dpa/GNA – Donald Trump on Friday said he would not attend incoming US president Joe Biden’s inauguration, marking another break with tradition as his presidency comes to a chaotic end following this week’s storming of Congress by Trump supporters.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted.
While not unexpected, Trump’s move represents a break with the long-standing custom of outgoing presidents attending their successor’s swearing-in ceremony.
Trump’s announcement came as he faced growing threats of impeachment for an unprecedented second time in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly assault on the US Capitol by a mob of supporters riled up by his baseless claims of election fraud.
Biden on Friday refrained from saying whether he believes Trump should be impeached less than two weeks before he leaves office.
“I have thought for a long time that President Trump was not fit to hold the job. That is why I ran,” Biden said during a press conference.
He then punted to Congress, saying that “what the Congress decides to do is for them to decide.”
Asked about Trump’s earlier statement that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration, he replied: “It’s a good thing, him not showing up.”
Congressional Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the floor for a vote in the House of Representatives as early as the middle of next week, Katherine Clark, the assistant House speaker, told CNN.
She said that Democrats would move forward with the proceedings quickly if Vice President Mike Pence did not heed calls to remove Trump under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment. Reports suggest he is not prepared to do so.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the Democratic caucus had held long talks on the subject and would continue to discuss.
“It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign.
But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment,” she said in a statement.
Trump was impeached in 2019 on allegations of abusing his position, but the Republican-controlled Senate cleared him of charges last year.
The Democratic-led House would almost certainly vote to impeach the Republican president again. The process would then move into the Senate, which would hold a trial and need a two-thirds majority to vote to convict him.
One Republican senator said he would be open to Democratic moves to impeach Trump.
“The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because … I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Ben Sasse told CBS News.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on Friday became the first Republican in the Senate to call on US President Donald Trump to resign.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News, a publication from Alaska.
Impeachment appears to have growing support in the Democrat-held House of Representatives, but not in the Republican-held Senate.
Earlier in the day Pelosi said she spoke to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about preventing Trump from launching a nuclear strike in his final days in office.
Pelosi spoke to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to “discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes ordering a nuclear strike,” she wrote in a letter to her colleagues.
“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous,” Pelosi added.
Facing calls for his ouster, as well as fleeing Cabinet members and administration officials, Trump finally denounced Wednesday’s “violence, lawlessness and mayhem.”
In a video released on Thursday, Trump also promised a smooth transition for Biden, who defeated him in November’s presidential election. However, he did not acknowledge his role in egging on supporters to march to the Capitol with debunked claims of his election win.
In a Friday tweet, Trump promised the “patriots” who voted for him would have a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and “not be disrespected.”
Hundreds of pro-Trump rioters on Wednesday stormed the Capitol, a symbol of US democracy and seat of the legislature. Shots were fired and five people were killed in the violence, including a police officer.
The mob forced a halt to a congressional joint sitting to confirm Biden’s win in the November election.
Rioters breached both chambers of the Capitol building, forcing lawmakers to flee and hunker down until the siege ended.
When they returned, lawmakers finally affirmed Biden’s victory, rejecting challenges launched by some Republicans to election results in states the Democrat won.