President Donald Trump said Friday that he would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, putting to rest any lingering questions about whether he would go.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted.
To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
Biden, speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, later Friday, said that Trump not coming to his swearing-in was “one of the few things we agree on.”
NBC News reported Thursday night that Vice President Mike Pence would likely attend the inauguration if invited, although a spokesman for Pence said Friday that Pence and second lady Karen Pence had not yet made a decision.
Biden, for his part, said Friday that Pence was “welcome to come” to his inauguration, adding that, “We’d be honored to have him there.”
There have been only a handful of times in American history that an outgoing president did not attend the inauguration of his successor. John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson all skipped the event, while Richard Nixon departed the White House after his resignation and did not attend Gerald Ford’s swearing-in.
It had been widely expected that Trump would not attend Biden’s swearing-in, but he had not announced such plans formally until Friday.
At least one prominent Republican, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., publicly implored Trump to attend the inauguration after the tweet, saying that doing so is a critical part of the tradition of peaceful transfer of power in the U.S.
“I am urging the President to reconsider his decision to skip the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. He is, of course, not constitutionally required to attend and I can imagine losing an election is very hard, but I believe he should attend,” Scott said in a statement. “I plan to attend and believe it is an important tradition that demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power to our people and to the world.”
Scott, during the congressional proceedings earlier this week to confirm Biden’s win over Trump, voted to throw out Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes for Biden.
NBC News reported last month that Trump was discussing the possibility of announcing a campaign to retake the White House in 2024 on Inauguration Day and skipping the swearing-in of his successor.
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and their spouses, have all said they will attend Biden’s inauguration. Former President Jimmy Carter, who is 96, and his wife have said they will not travel for the event.
Trump’s announcement came one day after he released a video finally condemning his supporters for violently swarming the U.S. Capitol, in a statement that called for a “seamless transition of power.”
That statement Thursday was a remarkable about-face from the video he released Wednesday shortly after rioters stormed the Capitol following a Trump rally, disrupting Congress as it was formally affirming Biden’s Electoral College victory. Lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the count, were forced to flee.