It was unclear whether members of the Joint Congress Committee on Opening Ceremonies had already issued an invitation to Pence or other high-profile guests who had confirmed their attendance, including former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura.
A request for comment to Sen. Roy Blunt’s office was not immediately returned. The Missouri Republican is co-chair of the joint committee.
Trump has refused to say whether he will attend his successor’s swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, but has told staff that he doesn’t expect to be there, according to a former Trump adviser who remains close to the White House stands.
Instead, White House staff are discussing the President and First Lady, who are leaving for their South Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, the day before the inauguration, so they won’t be in Washington when Biden swears the oath of office, according to a Trump friend drops.
Trump could even leave that morning and hold a rally upon his arrival in Palm Beach, a former senior administration official said. The president had previously considered counter-programming Biden’s inauguration with an election campaign announcement for 2024, although aides no longer expect him to make such an announcement, if at all, in the near future. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top advisor, and Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, advised Trump not to come forward on Jan. 20 and take time to decide what to do in discussions.
Trump plans to leave Washington before Biden is sworn in, in part because he plans to fly to Florida on Air Force One, the highly customized Boeing aircraft that carries the president, these officials said. If he leaves after Biden’s oath of office, he must ask Biden to allow him to use an airplane for his departure as usual. Technically, this aircraft would not be called Air Force One.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Biden’s inauguration is expected to be a largely virtual affair with limited in-person ceremonies. The opening committee tasked with planning the event warned people not to travel to Washington for the inauguration – a warning that is likely to be heightened after an unprecedented breach of the Capitol complex by pro-Trump protesters on Wednesday.
The riots by Trump’s supporters, who managed to temporarily halt certification voting after storming the convention halls and forcing the evacuation of its members, were widely condemned on Wednesday, including by Pence and his allies.
Two people familiar with the matter said the president failed to speak to Pence on Wednesday and refused to check in with the vice president or his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte after being moved to a safe location in the Capitol amid the chaos.
“We strongly condemn the violence that has taken place here… For those who wreaked havoc at our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins, ”Pence said in a comment he himself wrote when Congress convened again late Wednesday evening to continue the certification process.