George W. and Laura Bush 'Look Forward' to Attending Joe Biden’s Inauguration
Though it's increasingly unlikely that Donald Trump will attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, at least one former Republican president will be there: George W. Bush.
On Tuesday, a representative for the 43rd president said he and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, will attend the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony.
"President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing in of President Biden and Vice President Harris," Bush's chief of staff Freddy Ford wrote on Twitter this week.
"I believe this will be the eighth Inauguration they've had the privilege of attending – President Trump's being the most recent- and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old," Ford continued.
Bush, 74, was among the first high-profile Republicans to congratulate Biden, 78, on his win, countering Trump's baseless allegations of election fraud in a November statement.
"The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear," Bush said.
The statement continued: "Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country. The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can."
As Ford noted, Bush and his wife also attended Trump's inauguration in 2017, along with former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton (along with his wife, Hillary, who faced Trump in the 2016 general election), and Barack Obama.
The Clintons and Obamas are expected to attend Biden's inauguration, though neither has publicly confirmed that they will.
Though it's customary for former presidents to attend the inaugurations of their successors, Trump himself hasn't publicly said whether or not he will attend the event.
Instead, he has reportedly mulled hosting a competing event or leaving the country for a vacation.
Carter, 96, and his wife Rosalynn, 93, announced on Tuesday that they would not be attending the inauguration in-person.
"President and Mrs. Carter will not travel to Washington for the inauguration but have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and look forward to a successful administration," a spokesperson for the Carter Center said in a statement sent to CNN.
Carter, currently the oldest living U.S. president, has suffered from a series of health issues in recent years, undergoing brain surgery last November and spending time in the hospital due to falls.
The couple has been at their home in Plains, Ga. during the pandemic, sharing a masked selfie in July to promote the use of protective equipment to slow the spread of the virus.
Prior to this year, Carter had attended every inauguration since being sworn in as the 39th president in 1977.
The Biden-Harris inauguration will be largely virtual this year, in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to an official swearing-in ceremony for Biden, 78, and Harris, 56, this year's inauguration will feature a virtual parade honoring "America's heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic."
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