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Biden and Harris name 5 inaugural committee co-chairs, with Rep. James Clyburn at the helm

Biden on Inauguration plans amid pandemic
Biden on Inauguration plans amid pandemic 03:02

Wilmington, Delaware — With 44 days to go before they take the oath of office, CBS News has learned that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are expanding the team that will be tasked with guiding and planning next month's inaugural activities amid a pandemic.

CBS News can report exclusively that the Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) will have five new co-chairs as of Monday, led by House Majority Whip and South Carolina Representative James Clyburn

The group also includes Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester and Louisiana Representative Cedric Richmond, who was also recently named as a White House senior advisor and director of the Office of Public Engagement. The quartet previously served as co-chairs for the Biden campaign. 

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"Kamala and I are honored and grateful to these leaders for joining our inaugural committee as co-chairs and helping to organize a safe inauguration for all Americans," said Mr. Biden. "These leaders reflect the strength, spirit, and diversity of America and have always held a steadfast commitment to restoring the soul of the nation, building back the middle class, and unifying the country."

Clyburn, an influential ally who endorsed the president-elect before the South Carolina primary, said it will be one of the "most important inaugurations in America's history." 

"The peaceful transfer of power surrounding the inauguration is a bedrock of American democracy that represents our nation's highest ideals," said Clyburn, chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "This inauguration will show the country and the world something I have always known: We know Joe, and Joe knows us."

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Holds South Carolina Primary Night Event In Columbia
Joe Biden speaks on stage with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) after declaring victory in the South Carolina presidential primary in a February 29, 2020 file photo, in Columbia, South Carolina. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Safety will be prioritized for the inaugural events as the number of U.S. coronavirus cases approaches the 15 million mark. The president-elect has suggested that traditional events, such as the inaugural parade, may be scaled back due to the pandemic.

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"It is highly unlikely there will be a million people on the Mall going all the way down to the Memorial," Mr. Biden told reporters in Wilmington Friday. "My guess is there will not be a gigantic inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue."

Mr. Biden expects the inauguration will feature more virtual programming, similar to the Democratic National Convention in August. He noted that his team is consulting with convention organizers and House and Senate leadership. 

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is moving forward with plans for the swearing-in ceremonies on January 20, 2021. Construction has commenced on the inaugural platform on the West Front of the Capitol and reviewing stands outside of the White House. 

The theme of the 59th inaugural ceremonies is "Our Determined Democracy: Forging A More Perfect Union."

The president-elect and vice president-elect formally launched their presidential inaugural committee and website last week. They tapped Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen to serve as chief executive officer and senior campaign advisor Maju Varghese as executive director.

In addition to the leadership team, seven senior staffers were announced on Friday to oversee the committee's communications, finances and digital operations. 

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