President Donald Trump has confirmed he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony later this month after a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol during the certification of the 2020 election.
In a tweet posted on Friday morning, the president wrote: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
It was assumed Mr Trump would not be in attendance at the Inauguration Day events, which have mostly been made virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reports previously indicated he was planning an event of his own to counter the highly-watched ceremony.
But after this week’s events, the president was finally forced to face his own reality and admit that he could no longer stay in power.
For weeks, Mr Trump has failed to concede to Mr Biden, while promoting lies and conspiracy theories about the national vote, claiming a rigged election and urging his supporters to continue fighting.
His conduct during the mob was rebuked by Democrats and Republicans alike: shortly before his supporters breached security measures and stormed the Capitol, Mr Trump delivered a nearby speech to a crowd that came to Washington from across the country, in which he urged them to march to the building.
After conversations were reportedly raised about invoking the 25th Amendment and removing Mr Trump from office, along with calls for his second impeachment, the president released a video on Twitter acknowledging his defeat in the elections.
In his video, Mr Trump said a “new administration will be inaugurated” and committed to an orderly transfer of power.
A wave of Cabinet and White House resignations followed the mob at the Capitol, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
In her resignation to the president, Ms DeVos cited the riots and his conduct for her departure, writing: “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”
She added: “Impressionable children are watching all of this, and they are learning from us. I believe we each have a moral obligation to exercise good judgement and model the behavior we hope they would emulate. They must know from us that America is greater than what transpired yesterday.”
Meanwhile, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill urged national security officials to stay on the job until an orderly transition of power can be conducted, fearing a potential vacuum in leadership that could be taken advantage of by nefarious actors.
“We need you now more than ever,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said to national security officials surrounding the president during a press conference. Mr Graham, an ally of the president, condemned his handling of the riots while adding: “The president was frustrated, he thought he was cheated — nobody is going to convince him otherwise.”
Twitter and Facebook both took actions to restrict the president’s accounts during the riots, as he posted a video containing flagrant falsities about the election and lying about a rigged vote. Mr Trump’s own Justice Department said the election did not feature evidence to support the president’s false claims of widespread fraud.
In a statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision to remove the president’s access to the platform — and Instagram — until an orderly transition of power could be conducted.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he said in a message posted to the social media platform. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”