While Donald Trump seems to have partially accepted the fact that he will no longer be in the White House come January 20, he has announced that he will not be attending the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden, breaking from hundreds of years of tradition.
In a terse announcement to Twitter – a platform from which he has somehow not yet been ejected, in spite of inciting an actual coup in Washington this week – Trump wrote: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
This will make him the first incumbent president to skip such an event in 152 years. The last one to do so was Andrew Johnson, who refused to attend the inauguration of Ulysses S Grant in 1869. Johnson was also the first US president to be impeached.
Joe Biden has indicated that he is fine with this situation, telling reporters in Delaware:
“I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration. [It’s] one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing, him not showing up. He’s been an embarrassment to the country.”
Biden has said that Trump is unfit for the job of president, but has not joined the growing numbers of Democrats calling for him to be impeached, saying that his primary focus is on taking office on inauguration day on January 20.
Other Democrat leaders have called on vice president Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, although a successful impeachment, which requires a simple majority vote from the Senate, would bar him from running for office again in future.
Former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W Bush will attend the inauguration, with a representative for Bush and his wife Laura saying: “witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old.”
Jimmy Carter, the oldest living former president, will not attend, and will will remain at home in Georgia with his wife Rosalynn, but the pair have sent their best wishes to Biden and say they look forward to a successful administration.Image: Getty Images / Al Drago