US Vice President, other Republican leaders to shun Trump’s departure ceremony on Wednesday

Vice President Mike Pence is not expected to attend a send-off for President Donald Trump at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday, joining a host of other Republican officials who have declined to see the president off for his official departure from the White House, the Cable News Network (CNN) reported.

Trump will leave the base around 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday for Florida. Officials are planning a formal ceremony for the president, who is declining to attend his successor’s inauguration in a break with more than a century of tradition.

Pence is slated to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, and as a result will not be at the Air Force Base. Officials cited the logistical challenges of getting between the two events. Biden is scheduled to be sworn in at noon on Wednesday.

The top two Republicans in Congress — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell — are also not planning to attend Trump’s send off. McCarthy and McConnell have also been invited by Biden to attend a pre-inauguration church service Wednesday morning.

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Instead, the ceremony will likely be taken in by Trump’s family, closest aides and some supporters, reflecting how some in the GOP have tried to distance themselves from the president in the wake of the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

The White House declined to comment on how many guests are anticipated to be at Trump’s farewell. One former administration official anticipated roughly 200 people in total would be there.

Several former aides who have since become outspoken critics of the president were invited and given the opportunity to bring up to five guests.

Former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said since leaving the White House in 2019 that he does not believe Trump is fit to be president, was invited, as was Bolton’s former deputy, Charles Kupperman. Neither will attend.

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