Graphics: Biden and Trump inaugurations compared

Al Jazeera takes a side-by-side look at the inaugurations of the two most recent presidents of the US.

Joe Biden succeeds Donald Trump as president of the United States [Reuters]

The inaugurations of US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump mark stark contrasts in the political state of affairs in the United States.

Trump, the only president to be impeached twice, took office after he stunned the nation by beating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a longshot, outsider bid for the presidency.

Biden took office after handily defeating Trump in the polls and following four years of tumultuous – and often criticised as “racist” – policies from the former president’s administration.

Al Jazeera took important images from both events to allow a comparison of the historic events.

The 2017 inaugural of Donald Trump is on the left, with Biden’s 2021 inaugural on the right.

Crowd size

Trump, known for his penchant for exaggeration, long said his inauguration was the most-attended in history, though historians disputed that claim.

Former President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, is credited as having the largest with 1.9 million attendees.

Biden chose not to have attendees outside of those necessary, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the National Mall instead being filled with flags.

Here is a comparison of crowds at the inaugurations of Trump and Biden.

The Capitol

Little difference can be seen on the Capitol grounds between 2017 and 2021, other than greater social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the US seat of government played a crucial role in Trump’s final days as president.

On January 6, far-right Trump supporters stormed the Capitol with hopes to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s electoral victory.

The riot resulted in Trump’s historic second impeachment and roughly 25,000 National Guard troops being deployed to Washington, DC, for security during the inauguration ceremony.

Oath of office

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence all took the oath office of office in similar fashion between 2017 and 2021.


Their spouses held a holy book – in all four cases the Bible – as they placed their right hands on the text and recited their oaths.

A break in tradition

Trump chose not to attend Biden’s inauguration, one of the many norms he broke during his presidency. This made him the first president to skip the inaugural ceremony of his successor in 152 years.

When Trump assumed office in 2017, Obama – a constant target of Trump’s criticism – did attend, and the men were pictured together.

Their vice presidents – Pence and Biden – were also pictured alongside their spouses.

Iconic waves

At both inaugurations, presidential and vice-presidential families wave to the US public in photos that become iconic.

Source: Al Jazeera