Trump said in a tweet Friday that he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, breaking a long-standing tradition of outgoing presidents attending the swearing-in ceremony of their successors. Biden said he welcomed the decision.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted.
Biden, at a news conference later Friday, excoriated Trump, calling him “one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of America,” and said he “exceeded my own worst notions about him.”
Asked about Trump’s announcement that he will not attend the inauguration, Biden said it was “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing, him not showing up."
Biden said Vice President Pence would be welcome.
In a video distributed on Twitter to his supporters Thursday night, Trump acknowledged for the first time that a new president would be sworn in Jan. 20 and said he was committed to a smooth transfer of power.
His decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration marks the latest in a long series of norms that Trump has broken during his four years in office.
Pence has not said publicly whether he will attend Biden’s inauguration.
Reaction to Trump’s announcement was mixed, with some Democrats expressing relief that he would not be a distraction at the event.
In a tweet, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) urged Trump to change his mind.
“I plan to attend and believe it is an important tradition that demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power to our people and to the world,” he said.
Scott also issued a statement urging the president to reconsider. “He is, of course, not constitutionally required to attend and I can imagine losing an election is very hard, but I believe he should attend,” Scott said.