The Confirm staff appeared into the historical past of presidents not attending inaugurations, together with again in 1869. Here is a glance.
WASHINGTON — Query:
Would President Trump be the primary outgoing president to skip the inauguration swearing-in ceremonies?
No. This has occurred three different occasions in American historical past, together with in 1801, when outgoing president John Adams skipped the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson. President Trump could be the primary outgoing president to interrupt from this custom, since 1869.
Lower than two weeks earlier than the historic inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump introduced that he wouldn’t be attending by way of Twitter.
The announcement prompted questions from many on social media about whether or not this has ever occurred earlier than. So the Confirm staff turned to historians and political specialists for insights.
Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of historical past at American College, mentioned that simply three different outgoing presidents have skipped an inauguration earlier than this.
“You have to go far again in our historical past to seek out presidents dishonoring the custom of attending their successor’s inauguration,” Lichtman mentioned. “It is by no means occurred within the final 150 years or so of American historical past.”
The primary outgoing president to skip a ceremony was President John Adams, who served as president from 1796 to 1800. Within the election of 1800, his vice chairman, Thomas Jefferson would emerge victorious after a bitter electoral battle.
The White Home Historical past web site described the scene on that inauguration morning within the following approach:
“On the day of Jefferson’s inauguration, President Adams quietly vacated the President’s Home at 4 within the morning. A number of historians have steered that Adams left early as a result of he believed his presence would possibly provoke violence; others reasoned that Jefferson by no means invited himi to attend the ceremony and Adams, too proud to ask his successor, departed as a courtesy. One scholar even speculated that Adams merely wanted a full day’s time to make the forty-mile journey to Baltimore earlier than heading dwelling to Massachusetts.”
The opposite two outgoing presidents who skipped the inauguration had been John Quincy Adams in 1829, and Andrew Johnson in 1869. The web site for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies described the 1869 ceremony within the following approach:
“In 1869, Andrew Johnson grew to become solely the third President who didn’t be a part of the President-elect within the procession to the Capitol, nor did he attend the Swearing-In Ceremony. He remained on the White Home, signing last-minute laws till his time period expired at midday.”
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Politics professor Gary Nordlinger from The George Washington College mentioned that this custom has remained for greater than 150 years since then. There have been different exceptions, corresponding to when Woodrow Wilson was too sick to attend the ceremony itself.
“The overwhelming majority of presidents do go and attend the swearing-in,” he mentioned.
Lichtman mentioned this choice to skip the inauguration may have symbolic significance.
“It does not have authorized significance,” he mentioned. “Joe Biden will develop into president on January 20th, regardless that Donald Trump is not there. Nevertheless it has symbolic significance. We’re the world’s longest-running democracy. And one of many issues that bind People collectively and makes our democracy work is the peaceable transition of energy.”