Vice President Mike Pence will attend Joe Biden's inauguration

10 January 2021, 11:21 | Updated: 10 January 2021, 13:09

Mike Pence confirmed his attendance at Joe Biden's upcoming inauguration ceremony
Mike Pence confirmed his attendance at Joe Biden's upcoming inauguration ceremony. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

US Vice President Mike Pence has said he will attend Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony later this month, unlike Donald Trump.

A senior administration official said the outgoing president's right-hand man confirmed this morning that he had chosen to attend the event on 20 January.

His decision stands in contrast with President Trump who tweeted on Friday that he would not be attending the quadrennial ceremony.

The incumbent leader will become the first president in more than 150 years to be absent on inauguration day and just the fourth in US history.

President-elect Biden has previously said he would be "honoured" to have the current VP attend the event but that he would not feel the same about Mr Trump.

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It comes just one day after Mr Pence defied the US leader by performing his constitutional duty to certify the election results, marking the first public rift between the pair.

The vice president had been facing intense pressure from supporters of Mr Trump to stop the ceremonial vote counting during a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the country witnessed one of the darkest chapters in its recent history after rioters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC, forcing Mr Pence and his family to flee the chamber.

On Friday, Mr Biden told reporters at a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, that he would "welcome" the VP to his inauguration.

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"I think it's important that as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedents of how an administration changes should be maintained," the president-elect said.

"And so Mike, the vice president, is welcome to come. We'd be honoured to have him there, and to move forward in the transition."

He added that Mr Trump's decision to skip the event is "one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on".

"It's a good thing, him not showing up," Mr Biden said.

"He exceeded even my worst notions about him. He's been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world.

"He's not worthy to hold that office."