It’s no secret that today’s political opinions are fraught with tension. The world is in utter turmoil at the moment, and the members of both political parties are at complete odds with one another. A lot of this tension is due to the controversies of President Donald Trump. While he has many fierce supporters backing him up, others are outright furious about his handling of the COVID-10 pandemic that has left the nation in shambles, the economy destroyed, and nearly 400,000 dead.
After President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election, President Trump’s wave of support has grown even stronger, and many are fearful that there will be no peaceful transition of power. President Trump’s loss has left him bitter, and he recently declared that he plans on skipping President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th. This will make him the first U.S. President to skip an inauguration in 152 years!
Politics in America are deeply invested in tradition, which helps maintain pleasantries even if bitter rivalries run deep between the incoming and outgoing Presidents. Attending a successor’s inauguration is not only a sign of good grace, but it is also a show of strength and support. It means that, no matter how much you disagree with the successor, you still want what is best for the country. The delicate political balance of our nation relies heavily on treating one another fairly and with respect. By refusing to attend a President’s inauguration, it is a clear display of disapproval and disconnect.
However, President Trump will not be making history by refusing to attend the inauguration. While it may feel like today’s political scene is more hateful and divided than ever before, believe it or not, this isn’t the first time there has been major turmoil between Presidents. Many former Presidents have been sore losers after losing an election to a bitter rival, even if it’s been 152 years since anyone else has made the bold decision to skip an inauguration. Most Presidents manage to put on a smile and wish the new President good luck, but that hasn’t always been the case.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at five U.S. Presidents throughout history who, for whatever reason, decided against supporting their successor at their inauguration. Make sure you stick around, because we’re also going to reveal how the nation reacted the first time a former U.S. President chose to skip his successor’s inauguration!
John Adams was America’s second President, and he served a single term from 1797 to 1801. When he was sworn into office on March 4th, 1797, former President George Washington was there to support and congratulate him. However, John Adams was not willing to extend that same kindness to his own successor.
After serving his first term, John Adams campaigned hard for re-election. However, he lost to Thomas Jefferson, making him the first President to ever lose an election. Embittered by his loss, John Adams refused to congratulate President Thomas Jefferson on his victory. At 4 a.m. on the day Thomas Jefferson was to be elected, John Adams quietly slipped out of the White House forever. However, there might be more to the story than meets the eye.
Because Thomas Jefferson was the first President of the opposite party to hold office, there was a lot of tension in the nation. Some believe that John Adams sensed this tension and, in order to avoid inciting any arguments between the two parties, decided to opt out of the inauguration altogether. Another possible reason that John Adams did not attend the inauguration is because Thomas Jefferson didn’t actually invite him, meaning that it wasn’t entirely John Adams’ fault he didn’t show up.
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was born the eldest son of former President John Adams, which meant he had a lot to live up to. However, John Quincy Adams certainly did not disappoint, and he had a long and prolific political career. He served as the United States Secretary of State, as well as a member of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. He would then follow in his father’s footsteps to become elected as President in 1825. He served one term and campaigned fiercely for re-election. He was incredibly popular at the time of his Presidency, and his campaign manager certainly capitalized on that fact. His campaign also focused on slandering Andrew Jackson by calling him and his party corrupt. This led to a lot of bad blood between the two candidates. Unfortunately for John Quincy Adams, he lost the re-election, and his single term ended in 1829.
But becoming President isn’t the only way John Quincy Adams mirrored his father. After losing to Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams did not extend his hand and invite him to the White House. In reaction to Adams’ frigid attitude, Andrew Jackson did not invite him to the inauguration. As a result, John Quincy Adams did not attend the ceremony when Andrew Jackson was sworn in as the seventh President of the United States.
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was an especially memorable United States President, as he was also one of the founders of the Democratic party. He was the eight President of the United States, and served one term from 1837 to 1841. The previous President, Andrew Jackson, was very popular while he served, and Jackson’s public endorsement of Martin Van Buren significantly aided his victory in 1837.
Despite his popularity going in, however, Martin Van Buren had a difficult Presidency, and increasing tensions with Great Britain, along with economic struggles within the nation, led a lot of citizens to blame him for the country’s difficulties. As a result, he lost the election to William Henry Harrison. One newspaper reported that, during William Henry Harriosn’s inauguration, Martin Van Buren neglected to attend the ceremony. However, nobody knows exactly why. While Martin Van Buren had certainly wanted to win the election, he was actually quite friendly towards his opponent and successor, and even invited him to the White House for dinner two days prior to the inauguration. As a result, the reason why Martin Van Buren chose to skip the inauguration will forever remain a mystery.
In all of United States’ history, only five Presidents have not attended the inauguration ceremony for their successors, (excepting, of course, those who had died during their Presidency). However, the reason the fifth and final President on this list did not attend the inauguration ceremony was a little bit different. Make sure you stick around until the very end, because we’re going to reveal why former President Richard Nixon could not attend the inauguration ceremony of his successor! And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more!
Andrew Johnson is widely accepted to be the final President to refuse to attend his successor’s inauguration ceremony. Andrew Johnson served as President from 1865 to 1869, where he attempted to reunite the nation after the events of the Civil War. However, keeping the nation at peace after the divisive events of the Civil War proved incredibly difficult, and Andrew Jackson was an incredibly unpopular President. He lost re-election to President Ulysses S. Grant, who served as a General for the Union Army during the Civil War.
The two candidates had a deep-seated hatred for one another, so much so that they even refused to share a carriage ride with one another! As a result, it should come as no surprise that Andrew Johnson declined to attend the inauguration ceremony for a candidate he so deeply disliked. Initially, Johnson had planned to attend the ceremony, but at the last minute decided he didn’t want to, and stayed holed up in the White House until it was all over.
Still, Andrew Johnson is considered to be the last President to choose not to attend his successor’s inauguration, and the tradition of attending the ceremony remained unbroken for 152 years after Johnson’s decision.
As we all know, former President Richard Nixon elected to resign from his Presidency rather than face impeachment. This came as a result of the shameful Watergate scandal, which left the nation outraged and shocked by the actions of their President. Richard Nixon finally resigned from his term as President on August 8th, 1974, and his Vice President, Gerald Ford, was sworn in the very next day.
While Nixon did not manage to attend the inauguration ceremony of his successor, former Vice President Gerald Ford, it was not out of a lack of support for the new President. Rather, filled with shame from the circumstances of his departure, Richard Nixon had already exited the White House as quickly as possible, hoping to avoid the press. As a result, while Richard Nixon technically did not attend his successor’s inauguration, most historians do not count him as actually refusing to attend the ceremony.
President Trump’s choice to skip President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration has been met with a wave of controversy, but he’s hardly the first President to do so. Do you think it is disrespectful of President Trump to skip the inauguration, or do you think it’s a reasonable choice? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!