Decision on Inauguration Became Easier

Pence plans to attend, with or without Trump
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2021 4:02 PM CST
Decision on Inauguration Became Easier
Vice President Mike Pence listens during the certification of Electoral College votes on Thursday in the Capitol.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

President Trump hasn't said yet whether he'll watch President-elect Joe Biden take the oath of office on Jan. 20. But Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend the inauguration, Politico reports. The outgoing vice president's presence would be intended as an endorsement of a peaceful transfer of power. President Trump has heavily criticized Pence this week for not trying to prevent the certification of Biden's electoral victory, and he didn't check on his vice president after he had to flee the Senate chamber with his wife and daughter when a mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. "It was a much more difficult decision days ago, but less difficult now," one person close to Pence said. An aide said Pence hasn't been invited to the inauguration, but a spokeswoman for the congressional inauguration committee said that's normal. "The president and vice president are never formally invited," she said. "We have not been told by the president or vice president whether they will be there."

Trump hasn't announced whether he's going to the inauguration, but a former aide said the president has told his staff he isn't. The most likely option for Trump is leaving Washington for Florida before Biden takes the oath, partly so he doesn't have to ask Biden for permission to use Air Force One. The incoming president usually provides a plane for his predecessor to use when he leaves, but it's not designated Air Force One. Trump's departure could come early on Jan. 20 or the day before. Trump has not met with Biden, another custom when the office changes hands. President Obama hosted Trump after his election. And when Biden was the vice president leaving office, he met with Pence at the White House. Pence has not met with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, per CNN. Most inauguration events will be virtual, because of the pandemic. (Former presidents are announcing their inauguration plans.)

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