President-elect Joe Biden is due to attend a modest church service prior to being inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. In his first unifying move, Biden will attend mass alongside both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.
Biden's incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, retweeted a post which revealed that the President-elect had extended invitations to Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer - along with Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy - to attend mass with him at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington DC.
Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, told CNN that the church service is “an important part of respecting tradition" and that the gesture was a “reminder of who Joe is and who we are as a nation that’s hopeful and optimistic".
The church service will also play host to the only live music of the day, with Irish violinist Patricia Treacy expected to perform 'On Eagle’s Wings', Schubert’s 'Ave Maria' and the 'Celtic Alleluia'. Treacy will perform the songs on a 315-year-old Stradivarius violin worth an estimated $4 million.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to perform for the inaugural Mass for the president-elect and his amazing family which I have become very close to," she told the Irish Times. "I am hugely honoured to be a part of this momentous historical occasion.”
Due to their attendance at the church service, Sen. McConnell and Rep. McCarthy will miss President Trump's farewell ceremony, which will take place at Joint Base Andrews before he departs to his hotel resort in Florida. Trump has requested a military-style send off to mark his final journey on Air Force One, which is set to include a red carpet, troop escort and possibly a fighter jet flyover.