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George W Bush will attend Biden’s inauguration

‘Witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old,’ says former president’s chief of staff Freddy Ford

James Crump@thejamescrump
Wednesday 06 January 2021 12:36
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Former US President George W Bush will attend President-elect Joe Biden’s pared-down inauguration on 20 January.

Mr Bush will attend the ceremony in Washington, DC, alongside his wife and former US first lady Laura Bush, his chief of staff Freddy Ford said in a tweet on Tuesday evening.

“President and Mrs Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing in of President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Mr Ford wrote on Tuesday.

“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,” he added.

The couple have attended both of former president Barack Obama’s inaugurations, as well as President Donald Trump’s swearing-in, since they left the White House in 2009.

They also attended several ceremonies prior to Mr Bush’s first inauguration as president in 2001, including that of his late father, former President George H W Bush, in 1989.

Mr Bush was one of the first high-profile Republican figures to congratulate Mr Biden on his election victory after it was confirmed by several news agencies in November.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Mr Bush added.

Also on Tuesday, a spokeswoman at The Carter Center in Atlanta announced that former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will not attend Mr Biden’s inauguration.

The ceremony will be the first that the couple, 96 and 93, will have missed since Mr Carter was sworn in as the 39th president in 1977.

The spokeswoman told the Associated Press on Tuesday that they send Mr Biden and vice President-elect Kamala Harris their “best wishes” and “look forward to a successful administration.”

The couple have spent most of their time over the last 10 months at their home in Georgia, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Mr Carter is the oldest living president.

Mr Biden’s inauguration on 20 January will be a much smaller event than in previous years, due to social distancing restrictions caused by the pandemic.

The event will be largely virtual, as the inaugural committee has asked US residents not to travel to Washington, DC, to celebrate Mr Biden’s swearing-in as the 46th president.

It is currently unclear whether Mr Trump, who has refused to concede the election and made several baseless claims about election fraud, will attend the ceremony later this month.

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