A day after President Trump’s acting secretary of defense issued a statement assuring the Pentagon’s stance condemning Wednesday riots at the Capitol and maintaining a peaceful transition to the Biden administration, the president tweeted today that he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump’s tweet, which was his second after a short Twitter ban, was brief with no further explanation. Trump simply stated, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Earlier today, in his first tweet after the ban, Trump tweeted what appeared to be a pledge to his scores of millions of supporters that he would continue being a voice for them going forward. He said:
The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!
According to Politico, Vice President Mike Pence is reportedly planning to attend the inauguration. One source said Pence’s attendance “was a much more difficult decision days ago, but less difficult now.” This, apparently in reference to the events on Wednesday.
While some are calling Trump‘s decision outrageous and unprecedented, he is not the first to avoid his successor’s inauguration. Three other former presidents have declined to attend, notes Politico, including some of the Founding Fathers: John Adams in 1801, John Quincy Adams in 1829 and Andrew Johnson in 1869.
Politico adds, “Former President Richard Nixon — who resigned in 1974 under threat of impeachment — was not present when President Gerald Ford was subsequently sworn-in at the White House.”
Nevertheless, other than that, all modern presidents in the 20th century through now, have done so. It is one of the nation’s most prominent public displays of its commitment to a peaceful transfer of power. It is still unclear what President Trump intends to do on that day.
In December, President-elect Joe Biden stated, according to Politico, “The protocol of the transfer of power, I think, is important. But it is totally his decision, and it’s of no personal consequence to me. But I do think it is for the country.”
Biden’s inauguration committee has announced plans for a scaled-down ceremony with virtual events to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Some of Trump’s more radical supporters have promised more chaos at the inauguration.
USA Today wrote: “Already they’re boasting online about overrunning the Capitol and making plans to disrupt Biden’s inauguration.”
It is also unclear for now, how Trump’s decision to avoid the inaugural will impact these supporters, or the event itself.