Pence Will Attend Biden-Harris Inauguration, Rift With Trump Grows
Vice President Mike Pence will attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 20, an aide told The New York Times. During a question and answer session with reporters on Friday Biden said Pence was “welcome” to attend, noting that it would aide in the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next.
Donald Trump has announced that he plans to skip the ceremony, a development that Biden said is “a good thing, him not showing up.”
Pence’s decision is the latest indication of what is likely to be a permanent rift in the nearly five-year-long relationship between the president and vice president. In the days leading up to last Wednesday’s Electoral College certification Trump had publicly pressured Pence to assert a non-existent Constitutional power and change the vote to award the president a second term in office. On his now deleted Twitter account Trump essentially challenged Pence’s manhood and exhorted him to have the “courage” to do his bidding.
The gulf between them blew wide open on Wednesday. Pence issued a lengthy statement in which he said he would preside over the certification to make Biden the 46th president. Shortly thereafter, as Pence was in the Capitol building, Trump delivered a speech that is widely seen as being the match that lit the tinderbox of his thousands of supporters on the National Mall and incited them to storm the Capitol.
As the angry domestic terrorists breached the building, forcing Pence, lawmakers and staff to flee to secure rooms, Trump reportedly was watching the riot play out on television but never once called to check in on his vice president’s safety. The two men haven’t spoken since.