Pence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump send-off
Vice President Pence is not expected to attend a send-off for President Trump at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday, joining a host of other GOP officials who have declined to see the president off for his official departure from the White House.
Trump will leave the base about 8 a.m. on Wednesday for Florida. Officials are planning a formal ceremony for the president, who is declining to attend his successor’s inauguration in a break with more than a century of tradition.
Pence is slated to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, and as a result will not be at the Air Force base. Officials cited the logistical challenges of getting between the two events. Biden is scheduled to be sworn in at noon Wednesday.
The top two Republicans in Congress — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — are also not planning to attend Trump’s send-off. McCarthy and McConnell have also been invited by Biden to attend a pre-inauguration church service Wednesday morning.
Instead, the ceremony will likely be taken in by Trump’s family, closest aides and some supporters, reflecting how some in the GOP have tried to distance themselves from the president after Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
The White House declined to comment on how many guests are anticipated to be at Trump’s farewell. One former administration official anticipated roughly 200 people in total would be there.
Several former aides who have since become outspoken critics of the president were invited and given the opportunity to bring up to five guests.
Former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said since leaving the White House in 2019 that he does not believe Trump is fit to be president, was invited, as was Bolton’s former deputy, Charles Kupperman. Neither will attend.
Anthony Scaramucci, who served 11 days as White House communications director before being fired, told “Inside Edition” that he was invited, too, in what he took as a sign that staff were looking to beef up attendance for the image conscious Trump.
“Trust me, that had to be a mass email if one of them got sent to me,” Scaramucci said.
CNN reported that former White House chief of staff John Kelly was also invited and would not attend. Kelly said earlier this month that he would vote to remove Trump from office under the 25th Amendment if he were still in the role.
Trump has been shunned by some of the party’s top officials after the riot at the Capitol earlier this month, which came after the president spent weeks sowing doubt about the legitimacy of his election defeat.
The president held a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, where he told supporters to show strength and walk to the Capitol to tell lawmakers to halt the process of certifying Biden’s victory. A short time later, pro-Trump rioters overwhelmed law enforcement and stormed the complex, damaging the building and forcing evacuations.
Multiple people died in the mayhem, including one Capitol Police officer.
Trump was impeached last week for inciting violence against the government. He has yet to acknowledge his role in the violence or concede that Biden won the election fairly.
McConnell on Tuesday said Trump “provoked” the rioters at the Capitol, who the senator said were “fed lies” about the election.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.