As an inaugural tradition,chiefs of diplomatic missions and their spouses have been invited over the years. One tradition associated with inaugurations is that ambassadors,and not foreign heads of state,are invited.
This means that ambassadors from all 194 countries that the U.S. has diplomatic relations with and their spouses have been invited,and about 150 are expected to attend. They will be sitting on the platform on the West Front of the Capitol with other VIPs. The U.S does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea and Cuba and so there will not be any diplomats representing these countries.
Senate Historian Don Ritchie said in an interview that inaugurations are state events,which involve inviting diplomats.
“The president,like monarchs in other jurisdictions,is head of the country,and for a very important function like an inauguration,it is important to invite allies to join you,” Ritchie said.
In 1993,former Rep. Kweisi Mfume,a Baltimore Democrat,invited then-South African President Nelson Mandela as a private guest to the second inauguration of Bill Clinton. Mandela wasn’t able to attend.
Ritchie said senators and House members are usually allowed to invite a number of guests to inaugurations,and “so they tend to invite anybody they wish to attend.”
In addition to the swearing-in ceremony,some diplomats may attend an ambassadors’ ball,which will bring diplomats and others together to raise money for charity. It is one of numerous parties taking place over the weekend that are not official inauguration events.
The Mexican delegation will be led by newly appointed Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora. Four years ago it was his predecessor,Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.
A member of parliament from Germany was at the 2009 event and an M.P is expected to be a part of the German delegation this year. An embassy spokesman declined to release the name.
The Canadian Embassy,which is the only embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol,plans to hold a tailgate party for more than 1,500 people. Guests will have a prime viewing spot for the parade that follows the swearing-in ceremony. The embassy also held a tailgate party in 2009. The Canadian embassy held a smaller viewing party in 1993 after moving to the new embassy 1989.
Ambassador Gary Doer will represent Canada at the inauguration. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird plans to be at the embassy with guests at the party,which has a theme: “Friends,Neighbors,Partners,Allies.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police with their distinctive red uniforms will line up on the embassy steps to salute the president. Spokesman Chris Plunkett said that,apart from Canada being a good ally of the U.S.,the party is being held because of the embassy’s location.
Reach reporter Eddie Ameh at [email protected] or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.