President Donald Trump is planning a major gala event as he departs the White House next month to upstage Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to a report from Axios.
Citing sources allegedly familiar with discussions surrounding the event, Axios reported that the president “is considering a made-for-TV grand finale: a White House departure on Marine One and final Air Force One flight to Florida for a political rally opposite Joe Biden’s inauguration.”
The Axios report comes after a Dec. 1 report by NBC News that essentially said the same thing, with the added detail that the president was planning to announce a 2024 bid at the Florida rally.
The NBC News report cited unnamed officials who said the event was in the “preliminary planning” stage.
Inauguration Day is Jan. 20, a date set forth in the Constitution.
“Regardless of the timing of a campaign announcement, Trump is not expected to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, according to the people familiar with the discussions. He also does not plan to invite Biden to the White House or even call him, they said,” NBC News reported.
Axios said that the White House would not comment on any of Trump’s plans or potential events.
“Anonymous sources who claim to know what the president is or is not considering have no idea. When President Trump has an announcement about his plans for Jan. 20 he will let you know,” spokesman Judd Deere said.
The Hill noted that Biden’s inauguration is likely to be far different than any in history. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event is expected to be far more lightly attended than previous inaugurations featuring tens of thousands of people packed into the National Mall.
In fact, the outlet said that Biden’s inauguration is far more likely to resemble the largely-virtual Democratic National Convention in August.
Last week, Biden told CNN host Jake Tapper it wasn’t personally important to him that President Trump attend but added it was “important in a sense that we are able to demonstrate at the end of this chaos that he’s created that there is a peaceful transfer of power with the competing Parties standing there, shaking hands and moving on.”
Also last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he’s not conceding that Biden won the election, but that “if Biden winds up winning, yeah, I think” President Trump should attend his inauguration.
“I just think it’s good for the country. It’d be good for him,” Graham added.
More than 60 Democrats boycotted President Trump’s January 2017 inauguration after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he wouldn’t be going.
At the time, the president-elect blew it off in an interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhart. “As far as other people not going, that’s OK, because we need seats so badly,” he said.
By inauguration day, Trump was already aware that the Obama administration had been spying on his campaign. What wasn’t clear at the time was that Biden was also aware of the spying, as well as the plot to ensnare then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump’s presidency may end on a similar controversial note — amid widespread allegations of vote fraud and election irregularities, which may be influencing a decision to avoid Biden’s inauguration and hold his own event.
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