President Donald Trump conceded on Thursday that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as his successor later this month — but that does not mean he is happy about it.
In response to speculation regarding whether Trump would attend the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20, he revealed on Friday morning that he would not be there.
“To all those who have asked”
His message came in the form of a tweet posted just prior to Twitter’s bold decision to suspend the president’s account.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” the now-deleted tweet confirmed.
While not entirely unprecedented, the move does stand in stark contrast to the tradition of presidents and first ladies attending the ceremony welcoming a new president and symbolically transferring power in a peaceful manner.
“He’s been an embarrassment to the country”
In a press conference later the same day, however, Biden expressed his agreement with Trump’s decision.
“He exceeded even my worst notions about him,” the former vice president said. “He’s been an embarrassment to the country.”
Biden described Trump skipping the inauguration event as among the only things on which the two men can agree.
As for Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, however, they are reportedly still invited and are expected to be in attendance. Those details had yet to be officially confirmed as of this writing.
In fact, Biden made it clear that the Pences are “welcome” to be a part of the ceremony. If they do show up, they will join the three most recent ex-presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton — and their respective spouses. The only other living former president, Jimmy Carter, is not expected to attend due to declining health.
According to NBC News, there have been just four previous occasions in American history when an outgoing president declined to attend his successor’s inauguration. Three of them occurred in the 19th century and the most recent was in the wake of President Richard Nixon’s resignation.