How to watch the inauguration of Donald Trump

The calm before the storm.
The calm before the storm.
Image: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Donald Trump will be sworn in as the president of the United States tomorrow (Jan. 20).

He will assume the office with the lowest approval rating in modern history, after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million. His inaugural events are expected to be significantly smaller than those of his last few predecessors, and organizers have struggled to book high-profile performers. Still, the show will go on.

A presidential rite of passage, the first televised inauguration was in 1949 for Harry Truman’s second term. Since then, the event has become a multi-day television spectacle. News networks broadcast every aspect of the ceremony—from the oath of office to the umpteen inaugural balls—live from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Schedule, and how to watch on TV and online

Thursday, Jan. 19

Inaugural weekend kicks off today with a concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Trump’s team did manage to snag country music sensation Toby Keith as the headliner. (No word on whether he’ll perform his platinum-selling song ”Beer For My Horses” in front of the 30-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln.)

  • The time: 4pm ET
  • The theme: “The Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration”
  • The lineup: Toby Keith, The Piano Guys, Lee Greenwood, DJ Ravidrums, 3 Doors Down, The Frontmen of Country, and actor Jon Voight
  • How to watch: The concert will be broadcast by C-SPAN on TV and streamed live on YouTube by ABC.

Friday, Jan. 20

It begins, the deep breath before the plunge: Inauguration Day.

News networks will begin coverage at about 7am US Eastern time until the last of the inaugural balls late at night. So, if you live in the US and own a TV, the simplest way to watch the events unfold will be to just hit the “on” button. It’ll be hard to miss.

Here are some other ways to watch:

  • Online: New York Times, Politico, NPR, NBC News, CBS News, Reuters, and others will host live streams.
  • On YouTube: C-SPAN, Bloomberg, Washington Post, ABC, and others will broadcast live coverage on their YouTube channels.
  • On Twitter: PBS Newshour coverage will be broadcast live on Twitter here.
  • On Here.
  • In virtual reality: USA Today Network will have VR and 360-degree video on its YouTube channel.

7am ET: Some networks begin coverage of the inauguration. Mediaite has the full broadcast schedule for CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

11:30am ET: Trump takes the oath of office and gives his inaugural address, which is expected to run about 20 minutes. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform. America’s Got Talent 2010 runner-up Jackie Evancho will sing the American national anthem.

3pm ET: About 8,000 participants are expected to march Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence from the Capitol building to the White House, two miles away. It’s expected to be the smallest US presidential inauguration parade in recent memory.

Also at 3PM ET: A number of Broadway performers will take part in the Concert for America in New York, which will raise money for Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, the National Immigration Law Center, and other organizations. The concert will be streamed on Facebook Live.

Saturday, Jan. 21

10am ET:  More than 200,000 people are expected to march on Washington, DC in the Women’s March. It will begin with a rally near the Capitol before participants march toward the White House. Most major news networks will cover it, and Democracy Now! will host a live stream of the rally and march starting at 10am ET. Similar marches are planned in cities around the country.