Saturday 9 January 2021 - 11:38

Trump Not To Attend Biden’s Inauguration

Story Code : 909134
Trump Not To Attend Biden’s Inauguration
His decision, which came as little surprise and was welcomed by the president-elect, nevertheless breaks with a longstanding tradition of presidents attending their successor’s inauguration ceremonies in a symbolic demonstration of the peaceful transfer of power between administrations.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Biden said Trump’s absence at the ceremony would be a “good thing”, telling reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday that the decision not to attend was “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on”.

“He exceeded even my worst notions about him,” Biden said. “He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. He’s not worthy to hold that office.”

After a months-long campaign to cling to power, Trump on Thursday recognized his defeat for the first time in a two-and-a-half-minute video posted on Twitter. While accepting that a “new administration will be inaugurated on January 20”, he also refused to give up his baseless claims that the election was stolen from him.

Citing the importance of keeping with “historical precedents”, Biden said he would “honored” to have Mike Pence attend his inauguration, though the vice-president’s plans remain unclear.

Biden will be sworn in on the steps of the Capitol, amid heightened security after the building was breached and vandalized on Wednesday. The Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, extended a state of emergency order through inauguration day, saying of the mob that led the siege: “their motivation is ongoing”.

Biden said he had full confidence in the Secret Service, the agency in charge of security at his inauguration, and predicted the event would take place “without a hitch”.

The ceremony, which typically draws thousands of spectators and concludes with a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, has already been greatly downsized as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The inaugural committee has urged supporters not to travel to Washington to attend the event, and is instead planning a “virtual parade” across the country.

The circumstances around Trump’s departure from the White House on 20 January have not yet been made public, though he is widely expected to return to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Before the Christmas holiday, Trump had reportedly discussed plans for holding an event to announce his plans to run for president in 2024 instead of attending Biden’s inauguration.

Before his election in 2016 and again in 2020, Trump refused to explicitly commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

After his loss to Biden, Trump insisted without any evidence that the election had been stolen and refused to accept his defeat. Instead he whipped up his supporters with wild claims of a vast conspiracy to rig the election against him, culminating in a rally in Washington on Wednesday when he urged them to “walk down to the Capitol” and register their discontent over the election. He added that “you will never take back our country with weakness”.

Shortly thereafter, rioters loyal to the president overwhelmed police and stormed the Capitol, where they shattered windows, vandalized congressional offices and stole property. The mob, who Trump later told “I love you” as he appealed for calm, disrupted the process of certifying the Electoral College, the last step in affirming Biden’s victory.

Members of Congress returned late in the evening on Wednesday to complete the process. Biden would be the next president of the United States, in a vote of 306 to 232.

In the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol, several White House officials and at least two cabinet secretaries have resigned while calls are growing for Trump to be removed from office by the 25th amendment or by impeachment. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has said the House is prepared to bring articles of impeachment against the president for a second time if the cabinet does not act to remove him.

On Friday, she told lawmakers she discussed with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mark Milley, “available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike”.

Throughout American history, there have only been a handful of presidents who did not attend the swearing-in of his successor, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson, the first US president to be impeached. After his resignation, Richard Nixon did not attend the inauguration of Gerald Ford.

After losing to Trump in 2016, Hillary Clinton attended his inauguration in her capacity as the former first lady. At the time she said: “I’m here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values. I will never stop believing in our country & its future.” And in 1993, George HW Bush attended the inauguration of Clinton after losing his campaign for re-election.

With the exception of Trump and Jimmy Carter, who is 96 and has suffered a series of health issues in recent years, all other former living presidents are expected to attend Biden’s inauguration.