President Trump said he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted Friday.
Trump's break with tradition came hours after he posted a video to Twitter on Thursday in which he admitted his presidency would end this month.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in the video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
The brief announcement comes two days after mobs of the president's supporters breached the U.S. Capitol building while some members of Congress were challenging Biden's electoral victory. It confirms what some may have already speculated.
"I was not at all surprised that he was not going to attend," Drexel University political science professor Bill Rosenberg said Friday.
Rosenberg says he considers the tweet to be a continuation of the president's concession video. He also says the decision seems to have been brewing for a while.
"I think the bottom line is that he wanted to win. He wanted to win very desperately, and as a result, when he saw that was not going to happen, it was going to be very uncomfortable for him to be on that dais and see Joe Biden take office and he was going to have to leave the stage," Rosenberg said.
"At the same time, it's sort of alerting all the actors in both the Biden administration and also the Secret Service and so forth that they don't have to prepare for him to be present."
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend the inauguration, three sources told Politico on Thursday.
While a spokesman for Pence said the vice president and second lady "have not yet made a decision on their attendance," sources said he was expected to show up to show support for a peaceful transition.
Pence's decision to attend was made "less difficult" after Trump publicly criticized him for refusing to stop the certification of Biden's presidential election win, according to the report.
Rosenberg says, historically inaugurations have come in various forms.
"In the Roosevelt inauguration, at the start of his fourth term, he did not go to the Capitol. They actually did it at the White House."
And Rosenberg speculates, considering recent security problems and the COVID-19 pandemic, he wouldn't be surprised if there were changes this time to how things are usually done, particularly to allow for social distancing on Jan. 20.
Only three other U.S. presidents in history — John Adams in 1801, John Quincy Adams in 1829 and Andrew Johnson in 1869 — have skipped their successors’ inaugurations.