Pence will break with Trump and attend Biden-Harris inauguration

On Jan 6, US Vice-President Mike Pence defied Mr Donald Trump's call to overturn the election.
On Jan 6, US Vice-President Mike Pence defied Mr Donald Trump's call to overturn the election.PHOTOS: AFP, EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG, AFP) - United States Vice-President Mike Pence will attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, breaking ranks with President Donald Trump, who said that he wouldn't attend.

Mr Pence plans to be at the Jan 20 event, according to two people familiar with his plans who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations.

Mr Trump, in the final tweet before his account was suspended by Twitter last Friday, said that he "will not be going to the Inauguration".

Last Wednesday, the Vice-President defied Mr Trump's call to overturn the election and instead fulfilled his ceremonial duty to preside over Congress's acceptance of the Electoral College results.

During the proceedings, an angry mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol and overtook security, storming into the building and causing lawmakers and others to evacuate. Five people were killed in the melee, including a police officer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that Democrats would launch the process unless Mr Trump resigned or Mr Pence invoked the 25th Amendment, in which the Cabinet removes the president from office. 

While Mr Pence has not spoken publicly on the subject, the New York Times reported last Thursday that he was against invoking the mechanism, never used before in US history.

Last Friday, Mr Biden, speaking to reporters, said that he agreed that Mr Trump shouldn't attend the inauguration but that Mr Pence was "welcome", and that he'd be honoured if the Vice-President were to attend.

"I think it’s important that as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedents of how an administration changes should be maintained," Mr Biden told reporters. 

"We’d be honoured to have him there, and to move forward in the transition."