Virus roaming, troop patrolling, door and window closure, crisis… In a strong atmosphere of unrest and even danger, the United States will usher in the “big day of democracy” on January 20 – the inauguration of the president.
At that time, for the first time in more than 150 years, the president-elect of the United States will be sworn in in the absence of the current president and complete the transfer of power “self-help”.
Under the haze of the century epidemic, in the shadow of congressional turmoil, surrounded by tens of thousands of soldiers, this rare transfer of power has been described by the American media as “unprecedented”.
In the eyes of analysts, it will also leave a heavy mark on American history and set a dangerous precedent.
Riot, riot control, anti-virus
The presidential inauguration is an important day on the American political calendar and a major moment for the peaceful transfer of power between old and new presidents.
In terms of democracy, it is very symbolic. In the words of in-auguration historian Jim Bendat, this is a “big day of democracy”.
However, Wednesday will come an extraordinary and unprecedented inauguration. Whether it is atmosphere or ceremony, it will subvert tradition.
Washington should have been lively at this moment, but after the deadly turmoil on Capitol Hill, the capital has been “sounding” and preparing for the ceremony in high security.
Soldiers, military vehicles, roadblocks and fences are everywhere in key areas and buildings such as the White House, Capitol Hill, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall.
Washington dispatched “the largest security garrison in history” – 25,000 National Guards were on the scene to “press” in case of accidents.
But even so, it still can’t be reassuring. U.S. media said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is censoring all members of the National Guard stationed in Washington to prevent “internal attacks”. Acting Defense Secretary Miller stressed that Washington should not leave any safety dead corners.
The capital is facing a big enemy. No wonder American public opinion says that this is not like preparing for the inauguration ceremony.
It has almost become the eve of the Civil War. Washington has turned into war-torn areas such as Baghdad and Mosul.
However, unexpected dangers still add chaos from time to time.
On the 18th, a fire broke out near the Capitol, temporarily blocking the Capitol and the adjacent offices of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the ongoing inaugural rehearsal was interrupted.
The capital is “on alert throughout the city”, and many parts of the United States are also nervous. After the shock to Congress, the FBI warned that armed protests might erupt in the capitals of 50 states and Washington, D.C.
At least a dozen states have activated the National Guard to assist in policing, and security has been strengthened outside the state legislature building.
Zuo Xiying, an associate professor at the School of International Relations of Renmin University of China, said that if the United States is facing the enemy, it is “preparing for war” for the inauguration ceremony, which shows that the Capitol Hill incident has a great impact, and is afraid that the inauguration ceremony will be repeated, and it will be affected by some extreme forces supporting Trump.
This also reflects the current bad political environment in the United States, and the domestic society is seriously divided and antagonist.
Anti-riot and anti-riot also anti-virus.
The inauguration ceremony encountered a special background – the epidemic of the century, and the United States is the most affected region in the world, none of them.
Normally, on the day of inauguration, thousands of Americans will flock to Washington to witness the historical moment. At the 2009 Obama inauguration ceremony, about two million people “entered Beijing”.
This year, it will become lonely, because epidemic prevention is the first priority. According to the BBC, in the past, 200,000 “tickets” were issued for the inauguration ceremony, but only about 1,000 this year. The Biden team said the scale of the event would be “extremely limited” this year.
There was no traditional inaugural luncheon, and no celebration parade was held, but instead a “virtual” parade. At the same time, they also called on Americans to stay at home as much as possible and not go to Washington to watch the ceremony by themselves. The Bidens will still travel from the Capitol to the White House as usual, but there will be no more crowded scenes on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The inauguration ceremony held at noon on the 20th is undoubtedly the highlight of the day, but it will also become unprecedentedly embarrassing due to the historic absence of one of the protagonists, the outgoing president.
According to traditional practice, the outgoing president and his wife will greet the new president and his wife on the steps of the North Porch of the White House that morning.
The two sides sit and talk at the White House, and then go to the Capitol together for the inauguration ceremony. The inauguration ceremony will be held at noon. The outgoing president came to the scene in person, and the new president was sworn in to complete the transfer of power.
Four years ago, when Trump was about to enter the White House, he had a secret struggle with his predecessor Obama, but he still made a “face and peace” when he was at heart, and the two sides followed the tradition to complete the ceremony.
But four years later, the familiar handover ceremony will no longer be repeated, and will be replaced by the outgoing president’s extreme cold treatment of his successor – unwelcome, unsupported, no meeting.
Trump has put down harsh words – he has no intention to “keep decent” with Biden.
According to CNN, sources revealed that the Trumps will not greet the Bidens at the White House, but will be greeted by Timothy Harleth, the chief guest of the White House.
More provocative, Trump announced that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration.
This move will break the American tradition of handover that has lasted for a century and a half.
Biden has a good thing to say with a sense of humor, which is one of the few consensus between the two.
The New York Times said that for a president, skipping the etiquette core of American democracy: the peaceful transfer of power is a major deviation from tradition.
Song Guoyou, a professor at the American Research Center of Fudan University, believes that Trump’s refusal to attend Biden’s inauguration is that he shows a tough stance that he has not lost the election and insists that the election results have been stolen; the other is embarrassing Biden; and the other is that he wants to use an anti-establishment attitude throughout the whole process to express his attitude towards the traditional establishment.
and dissatisfaction with the rules.
In Zuo Xiying’s view, Trump’s refusal to attend the inauguration ceremony is not only related to his personality, but also to his intention to leave a political legacy.
If he intends to run again in 2024, attending the inauguration ceremony will undermine the legitimacy of his current political appeal.
Trump is also considering whether to break another tradition — leaving a note to Biden at the obedent desk of the Oval Office, according to sources. According to the Associated Press, outgoing presidents usually leave handwritten notes of encouragement, advice or wishes to his successor, from “Don’t let the turkey knock you down” (Reagan to Bush Sr.) to “I cheer for you and wish you good luck” (Bush Sr. to Clinton), this 32-old tradition may come to an abrupt end this year. .
CNN described that after the gunpowder-scent campaign, the transfer of power between the old and the new presidents will inevitably be difficult, but Trump’s treatment of Biden can be called a “historical” snub.
In contrast, on January 20, Trump planned to arrange a grand “send-off party” for himself, leaving the White House.
Early in the morning, he flew to Andrews Air Force Base by helicopter, intending to hold a grand ceremony full of military style and comparable state visits, including 21-gun salutes, red carpets, military bands, and formally bid farewell to the armed forces as commander-in-chief.
He will also give a farewell speech to the guests and supporters present, and then return to Mar-a-Lago in Florida on Air Force One.
Trump will leave the White House and Washington early in the 20th, which is believed to be a way from Biden and the last time to enjoy the treatment of the president.
The British Guardian said that if Trump waits to leave Washington after Biden’s sworn in, the presidential plane Air Force One has changed hands, and then Democrats’ permission will be required to use Air Force One.
“He’ll leave Washington in a Trump-style way — still as president.” ABC commented so.
Open a bad precedent
For the old and new presidents, there may be a “drama” of leaving office and taking office on the 20th.
In the morning, Trump will hold an outgoing ceremony and give a farewell speech at Andrews Air Force Base.
At noon, Biden will be sworn in at the Capitol, followed by an inaugural speech and a review of the army.
According to U.S. media reports, Trump will boast of four years of governance in his farewell speech, while Biden will call for national unity in his inaugural speech, emphasizing healing the wounds and how to face the many crises facing the United States.
In fact, the old and new presidents have long moved from handover to confrontation.
One tried his best to use his power before leaving office and “dig all kinds of holes” for later office; the other was ready to “do a dozen” retrograde policies against his predecessors before taking office.
The latest air-to-air move is that Trump announced on the 18th that he will lift the travel restrictions imposed on Europe and Brazil due to the epidemic, but Biden said that he would not do so and that the new government would return to its original state after taking office.
Song Guoyou said that this chaotic and even destructive power transfer in the United States reflects the reality of polarization of political parties and social tearing (supporting Trump and anti-Trump).
Trump, in particular, disdains to do superficial work. Refusal to attend Biden’s inauguration will set a bad precedent, destroy the opportunity to show solidarity and bridge differences through the inauguration ceremony, and also undermine American democracy based on the tradition of consensus and the art of compromise.
“In the past, there were fierce political struggles in the United States, but at least it can maintain basic dignity.
Now it is rare for outgoing presidents to be completely ruthless and refuse to attend the inauguration of his successor.” Xiao He, an associate researcher at the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that this unprecedented power transfer reflects the deep top-down division in the United States: at the upper level, the political division has developed to the point that the old and new presidents cannot guarantee a normal transfer of power.
At the lower level, social divisions have evolved into violent shocks into the power, and Trump supporters may still be brewing armed protests.” The future will be concerned about where this internal division will take the United States, whether it will be a decline or decline in overall power, or a turnaround after deterioration to a limit, and what measures Biden will take to solve the crisis and bridge differences when he takes office.