Elections

Only one former president is confirmed to attend Trump’s inauguration: Jimmy Carter

Of the four living former presidents, only Jimmy Carter has confirmed he will attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. President Barack Obama is also likely to attend.
Of the four living former presidents, only Jimmy Carter has confirmed he will attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. President Barack Obama is also likely to attend. AP

As Donald Trump defied political convention and captured a stunning victory in November’s presidential election, he did so without the support of any living U.S. president.

Now, he might have to assume the office with the support of just one, and an unusual one at that.

According to media reports, Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter Jimmy Carter is the only former president who has confirmed he will be attending Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Carter announced he would be attending the ceremony in early December before his Sunday school class, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Beyond that, however, it is unclear if any of the four other presidents will be present when Trump takes the oath of office.

Carter’s successor, George H.W. Bush, has said he will not attend due to his age, a family spokesperson told CBS. Bush is 92 and broke a bone in his neck in 2015 due to a fall. He is the oldest living president.

Bush’s son, George W. Bush, is still considering whether he will attend, according to Politico and U.S. News and World Report. Both outlets report that he will announce his decision after the new year.

The Bushes are Trump’s only fellow Republicans still alive who have held the highest office in the land. However, they refused to endorse the billionaire in his White House bid, and rumors even swirled that they would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton instead, though a family spokesperson said the younger Bush left his ballot blank, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But perhaps the most scrutinized potential attendee is Bill Clinton. Whether or not Clinton and his wife, who fell short against Trump in the 2016 election, will attend is still being debated, according to Politico.

Given the bitter nature of the 2016 campaign and the number of personal attacks the candidates launched at each other, Politico reports that the Clinton family is leaning towards not attending, though they are considering the invitation as a show of support for a smooth transition of power. However, the invitation is traditionally extended only to past presidents, not their spouses, so Hillary Clinton could theoretically skip the even while Bill attends.

It is also tradition for the outgoing president to attend his successor’s swearing-in ceremony, and President Obama is unlikely to break that tradition though he has yet to officially confirm this, according to media reports. His administration has stressed the importance of a smooth transition since the election.

Spotty attendance records for previous presidents are nothing new, however. Both Bushes skipped Obama’s second inauguration, citing the elder Bush’s health, and Gerald Ford did not attend Bush’s second inauguration. Still, every former president alive attended Obama’s first inauguration, and the possibility of broad bipartisan attendance at the event would have reflected well upon Trump, who has already reportedly struggled to attract top-level performers.

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