President Trump tweeted on Friday officially confirming that he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump posted on Twitter.
The news was expected despite Trump acknowledged “a new administration” would be inaugurated after Congress reconvened late Wednesday evening amid the Capitol breached from marauders of Trump supporters to certify the Electoral College vote, formally giving Biden the presidential victory.
“Now, Congress has certified the votes. A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in a video tweet Thursday evening. “My focus now turns to a smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation. 2020 has been a challenging time for our people.”
According to a former Trump aide who has close ties to the White House, Trump has told his staff he doesn’t expect to attend the ceremony and will possibly depart on the eve of the inauguration “so that they are not in Washington when Biden takes the oath of office.”
Prior to this week’s chaos in Capitol Hill, rumors were swirling that Trump was considering counter-programming Biden’s inauguration with a 2024 campaign announcement. However, according to sources, aides now believe that Trump won’t make such an announcement that day or ever due to Wednesday’s riots by Trump’s supporters breaching the Capitol during the joint congress certification vote proceeding.
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend, according to Politico who broke the news Thursday. The news outlet cites three sources close to Pence who said the Vice President although not being formally invited “would likely” make an appearance in a “show of support for the peaceful transition of power.”
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Vice President, said Pence and the second lady “have not yet made a decision on their attendance.”
A spokesperson for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said that the outgoing president and vice president are never “formally invited” to the ceremonies. Sitting presidents have traditionally attended their successors’ inaugurations as a display of support for the peaceful transfer of power.
Biden’s inauguration is expected to be a largely virtual affair with limited in-person ceremonies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is the fourth president in U.S. history to break from tradition not to attend one of the nation’s most prominent public displays of a peaceful transfer of power between presidential administrations. The last president to have skipped the inaugural ceremony of his successor was in 1869 when President Andrew Johnson refused to attend. The other two former presidents John Adams in 1801 and his son John Quincy Adams back in 1829 also did not attend their successors’ inaugural ceremonies.