When the Next President Takes Office

All About the Swearing In of Donald Trump's Successor

Donald Trump inauguration
Win McNamee / Getty Images

Donald Trump's tumultuous presidency has many American voters wondering when the next president will take office. The next president takes office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, but critics of the wealthy real-estate developer and former reality-television star should take heed: Trump, like all U.S. presidents, is eligible to run for re-election to another four years in the White House.

Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon on Jan. 20, 2017, when the second term of President Barack Obama expired. Trump is serving in his first term.

Here are five things you need to know about when the next president takes office.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is perhaps America's most famous bearded politician. Stock Montage/Getty Images

Beards and back in style, yes. But not in politics. It's been more than a century since a president wore facial hair in office. The last president to wear a full beard in office was Benjamin Harrison, who served from March 1889 to March 1893. The last president to wear any facial hair was William Howard Taft, who sported a mustache during his term in the White House from March 1909 to March 1913. So, fairly or unfairly, it's safe to say the next president will not have a beard.

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Jimmy Carter, photo Getty Images
Getty Images

It is true that Trump stunned the political establishment in 2016 by winning an election many experts believed was firmly in the hands of Democrat Hillary Clinton. But it is also true that Americans are fairly reluctant to elect consecutive presidents from the same political party. So history was on Trump's side. The last time voters elected a Democrat to the White House after a president from the same party had just served a full term was in 1856, before the Civil War. 

If Trump decides to seek re-election, he also will have history on his side in 2020. Only three presidents since World War II have sought re-election and lost. The most recent one-term president who lost his re-election bid was George H.W. Bush, a Republican who lost to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992. More »

Donald Trump
Real estate mogul, reality television star and onetime presidential aspirate Donald Trump. Getty Images

Trump took office at age 70, making him the oldest person to be elected to the highest office in the land. The second-oldest president was Ronald Reagan, who was 69 years old when he took office in 1981. It is unlikely the next president will be as old.  More »

Obama greets Trump
Alex Wong / Getty Images

It's become tradition for American presidents to allow for the peaceful transition of power from one United States president and his administration to another. Recent presidents have hosted their eventual successors on the last day in office.

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush hosted President-Elect Barack Obama and his wife, as well as Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, for coffee in the Blue Room of the White House before the noon inauguration in 2009. Obama did the same for Trump.

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Donald Trump inaugural ball
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017. Kevin Dietsch - Pool / Getty Images

Every president since George Washington has spoken the official oath of office, which states:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Presidents are required to take the under in Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that, “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:” More »