President Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration

President Donald Trump - AP image.

Vice President Mike Pence is still expected to attend the inauguration.

Posted: Jan 8, 2021 10:00 AM
Updated: Jan 8, 2021 12:47 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday he won’t attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, undercutting his message a day earlier that he would work to ensure a “smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power” to his successor.

Trump offered no clues for how he would spend his final hours in office, and will be the first incumbent president since Andrew Johnson to skip his successor’s swearing-in. Traditionally, the incoming and outgoing presidents ride to the U.S. Capitol together for the ceremony, as a symbol of the nation's peaceful transition.

Trump's comments come two days after a violent mob of his supporters occupied the Capitol for several hours as lawmakers were tallying the electoral votes that certified Biden's victory. Biden will become president at noon on Jan. 20 regardless of Trump’s plans.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted. The move had been widely expected, as Trump for months falsely claimed victory in the election and promulgated baseless claims of voter fraud. His own administration said the election had been fairly run.

Vice President Mike Pence was expected to attend the inauguration, according to one person close to him and one familiar with the inauguration planning. But Pence spokesman Devin Malley said in a statement Friday that he and the second lady "have yet to make a decision regarding their attendance."

Biden’s transition team had no immediate comment on Trump’s announcement. But Jen Psaki, the president-elect’s incoming White House press secretary, said last month that whether Trump attended the inauguration was not top of mind for Biden.

On Thursday, with 12 days left in his term, Trump finally bent to reality amid growing talk of trying to force him out early, acknowledging he’ll peacefully leave after Congress affirmed his defeat.

Trump led off a video from the White House Thursday by condemning the violence carried out in his name a day earlier at the Capitol. Then, for the first time on camera, he admitted his presidency would soon end — though he declined to mention Biden by name or explicitly state he had lost.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in the video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

By next morning, however, Trump was back to his usual division. Instead of offering condolences to the police officer who died from injuries sustained during the riot, Trump took to twitter to commend the “great American Patriots” who'd voted for him.

“They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!" he tweeted.

Thursday evening's address, which appeared designed to stave off talk of a forced early eviction, came at the end of a day when the cornered president stayed out of sight in the White House. Silenced on some of his favorite internet lines of communication, he watched the resignations of several top aides, including two Cabinet secretaries.

And as officials sifted through the aftermath of the pro-Trump mob’s siege of the U.S. Capitol, there was growing discussion of impeaching him a second time as talk of invoking the 25th Amendment to oust him from the Oval Office continued.

The invasion of the Capitol building, a powerful symbol of the nation’s democracy, rattled Republicans and Democrats alike. They struggled with how best to contain the impulses of a president deemed too dangerous to control his own social media accounts but who remains commander in chief of the world’s greatest military.

“I’m not worried about the next election, I’m worried about getting through the next 14 days,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s staunchest allies. He condemned the president’s role in Wednesday’s riots and said, “If something else happens, all options would be on the table.”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that “the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America.” She called him “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office. This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude.”

She said Friday in a statement to colleagues that she had spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about preventing Trump from initiating military actions or a nuclear strike.

“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she wrote.

Pelosi was also meeting with the House Democratic caucus Friday to consider impeachment proceedings against the president for a second time. She and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer have also called on Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to to force Trump from office — though the urgency of that discussion among Cabinet members and staff had diminished Thursday.

The talks came amid fears of what a desperate president could do in his final days, including speculation Trump could incite more violence, make rash appointments, issue ill-conceived pardons — including for himself and his family — or even trigger a destabilizing international incident.

Pence has not said publicly whether he would support invoking the 25th Amendment, but Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he did not think that was likely. “I’m just hearing he is basically not moving in that direction,” he said, citing “my Senate channels.”

The president's video Thursday — which was released upon his return to Twitter after his account was restored — was a complete reversal from the one he put out just 24 hours earlier in which he said to the violent mob: “We love you. You’re very special.” His refusal to condemn the violence sparked a firestorm of criticism and, in the new video, he at last denounced the demonstrators' “lawlessness and mayhem.”

Aides said the video was also meant to slow the mass exodus of staffers and ward off potential legal trouble for Trump once he leaves office; White House counsel Pat Cipollone has repeatedly warned the president that he could be deemed responsible for inciting Wednesday's violence.

As for his feelings on leaving office, Trump told the nation that “serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime” while hinting at a return to the public arena. He told supporters “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

While Trump remained silent and ensconced in the executive mansion until Thursday evening, around him, loyalists headed for the exits, their departures — which were coming in two weeks anyway — moved up to protest the president’s handling of the riot.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao became the first Cabinet member to resign. Chao, married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the lawmakers trapped at the Capitol on Wednesday, said in a message to staff that the attack “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos followed. In her resignation letter Thursday, DeVos blamed Trump for inflaming tensions in the violent assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me," she wrote.

Others who resigned in the wake of the riot: Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger; Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council; and first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, a former White House press secretary.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff-turned-special envoy to Northern Ireland, told CNBC that he had called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to let him know I was resigning. ... I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”

“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney’s predecessor in the chief of staff job, retired U.S. Marine Corps general John Kelly, told CNN that “I think the Cabinet should meet and have a discussion” about Section 4 of the 25th Amendment — allowing the forceful removal of Trump by his own Cabinet.

Staff-level discussions on the matter took place across multiple departments and even in parts of the White House, according to two people briefed on the talks. But no member of the Cabinet has publicly expressed support for the move.

In the West Wing, shell-shocked aides were packing up, acting on a delayed directive to begin offboarding their posts ahead of the Biden team’s arrival.

The president has asked aides to explore a possible valedictory trip next week to the southern border as a means to highlight his immigration policies.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 481831

Reported Deaths: 6518
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin999721578
Ramsey42807796
Dakota35912384
Anoka33081383
Washington21896253
Stearns18695200
St. Louis14668262
Scott13159107
Wright12447114
Olmsted1172088
Sherburne866673
Carver759940
Clay685386
Rice665391
Blue Earth588035
Kandiyohi577474
Crow Wing516280
Chisago494744
Otter Tail479670
Benton441890
Winona414849
Mower400731
Douglas391068
Nobles385847
Goodhue383768
Polk341362
McLeod337049
Beltrami335751
Morrison322446
Lyon311543
Itasca309946
Becker308141
Isanti304153
Carlton298744
Steele298211
Pine281216
Freeborn278023
Nicollet253141
Todd244930
Brown241537
Le Sueur231520
Mille Lacs225847
Cass218224
Waseca207317
Meeker206534
Martin187528
Wabasha18553
Roseau178917
Hubbard160140
Houston156714
Dodge15144
Renville148040
Redwood146427
Fillmore13648
Chippewa135735
Cottonwood133620
Wadena129220
Pennington127816
Faribault122016
Aitkin118133
Sibley116610
Rock115613
Watonwan11568
Kanabec107019
Pipestone100824
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9428
Jackson92610
Swift87318
Pope7935
Marshall77015
Stevens7368
Lake73018
Clearwater71714
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66610
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5123
Lincoln5032
Grant4898
Norman4658
Unassigned45468
Mahnomen4407
Kittson40821
Red Lake3564
Traverse3015
Lake of the Woods2131
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 360369

Reported Deaths: 5380
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57811545
Linn20555312
Scott18229205
Black Hawk16205287
Woodbury14896211
Johnson1376873
Dubuque13494194
Dallas1128090
Pottawattamie10724141
Story1014845
Warren551172
Clinton541683
Cerro Gordo531980
Webster516786
Marshall494872
Sioux492369
Buena Vista471436
Des Moines455261
Muscatine448591
Wapello4279108
Jasper407565
Plymouth393377
Lee373551
Marion357369
Jones293854
Henry292335
Carroll284648
Bremer277354
Crawford272435
Boone258830
Washington253547
Benton251154
Mahaska222946
Jackson220938
Dickinson216538
Tama212064
Kossuth207354
Clay193125
Hamilton191541
Delaware188739
Winneshiek187126
Fayette184334
Buchanan183630
Page181919
Hardin180239
Wright179631
Harrison178869
Cedar176222
Clayton167853
Butler165631
Mills162720
Floyd162339
Madison153618
Cherokee153535
Poweshiek153430
Hancock146429
Lyon145641
Iowa143823
Allamakee143745
Appanoose138547
Grundy138330
Jefferson137632
Winnebago137530
Calhoun133111
Cass132548
Mitchell130240
Louisa127741
Union126131
Chickasaw124613
Sac123718
Emmet120940
Shelby120033
Franklin118319
Humboldt117125
Guthrie116228
Palo Alto104321
Montgomery103936
Howard102921
Clarke99820
Keokuk97729
Unassigned9320
Monroe92928
Adair91726
Ida90732
Pocahontas85219
Davis82223
Monona81426
Greene76610
Lucas72921
Osceola70014
Worth6927
Taylor66312
Fremont5889
Decatur5739
Van Buren55818
Ringgold51720
Wayne48721
Audubon4819
Adams3254
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