Hail to the new chief: The making of a US President

Inauguration day in the United States is steeped in history and marks the transition of power between presidents - this time from Barack Obama to Donald Trump.

The swearing-in ceremony takes place on January 20 (US time), but involves official events run the day before and ends with a national prayer service the following morning.

But if Mr Trump's unpredictable streak so far is anything to go by, he could break long-standing inauguration records.

Mr Trump's preferred form of communication is Twitter.

Could he break George Washington's record for the shortest inauguration speech of 135 words, by tweeting 140 characters?

William McKinley's inauguration in 1901 was the first to be filmed, could Mr Trump be the first to livetweet his own swearing in?

Mr Trump is known for his ability to speak at length about anything, his presidential campaign rallies often saw him talking for more than an hour.

Could his inauguration speech then break William Henry Harrison's record of 8445 words? His 1841 speech took him an hour and 45 minutes to recite - in a snowstorm and without a coat.

A lithograph of William H Harrison's inauguration on March 4, 1841 (Getty)
A lithograph of William H Harrison's inauguration on March 4, 1841 (Getty)

Incidentally, Mr Harrison also set the record for the shortest presidency, dying from pneumonia a month after his speech.

While Mr Trump will likely last longer than that, punters are putting money on him getting impeached or resigning before his first term is up. The most popular bet is that he'll be impeached within six months.

Could Mr Trump do something weirder than Dwight Eisenhower who was lassoed by a cowboy in 1953?

Cowboy Monte Montana lassos President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 (Getty)
Cowboy Monte Montana lassos President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 (Getty)

The attendance numbers for Barack Obama's first inauguration saw a record 1.8 million people at the National Mall to see history made. Could Mr Trump's attendees outdo that? 

For New Zealanders wanting to watch the pomp and ceremony, they'll have to wake up around 5:30am on Saturday for the swearing in, though news networks will be broadcasting from much earlier.

For those keen to keep up with the proceeding, here's the schedule:

January 19 (January 20 NZ time)

  • 3pm: (9am NZ time): Wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honour fallen soldiers.
  • 4pm (10am NZ time): Trump will address concertgoers at the 'Make America Great Again!' welcome celebration, headlined by 3 Doors Down.
  • 7:30pm (1:30am NZ time): Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and their families will make an appearance at a candlelight dinner at Washington's Union Station to thank donors

January 20 (Saturday January 21 NZ time)

  • Early morning: The Trumps and their guests will share a private breakfast at the president's guesthouse - Blair House.
  • 8:30am (2:30am NZ time): The Trumps will attend a religious service at St John's Episcopal Church - a short walk from Blair House.
  • 9:30am (3:30am NZ time): Trump and Barack Obama will meet at the White House with their respective wives for a coffee date. The incoming and departing presidents will then ride together along Pennsylvania Ave to the Capitol.
  • 11:30am (5:30am NZ time): The swearing-in ceremony begins
  • Around midday (6am NZ time): Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office as Trump has his hands on two Bibles  one he's had since childhood, the other the Lincoln Bible. He'll then give his speech.
  • Early afternoon: A luncheon will be held for government leaders and friends in the Capitol Rotunda to honour the president and vice-president
  • After midday: The Obamas will leave the White House via the East Front of the Capitol
  • Afternoon: The new president and vice-president will lead the inaugural parade from the Capitol along Pennsylvania Ave with thousands of military personnel. Once at the White House, Trump will watch the rest of the parade.
  • 7pm: (1pm NZ time): Trump will attend three official inaugural balls where's he's expected to make a speech and take to the dancefloor.

January 21 (Sunday January 22 NZ time):

  • 10am (4am NZ time): The president and vice president will take part in a national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral which will end the official inauguration schedule.