WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence will attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, according to a person familiar with his decision.
A loyal lieutenant to President Donald Trump, Pence was criticized by the president over his role counting Electoral College votes in Congress and was one of the people trapped inside the U.S. Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the building as the votes were being tallied.
“While the vice president and his family were in a bunker in the Capitol, the president did not reach out to check on his safety nor did he condemn those who said the VP should be executed,” said sources familiar with the matter. Video shows rioters shouting, “Hang Pence!”
“We strongly condemn all calls to violence, including those against any member of this administration,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.
Pence and Trump have not spoken since the riots unfolded, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Trump said Friday he will not attend the inauguration, which Biden later said was “one of the few things we agree on.”
The Washington Post first reported that Pence would attend. NBC News reported Thursday that Pence’s attendance was expected.
Trump had asked Pence to reject the electoral votes in an attempt to overturn the election, something his ceremonial role in the proceedings did not give him the power to do. Trump repeatedly lashed out at his vice president on Wednesday, telling supporters, “Mike Pence has to come through for us. If he doesn’t that will be a sad day for our country.” He later tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Biden was expected to have a scaled-down inauguration, sans the traditional parade and crowds on the National Mall. Associated celebrations will be smaller or even skipped.
The National Guard was on a 30-day mobilization for the inauguration following Wednesday’s riots at the Capitol. Right-wing extremists who believe Trump’s loss was the result of unproven voter fraud vowed to return to Washington for the inauguration.
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