Trump not going to Biden inauguration, the president announces two days after stoking deadly U.S. Capitol riot

Key Points
  • President Trump announced his decision that he will not attend Joe Biden's inauguration comes one day after he finally conceded the November presidential election.
  • Trump is not the first outgoing president to skip the inauguration of his successor.
  • The others were Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson, according to the White House Historical Association.
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Doug Mills | NYTimes | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who will take charge in less than two weeks.

Trump is not the first outgoing president to skip the inauguration of his successor. The others were Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson, according to the White House Historical Association. Like Trump, Johnson was also impeached.

"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump tweeted. It was his third tweet since Twitter unblocked his account following a 12-hour ban stemming from the deadly riot he stoked at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Biden, in a press conference Friday, said he agreed Trump should not attend the inauguration.

"I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn't going to show up at the inauguration: One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on," Biden said.

Biden's victory was projected by all major news outlets in mid-November and confirmed by Electoral College votes in mid-December. The Republican president has falsely insisted he won in a "landslide," baselessly claiming his reelection was stolen through massive electoral fraud.

His refusal to accept the election results culminated on Wednesday, when swarms of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and derailed congressional proceedings to tally electors' votes and confirm Biden's win in the Nov. 3 election.

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have not decided whether they will attend, Pence spokesman Devin O'Malley said. Biden on Friday said Pence was welcome to attend the inauguration.

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will attend Biden's inaugration. Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who attended Trump's inauguration, are planning to attend Biden's inauguration, according to a spokesman for the Clintons. Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush have also said they will attend. The Bushes attended the inaugurations of former President Barack Obama and Trump.

Former President Jimmy Carter will not attend due to Covid and health conditions, according to a spokesperson. The 96-year-old Carter, the oldest living president. and former first lady Rosalyn Carter attended the Obama and Trump inaugurations.

Trump's decision to not attend Biden's inauguration comes one day after he finally conceded the presidential election.

In a nearly three-minute video posted on Thursday, Trump, without mentioning Biden by name acknowledged that "a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th."

"My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power," the president said in his first video statement following the riot.

President Trump releases video in response to the Capitol riot

"Now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored. We must get on with the business of America," Trump said of the pandemonium that occurred at the U.S. Capitol.

"To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay," Trump said.

The violence that unfolded left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. The White House on Thursday offered condolences for the deaths.

Trump, during a rally outside the White House on Wednesday, had encouraged thousands of supporters to march to the Capitol to protest what historically have been ceremonial proceedings about the Electoral college vote.

As protesters besieged the Capitol, Trump, who had returned to the White House after his speech told supporters in a tweeted video "you have to go home now." The president stopped short of condemning the violence and told the mob "we love you, you're very special."

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum | Getty Images

In the aftermath of the violence, Pentagon and local D.C. officials sought to explain why National Guard troops were not immediately deployed.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, who has jurisdiction over the D.C. Guard, said Thursday that prior to the riot, law enforcement and Defense officials had received contradictory information.

"There were estimates of 80,000 there were estimates around 20 to 25. So getting back to just the pure intelligence, it "was all over the board," McCarthy said when asked about preparations for crowd control.

Pentagon officials also said they approved requests from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in a timely manner. 

Bowser said restrictions imposed by the Pentagon on how the troops could be used hampered her ability to deploy forces quickly as conditions deteriorated.

Trump in Thursday's video said he "immediately" deployed members of the National Guard to the Capitol to contain the unrest. But The New York Times reported that the president had initially rejected requests to mobilize those troops.

Through the weekend, 6,200 National Guard personnel will deploy to the nation's capital and remain in the region for at least 30 days. The month-long mobilization ensures that the National Guard members will be on hand for the inauguration, which is held outside the U.S. Capitol.

On a call with reporters Friday, National Guard officials said that the number of troops providing support for the events on January 20th is fairly close to previous inaugurations.