After overseeing the certification of the states’ Electoral College votes Wednesday, making President-elect Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory official, Politico reports that Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend Biden’s inauguration unlike President Donald Trump, who is heavily expected to skip his successor’s January 20 ceremony.
Three sources close to Pence told Politico in a Thursday report that Pence would likely attend the swearing-in ceremony in a show of support for the peaceful transition of power. The decision to make an appearance, they said, became easier after Trump openly criticized his second-in-command leading up to, and following, his 11th-hour refusal to prevent the certification.
“It was a much more difficult decision days ago, but less difficult now,” said a person close to Pence.
President Trump, on the other hand, is highly expected to not attend Biden’s inauguration, according to multiple reports. This comes after a divisive presidential election that Trump continues to claim was “rigged” and “stolen” from him.
Politico, citing several sources, says Trump may be at Mar-a-Lago that day and could possibly hold a rally.
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After Wednesday’s riot that saw anarchists storm the U.S. Capitol and attack police ahead of Congress certifying the 2020 election later that day, Trump—whose response has been broadly condemned—committed in a Thursday morning statement to “an orderly transition on January 20th.”
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Whether the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies had already offered an invitation to Pence or other VIP guests who have confirmed their attendance, such as the Bushes, remains to be seen, Politico noted.
President George W. Bush and his wife Laura will attend the inauguration, according to their spokesman, Freddy Ford. “President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing in of President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Ford said in a statement, per the Associated Press.
Bush is the last living former Republican president. His father, President George H.W. Bush, who passed away in 2018, chose not to attend Trump’s 2017 inauguration while the younger Bush did.
The 96-year-old former and longest-living president Jimmy Carter also announced this week that he and his wife Rosalynn will not attend the event this time around, marking the first time in his 39-year post-presidency that he will not attend a presidential inauguration.
A spokeswoman at the Atlanta-based Carter Center said the Carters have sent Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris their “best wishes” and “look forward to a successful administration,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Due to the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Inauguration Day 2021 will diverge from tradition in how the massive event will be planned, the Biden transition team has said.
In particular, the team is rethinking the usual crowding along the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol’s West Front for Biden’s inaugural address and the subsequent parade that travels down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House in a manner that will let Americans participate from home.
Furthermore, due to Wednesday’s violent political upheaval, the D.C. National Guard will be put on a 30-day mobilization, so that they are available on the January 20, two defense officials told NBC News in a report published Thursday.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.