WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration looked much different than those in years past, particularly when it came to who will not be in attendance.
Presidential inaugurations typically are attended by hundreds of dignitaries – including former presidents, Supreme Court justices and members of Congress – while hundreds of thousands of spectators spill out across the National Mall to witness the ceremonies.
Instead, in lieu of massive crowds, a public art exhibition was erected on the National Mall to represent the American people who are unable to travel to the capitol for the inauguration.
In addition to the public, several prominent people, including some lawmakers, announced they would not attend because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 400,000 people nationally, or because of security concerns following a breach on the Capitol building two weeks ago.
Those who were not there for the swearing in of the 46th President included two of Biden’s predecessors: Presidents Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter, though they did not attend for different reasons.
Many of the Republicans who objected to Biden’s electoral college attended the inauguration. USA TODAY has reached out to several who did not publicly stated whether or not they will be in attendance.
A few Democratic figures who support Biden, like Carter, attended virtually.
Here is a running-list of who is not attending on Wednesday:
President Donald Trump and family
Trump officially announced he would not attend the swearing in ceremony of his successor.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the inauguration on January 20th,” Trump posted to his now-banned Twitter account.
Trump’s decision to skip Biden’s swearing-in ceremony comes after weeks of him refusing to acknowledge that Biden had defeated him in the Nov. 3 election.
By skipping Biden’s inauguration, Trump will break from White House tradition, but won’t make history, when he misses the ceremonial peaceful transfer of power.
Trump will become the first outgoing president to refuse to attend the inauguration of his successor since 1869 when President Andrew Johnson stayed in the White House as Ulysses S. Grant was sworn in as the 18th president.
Other members of the Trump family also did not attend, like daughter and Senior Adviser to the president, Ivanka Trump.
Trump instead held a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, the usual jumping-off point for Air Force One, in Maryland just outside Washington before his departure from the capital city, sources say.
President Jimmy Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter, who is the oldest living president at 96, announced that he would not attend. This is the first inauguration he has missed since his own, in 1977.
The Carters “have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and look forward to a successful administration,” said a spokeswoman for the Carter Center.
Carter has been extremely supportive of Biden in the past, but has stayed close to his home in Georgia during the pandemic, and since a series of falls in 2019.
The last time he traveled to D.C. for an official event was for the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush in 2018, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Vice President Al Gore
Former Vice President Al Gore, who served under President Bill Clinton, was not in attendance.
He made an appearance on NBC News as part of the organization’s inauguration coverage and was asked about what the ceremony meant to him in light of the pandemic and the breach on the Capitol.
Gore spoke as footage played of lawmakers and other VIP’s walked through the Capitol and onto the Inauguration stage.
“It means to me that when Joe Biden walks into the Oval Office not long from now, science will walk in with him. A reverence for truth will walk in with him. A commitment to seeking bipartisan solutions to our country’s problems will walk in with him.”
Vice President Dick Cheney
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served under former President George W. Bush, also was absent from Biden’s inauguration.
CNN explained before the ceremony that Cheney’s doctors recommended he not attend given the potential dangers from the coronavirus. Cheney, 79, received a heart transplant in 2012.
North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis
Republican North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis announced he would not be attending Wednesday’s inauguration as he is recovering from recent foot surgery.
“Today, I informed the incoming Biden administration that I regrettably won’t be able to attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration because of my recovery from a recent foot surgery,” Tillis said. “Our nation faces many unprecedented challenges, and I look forward to finding common ground with President Biden on areas where we may agree, and vigorously—but always respectfully—opposing policies where we do not.”
Georgia Rep. Majorie Greene
Freshman GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed support for the baseless and wide-ranging QAnon conspiracy theory, will not be attending, a spokesperson told USA TODAY Tuesday night.
The spokesperson said that she declined the invitation “primarily due to security concerns.”
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown
Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, wasn’t in attendance for Biden’s inauguration in-person, citing coronavirus concerns.
His office told USA TODAY Tuesday he would be attending virtually as “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have urged Americans to do to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
“He looks forward to watching this historic event online and working with the Biden-Harris administration on Day 1 to put workers at the center of this economic recovery.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz
Gaetz, R-Fla., a staunch defender of Trump on Capitol Hill during his presidency, announced he would be attending “virtually to avoid any additional security strain.”
Contributing: Nicholas Wu, Christal Hayes, Jeanine Santucci USA TODAY
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