Less than 18 hours after releasing a video in which he committed himself to “ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power” to President-elect Joe Biden, President Trump on Friday tweeted that he has no plans to attend Biden’s inauguration.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Outgoing presidents have traditionally attended the inauguration of their successor to show the peaceful transfer of power. In 2016, President Barack Obama attended Trump’s inauguration.
The announcement came amid mounting calls for Trump to resign, be removed or impeached; there has been a wave of resignations within his administration, including Cabinet secretaries Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos. (Chao, who has served since the beginning of the administration, is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; DeVos, also an original appointee, is the sister of Erik Prince, who has figured in several investigations of the Trump administration.) Trump himself is being investigated by the FBI over his role in inciting Wednesday’s siege at the Capitol.
In a videotaped message posted to his Twitter feed early Thursday evening, the president admitted for the first time that his administration would soon come to an end and called for a time of “healing and reconciliation.”
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in the two-and-a-half-minute video. He did not mention Biden by name, and there has been no indication from the White House that Trump intends to call Biden in order to concede.
In the video, Trump also condemned the mob of his supporters who breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, in a riot that led to the death of a Capitol Police officer and at least four other people. But he did not acknowledge his own role in inciting them, or the video he released Wednesday afternoon expressing support for the “patriots” (“We love you, you’re very special”).
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said Thursday. “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.”
Early Friday, Trump returned to his usual us-against-the-world tone. “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future,” he tweeted. “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
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