- The Washington Times - Friday, January 8, 2021

President Trump confirmed Friday that he will skip the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden, following reports that Vice President Mike Pence will attend the ceremony.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Mr. Biden said Friday it’s “one of the few things he and I ever agreed on.”

“It’s a good thing he’s not showing up,” the Democrat said.

Mr. Trump will be only the fourth president in history not to attend his successor’s inauguration, and the first since 1869, after the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

In a video address Thursday night in which he finally acknowledged Mr. Biden‘s victory, the president said, “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power,” he said.

But that won’t include him watching Mr. Biden take the oath of office.

Democrats said the president’s move was predictable.

“It shows that he’s not [serious] about the smooth and orderly transition of government,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, Michigan Democrat, said on CNN. “On the other hand, he won’t be a distraction that day, either.”

Mr. Pence plans to attend the Biden inauguration, according to people familiar with his thinking.

Mr. Biden said that Mr. Pence “is welcome to come, and we’d be honored to have him there.”

The vice president and Mr. Trump have had a serious falling-out over the president’s pressuring Mr. Pence unsuccessfully to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results for Mr. Biden. Mr. Pence concluded that he didn’t have the authority to block the count unilaterally.

Traditionally, the outgoing president attends the inauguration of the new president at the Capitol at noon on Jan. 20. After the ceremony, the outgoing president is usually afforded a dignified send-off, boarding the presidential helicopter with his family on the plaza on the east side of the Capitol as the new president and vice president say goodbye.

Even without Mr. Trump in attendance, Mr. Biden‘s inauguration had been shaping up to look different this year, largely due to COVID-19 restrictions. There will be no luncheon in the Capitol, although Mr. Biden will still take the oath at the traditional stage at the West Front of the Capitol.

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