after he was officially nominated.

Of note, the longest inaugural address was from William Henry Harrison in 1841, when he spoke for 1 hour and 45 minutes,  the Encyclopedia Britannica reported. He died a month later after catching pneumonia.

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