He tweeted this news on Friday, January 8, writing, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Per MSNBC, previous presidents who did not attend the inaugurations of their successors include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson, so while there is precedent, Donald Trump is the only president in over a century to make this decision.
His announcement comes two days after a pro-Trump rally in D.C. turned into a mob that violently breached the Capitol building, leading to deaths and arrests. Ralph Northam, Virginia’s governor, had to send in the National Guard to restore order after the D.C. police found themselves underprepared and overwhelmed. In response to the unrest, inauguration planners are reportedly looking at additional security measures, though as of January 8 at noon E.T., the plan is still to hold a traditional outdoor ceremony. It’s unclear whether President Trump’s decision to not attend is related to possible security issues or it’s a last-minute jab at Biden.
There is a small chance, though, that Trump won’t be the outgoing president on January 20; some members of Congress say they are ready to impeach and remove him, and there have been rumors of cabinet members considering using the 25th Amendment to replace him with Vice President Mike Pence. (For more info on that, click here.)
No word yet on whether Pence plans to attend the inauguration. There’s also no word on whether any of Trump’s family members (including first lady Melania Trump or daughter Ivanka) will attend the ceremony. Kamala Harris, the vice president–elect, will also take her oath of office at that event.