Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R) is expecting a large crowd in Washington for Friday’s Presidential inauguration.  

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Senator Blunt is the Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). During a recent visit to Columbia, Blunt told reporters that he’s expecting a crowd of about 750,000 people on the Mall in Washington for Friday’s inauguration. 

“Right now I’m spending a lot of my time trying to be sure that everybody that comes to that event has both a combination of maximum security and maximum freedom,” says Blunt. 

Blunt says President Ronald Reagan (R), in 1981, described the peaceful transition of power as “commonplace and miraculous.” 

Blunt has written an op-ed that’s been published on thehill.com. In the column, Blunt describes the bitter 1800 election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. 

“A lot of historians think that 1801 was the first time ever, anywhere, that people willingly but not enthusiastically gave up the government to someone they thought would run it dramatically differently than they did,” Blunt says. “The Adams-Jefferson transition, and we do that over and over again.”  

In that op-ed, Blunt, a former history teacher, writes that John Adams “accepted the results and, in doing so, strengthened the foundation of our young republic.” 

Blunt also writes that “Inaugurations of presidents have become moments of celebration — not of victory, but of democracy.” He also writes that “for the millions of people who are risking their lives to secure freedom and democracy in their own nations, the peaceful transition of power will indeed appear miraculous.” 

As the JCCIC Chairman, Blunt has selected George Caleb Bingham’s “Verdict of the People” as the painting that will be on display during Friday’s Inaugural luncheon. 

It’s an oil painting from the American art gallery at the St. Louis Museum of Art. 

Blunt says Bingham wanted to visually record the cultural tensions at play in American democracy in the 1850s. 

He notes that after Election Day, it frequently took days to compile votes. Those results were publicly announced at the courthouse, and Blunt says crowds gathered to hear the “Verdict of the People.” 

Blunt says the painting depicts a “chaotic street scene” just as a clerk calls out the election results. He notes “everyone” is at the courthouse, including well-to-do farmers, laborers, merchants, women, African-Americans, immigrants, children and politicians. 

Senator Blunt and the JCCIC will host Friday’s inaugural luncheon at the U.S. Capitol. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate and House members of both parties and others will be there. 

The painting Blunt selected will be displayed during the luncheon. It will then be returned to the St. Louis Art Museum.