WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Glaringly absent from Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony was former President Donald Trump.
Trump broke tradition, choosing not to attend his successor’s swearing in. This is one of a few times in history when an outgoing president has declined to attend.
The last refusal happened in 1869 when president Andrew Johnson stayed in the White House as Ulysses S. Grant was sworn in as the 18th president.
UNCW political science professor Dr. Aaron King discusses the significance.
“It’s very different for that outgoing president to not be at the inauguration,” King said. “There was representation from past presidents, also Vice President Pence was there. And there were both Democrats and Republicans alike as part of the inauguration so in that sense it was similar to the past, very much a unifying event.”
King says he hopes this new chapter can function as a fresh start for the country.