US President Donald Trump on Friday said that he will not attend the inauguration ceremony of his successor, Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, on January 20 later this month.
Trump made the announcement from his personal handle on Twitter, apparently addressed to "all of those who have asked".
"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," posted Donald Trump from his Twitter account.
The tweet comes merely hours after Trump had promised a peaceful transition of power, especially amid a sea of controversies that unfolded over the storming of the US Capitol a day ago.
The violent insurrection at the US Capitol is intensifying scrutiny over security at an inauguration ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office from the Capitol's West Front, one of the very locations where a violent mob overpowered police and stormed the building. They also scaled and occupied the scaffolding and bleachers in place for the ceremonies.
Inauguration plans were already scaled back because of the coronavirus. But the brazen attack raises new questions about preparedness for the event that welcome the new administration after a bitter election.
Roughly 6,200 members of the National Guard from six states - Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland - will help support the Capitol Police and other law enforcement in Washington for the next 30 days. Inauguration Day road closures may be altered.
That's the same level of security provided during political party conventions or when a dignitary lies in state at the Capitol - but not during a normal congressional session like when rioters breached the building.
Outgoing President Donald Trump hasn't made that easy. He has falsely argued that the election was stolen, a claim that has been rejected by fellow Republicans in critical swing states and his recently departed attorney general. His many legal challenges were roundly dismissed as meritless, including by conservative judges he appointed.
A Trump rally in front of the White House on Wednesday helped rile up the mob that later stormed the Capitol.
The outgoing president has skipped the incoming president's swearing-in only three times in U.S. history, and the last one to do so was Andrew Johnson 152 years ago. Trump only acknowledged the upcoming transfer of power after the capital was stormed. Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend the ceremony.
Former President Jimmy Carter has announced he wouldn't be there, the first inauguration the 96-year-old will miss since he himself was sworn into office in 1977. He has mostly stayed home amid the pandemic. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will be on hand.
Inauguration organisers had already urged supporters not to come to Washington in person because of the pandemic. Viewing stands built to hold crowds of onlookers in front of the White House were recently dismantled.
(With inputs from Associated Press)