On Inauguration Day last Friday, the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was sworn into office using what is known as the Lincoln Bible. He is the third president to have done so. An interesting tradition is that presidents are given the opportunity to choose which Bible they will use for their swearing in. Trump chose the Lincoln Bible, as well as a Bible his mother gave him.
The Lincoln Bible, published in 1853, is a King James Version covered in burgundy velvet. It was first used at the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The Lincoln Bible was not considered to be anything special at the time of Lincoln’s swearing in. Similar Bibles are valued at only $30 to $40. Thomas Carroll, clerk of the Supreme Court, loaned the Bible to Lincoln for the inauguration ceremony. After Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, the Bible was passed down to his family. In 1928, it was donated to the Library of Congress.
The second president to use the Lincoln Bible for his inauguration was Barrack Obama. During his 2009 inauguration, a spokesman said Obama chose to use the Bible because he thought it represented American unity. Obama also used the Bible in 2013.
Prior to last Friday’s ceremony, a spokesman for Trump said the newly-elected president was inspired by Lincoln’s words. “In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature,” said Tom Barrack, chairman of Trump’s presidential inauguration committee. “As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country.”