President Donald Trump has announced that he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on the 20th of January.
This will be the first time in recent memory that a sitting President has made the choice to not attend the inauguration of his successor. However, Trump’s choice is not without historical precedent: Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson all also did not attend their successors’ inaugurations.
Trump’s announcement comes days after hundreds of rioters stoked by his claims of a stolen election stormed the halls of the US Capitol, much to the widespread shock and condemnation of Democrats and Republicans alike. The President ordered the rioters to “go home”, but still seemed supportive in a message that has since been removed by social media companies in which he called them “special people.”
In a later statement, Trump condemned the invasion, and while he did not concede, he said, “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.” His change of heart has proved too little too late for many who now accuse him of inciting an insurrection. Preliminary talks of a forced removal from office either through impeachment or through the invocation of the 25th amendment are ongoing, but both options are unlikely to succeed.
Impeachment would require a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and it is hard to imagine so many Republicans turning on Trump so decisively in his last days in office. Meanwhile, reports indicate that Vice President Pence is unlikely to consider invoking the 25th amendment on a man he has thus far been so loyal to.
Announcing his decision to not attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration, Trump tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Biden was actually supportive of this decision, perhaps due to both personal disdain for Trump and worry that the latter’s presence could result in a circus. “I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration: one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on,” Biden said in a press conference.