WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan 20, undercutting his own message a day earlier that he would work to ensure a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power to his successor.
Trump offered no clues for how he would spend his final hours in office, and would be the first incumbent president since Andrew Johnson, in 1869, to skip his successor’s swearing-in. Traditionally, the incoming and outgoing presidents ride to the US Capitol together for the ceremony, as a symbol of the nation’s peaceful transition.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted. The move had been widely expected, as Trump for months falsely claimed victory in the election and issued baseless claims of voter fraud. His own administration said the election had been fairly run. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend the inauguration.
President-elect Joe Biden welcomed Trump’s announcement, calling it a “good thing”.
“I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.