‘Soft Sensuality’: What to know about Donald Trump’s inauguration
BY ALEXANDRA JAFFE, NBC News
(NBC News) - For a president-elect known for his showmanship and extravagant style, Donald Trump's inauguration is shaping up to be shorter, smaller and less star-studded than in years past.
"We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars," Trump previously promised to the New York Times. "All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It's hard to find a great dress for this inauguration."
But despite the president-elect's boast, the director of homeland security for the District of Columbia has predicted 800,000 to 900,000 people will attend — about half of the record-breaking 1.8 million crowd at President Barack Obama's first inauguration.
As of a little over a week before the event, more entertainers have reportedly declined to perform than those who have accepted. Multiple reports found Washington's dress shops still well-stocked with ballgowns, and Trump is planning to reduce the length of the inaugural parade and the number of balls.
Tom Barrack, chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), told reporters that a more subdued tone is by design.
"What we've done instead of trying to surround it with what people consider A-listers is say what we're gonna surround it with is the soft sensuality of the place. So we have all of that, but it's in a much more poetic cadence than having a circus-like celebration that's a coronation, and that's the way this president-elect won," he said.
But what does an inauguration surrounded by "soft sensuality" look like? Here's what we know about the event so far.
Inauguration Logistics — When and Where It Takes Place The only specifics laid out in the Constitution for the inauguration are the date and time for the transfer of power to the new president: Noon on the 20th day of January, which in 2017 falls on a Friday.
The rest is left up to tradition, but Barrack, told reporters that "mostly [Trump's] abiding by tradition, especially in the swearing-in ceremony."
As is tradition, Trump will stay at Blair House on Thursday night, attend the traditional worship service at St. John's Church near the White House, and have coffee with President Obama Friday morning before riding with the president to the Capitol for his swearing-in.
Obama is expected to leave for Chicago after Trump is sworn in, but the rest of the day is jam-packed for the newly-minted president. After giving his inaugural address, Trump is expected to attend the traditional luncheon hosted by Congressional leadership at the Capitol, before parading to the White House down Pennsylvania Ave.
There, he'll take his seat in a viewing stand on the North Lawn of the White House to watch the inaugural parade go by.
Parade and Parties Here's where Trump begins to break with tradition. His inaugural parade is expected to be considerably shorter than past parades, just an hour to 90 minutes long, according to organizers. Typically the parade includes representatives from every state and branch of the military, a lineup that can last hours — in 2009, President Obama's lasted about three.
Trump is also cutting down on the number of balls he'll hold to celebrate the occasion. Where President Obama attended 10 around his first inauguration, President Trump will have only three, with one focused on the military.
Boris Epshteyn, communications director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, told Breitbart they're hosting fewer balls because "this president—Donald J. Trump—is all about getting to work and making sure Americans are safe in their homes, safe in their jobs."
However, the inauguration doesn't start — or end — with the pomp and circumstance surrounding Trump's swearing-in on Friday. On Thursday, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and a "Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration" at the Lincoln Memorial.
And on Saturday, there will be a national prayer service held at Washington National Cathedral.
Inaugural Performers While buzz around recent inaugurations has been all about who would be attending — Beyoncé attended both of President Obama's while Ricky Martin performed at a pre-inaugural event for George W. Bush's first — for Trump, the news has been about who won't.
A number of prominent entertainers have come out and said they were asked to perform but declined the offer, including Moby and Elton John.
At least one Republican elected official — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner — has said he won't attend the inauguration, while one Democratic congresswoman, Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, will break from tradition with her intention to "boycott" the event.
But almost every living former president and first lady — including Trump's former opponent, Hillary Clinton — will attend. George H.W. Bush is skipping the event because of his health.
And Trump has lined up some recognizable acts: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform as will members of the Rockettes, and former "America's Got Talent" contestant Jackie Evancho will sing the National Anthem.
Still, Trump insisted in a tweet last month that he'd rather have "the people" attend over celebrities.
The Protesters It's not just well-wishers, elected officials and performers in attendance at Trump's inauguration — thousands of protesters are expected to descend on the nation's capital over the course of the weekend, as well.
The National Park Service has received requests for protest permits from around 30 organizations, and has already approved a few. Overall, officials have said they expect up to 750,000 demonstrators to protest the inauguration.
That, coupled with the generally vitriolic — and at times violent — nature of the campaign that brought Trump to the White House, has made security a major focus for inauguration officials.
"Security is my greatest concern," Republican Senator Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, has said. "No question that on inaugural day, this would be the most appealing target in the world."
According to the New York Times, more than three dozen agencies are working together on security plans, and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said more than 3,000 police officers from other regions and 5,000 National Guardsmen will be on-hand to help secure the parade route.