U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in Washington, DC, the United States, on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Doug Mills | NYTimes | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who will take command in less than two weeks.
Trump isn’t the first outgoing president to skip his successor’s inauguration. The others, according to the White House Historic Association, were Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson. Like Trump, Johnson was also charged.
“For everyone who asked, I won’t go to the inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted. It was his third tweet since Twitter unblocked his account after a 12-hour ban over the deadly riot it sparked at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Biden said in a press conference on Friday that he agreed that Trump should not attend the inauguration.
“On the way here I was told that he said he would not show up at the inauguration: one of the few things he and I ever agreed on,” Biden said.
Biden’s victory was projected by all major news agencies in mid-November and confirmed by votes by the electoral college in mid-December. The Republican president has falsely insisted that he won a “landslide” and has baselessly claimed that his re-election was stolen by massive election fraud.
His refusal to accept the election results culminated on Wednesday when swarms of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and derailed the Congressional process to count the votes and confirm Biden’s November 3rd election victory.
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence have not decided whether they will attend, said Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley. Biden said Friday that Pence is welcome to attend the inauguration.
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will attend Biden’s inauguration. Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who attended Trump’s inauguration, plan to attend Biden’s inauguration, according to a Clintons spokesman. Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush have also announced that they will attend. The bushes attended the inaugurations of former President Barack Obama and Trump.
Former President Jimmy Carter will not be in attendance due to Covid and health conditions, according to a spokesman. 96 year old Carter, the oldest living president. and former first lady Rosalyn Carter attended the inaugurations of Obama and Trump.
Trump’s decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration comes a day after he finally conceded the presidential election.
In a nearly three-minute video released Thursday, Trump admitted, without mentioning Biden’s name, that “a new government will be inaugurated on January 20.”
“My focus is now on ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transfer of power,” said the president in his first video statement after the uprising.
“Now the minds have to be cooled and the calm restored. We have to get on with business in America,” said Trump of the pandemic in the US Capitol.
“For those who have committed violence and destruction, you are not representing our country. And for those who have broken the law, you will pay,” Trump said.
Five people died in the violence, including a Capitol police officer. The White House expressed condolences on Thursday for the deaths.
Trump had encouraged thousands of supporters during a rally outside the White House on Wednesday to march to the Capitol to protest the historically ceremonial procedures regarding the election of the electoral college.
As protesters besieged the Capitol, Trump, who had returned to the White House after his speech, told supporters in a tweet video: “You have to go home now.” The president stopped condemning the violence and told the mob, “We love you, you are very special.”
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum | Getty Images
Following the violence, Pentagon and local DC officials attempted to explain why the National Guard forces were not deployed immediately.
Army secretary Ryan McCarthy, who is in charge of the DC Guard, said Thursday that law enforcement and defense officials received conflicting information prior to the riot.
“There were estimates of 80,000, there were estimates of 20-25. Coming back to pure intelligence, it was” all across the board, “McCarthy said when asked about crowd control preparations.
Pentagon officials also said they had timely approved requests from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Bowser said the restrictions imposed by the Pentagon on the deployment of troops hampered their ability to deploy forces quickly when conditions worsened.
Trump said in the video on Thursday that he had “immediately” dispatched members of the National Guard to the Capitol to contain the unrest. However, the New York Times reported that the president had initially turned down requests to mobilize these troops.
By the weekend, 6,200 National Guard employees will be stationed in the country’s capital and will stay in the region for at least 30 days. The month-long mobilization ensures that the members of the National Guard are present at the dedication in front of the US Capitol.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, National Guard officials said the number of troops supporting the January 20 events is fairly close to previous inaugurations.