Pence, McConnell, and McCarthy are skipping Trump's departure ceremony

Grace Panetta
·3 min read
mcconnell mccarthy transition
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images.
  • At least three top Republicans plan to miss President Donald Trump's farewell ceremony on Wednesday.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will attend Mass with Joe Biden.

  • Aides to Vice President Mike Pence told a Washington Post reporter that he'd be unable to make it because of logistical issues.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Vice President Mike Pence and the top two Republicans in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, plan to skip President Donald Trump's departure ceremony on Wednesday morning.

Trump, bucking tradition, is set to depart from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for his home in Florida at 8 a.m. ET without meeting with President-elect Joe Biden or attending his inauguration later in the day.

In most inauguration years, the outgoing president has met with the incoming president and first lady at the White House. After attending their successors' inauguration ceremonies, former presidents often depart from the Capitol in a military helicopter to head to Joint Base Andrews to fly off to begin their post-presidential life.

Axios reported on Tuesday that McConnell and McCarthy would attend Mass with Biden scheduled to start at 8:45 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, down the street from the White House.

McConnell and McCarthy are not the only former Trump allies to snub his departure ceremony. It's a sign of the rift between Trump and Republican leaders after the riot at the US Capitol on January 6; the House impeached Trump on Wednesday on a charge of incitement of insurrection.

Pence, Trump's vice president, won't be at his departure because he is attending Biden's inauguration at the Capitol at noon and wouldn't be able to make both work logistically, aides told The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey.

Read more: How the Senate could vote to bar Trump from ever holding federal office again and kill any chance of a 2024 run now that the House has impeached him

CNN reported that Trump "has been in a foul mood for several days and has lost interest in the performative parts of the presidency he once relished" but was looking forward to his send-off ceremony. Trump is also expected to release a farewell video address on Tuesday.

The crowd at Trump's departure is likely to be "smaller than he'd hoped," CNN said, with John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, and Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, also declining invitations.

The White House sent invitations far and wide and even told invitees they could bring up to five guests, Axios reported. Trump wants his ceremony to include "a military-style sendoff with a band and possibly a flyover," the news outlet said.

Even Anthony Scaramucci, who served as the White House communications director for 10 days in summer 2017 and has since become a vocal critic of Trump, said he got an invitation.

"Trust me," he told Inside Edition, "that had to be a mass email if one of them got sent to me."

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