Shocked by Capitol siege, more aides, GOP backers desert Trump
While Donald Trump on Friday said he will not attend US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the outgoing president’s deputy, vice-president Mike Pence, is expected to, in a sign of growing fissures in the Trump administration, marked also by a steady stream of resignations.
Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, became on Thursday the second member of Trump’s cabinet to resign in the aftermath of the Capitol attack, after Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary. DeVos blamed Trump’s rhetoric for the attack, calling it “unconscionable”.
Matt Pottinger, a deputy National Security Adviser, and Mick Mulvaney, a former Trump chief of staff and special envoy on Norther Ireland, are among senior officials who quit. Republican lawmakers are urging others to stay, to ensure the unpredictable president was not left to his own devices, especially as he feels isolated and is in danger of being removed from office.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted on Friday, becoming the first American president to skip his successor’s inauguration sine 1869.
Pence, who has shown increasing independence from the president after years of slavish loyalty, plans to attend, according to news reports. He or his office have not denied those reports. In fact, subsequent reports indicated that he is, in fact, waiting for an invitation.
Former President George W Bush, a Republican who was publicly critical of Trump, will be attending Biden’s inauguration along with his wife Laura Bush, his spokesperson had said the day before US Congress met to certify Biden’s election, sending an unmistakable message to Republican lawmakers objecting to the certification at Trump’s behest.
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn Carter wil not attend, their spokesperson has said. They are 97 and 93 and have been largely home lately due to Covid-19.