President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in at his inaugural ceremony Friday using the same Bible that President Lincoln used at his inauguration, as well as a Bible Mr. Trump’s mother had given to him in 1955.
“In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature,’” said Tom Barrack, chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, in a statement. “As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country.”
Mr. Trump’s mother gave the president-elect his Bible when he graduated from Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens in 1955. The inaugural committee said the Bible is embossed with Mr. Trump’s name on the cover.
Lincoln’s Bible, meanwhile, has only previously been used by Lincoln and President Obama at his swearing-in ceremonies in 2009 and 2013.
Mr. Trump takes office at a moment of deep partisan division in the country following a bitter presidential election. Scores of Democratic members of Congress plan to boycott his inauguration. Among them is Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who has been engaged in a war of words with the president-elect since he announced he would not attend the inauguration because he believes that Mr. Trump is not “a legitimate president.”
The president-elect may well have Lincoln’s closing words in his first inauguration in mind now. “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies,” Lincoln said in 1861, just about a month before the Civil War began. “Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.”
“The Lincoln Bible was purchased for the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court,” the Inaugural Committee said. “The Bible is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim along the edges of the covers. It is part of the collections of the Library of Congress and has been used at three inaugurals: 1861, 2009, and 2013.”