A consultant who has organized political events and campaigns on both sides of the border says U.S. inauguration day is the culmination of extensive planning that starts “well before” the new president is even elected.

Political consultant Jean-Michel Picher, who organized Obama’s inauguration in 2009, says the planning for the event starts before election day. Two governmental committees are tasked with “putting in place the plans that exist every four years,” Picher said in an interview with CTV’s Your Morning Thursday. “They don’t reinvent the wheel.”

Following election day, the president-elect gets to “colour his or her celebration as they would like, relative to the way it’s been done in the past,” said Picher, who is from Canada and has previously worked for former Prime Minister Paul Martin and former cabinet minister Ken Dryden.

Perhaps fittingly, Picher said “there is a lot of politics” that goes into such things as seating arrangements during the swearing-in ceremony. Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, as well as defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, are expected to be seated with Trump on the inaugural platform.

“Truly, I think everybody defers to what the president-elect would like and what tradition dictates,” Picher said. “It can’t be easy for Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Clinton to be there, I’m sure for everybody up on that stage, they’re all products of a tremendous democratic process, and I think they see that as the larger good on a day like tomorrow.”

On the eve of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, CTV News has rounded up these by-the-numbers facts you might not know.

Funds raised by Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee:

$90 million

Cost of an elite inauguration package that includes a candlelight dinner with Trump and Pence, plus plenty of other tickets and perks:

$1 million

Number of Casino Owners on the Inaugural Committee: 


(Phil Ruffin, Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynne)

Phil Ruffin, Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynne

Estimated economic value to the D.C. area of Trump supporters and protesters coming to town, according to Washington Business Journal and economist Stephen Fuller:

$1 billion

Estimated as the size of the swearing-in platform in front of the Capitol, in square feet:


Participants expected to join the 2017 Inaugural Parade:


Portable toilets along parade route in 2013:


Extra officers the D.C. police is bringing in from other cities across the country to help with security:


5,000 extra National Guard service members will also be on the streets.

Number of people expected to be in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony and inaugural parade:

1 million

Estimated number at the National Mall eight years ago for first Obama inauguration:

1.8 million 

Words in George Washington’s 1793 inaugural address:


This was the shortest in U.S. history.

Word count of William H. Harrison’s address, 1841:


It was the longest speech in U.S. history and took 2 hours to deliver. He died a month later, and many believe his illness began on inauguration day.

20 Items not allowed / prohibited from the inauguration ceremonies and events:


  1. Aerosols
  2. Ammunition
  3. Animals other than service/guide animals
  4. Backpacks and bags exceeding size restrictions (18” by 13” by 7”)
  5. Bicycles
  6. Balloons
  7. Coolers
  8. Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  9. Explosives
  10. Firearms
  11. Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  12. Laser pointers
  13. Mace / Pepper spray
  14. Packages
  15. Selfie Sticks
  16. Signs exceeding the size restrictions (20” x 3” x 1/4”)
  17. Structures
  18. Supports for signs and placards
  19. Toy guns
  20. Weapons of any kind

Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards


CTVNews.ca will deliver dedicated coverage of the inauguration on www.CTVNews.ca/Trump

On inauguration day, CTV News’ special live coverage will be available to everyone on all platforms at CTVNews.ca for desktop, tablet and smartphones and on the CTV News GO apps starting at 10 a.m. ET, with Lisa LaFlamme anchoring from Washington, D.C.