Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and former President George W. Bush will be in attendance, their respective representatives said Tuesday.
“President and Mrs. Carter will not travel to Washington for the inauguration but have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and look forward to a successful administration,” Deanna Congileo, a spokeswoman for the Carter Center, said in a statement to CNN.
The Associated Press first reported that the Carters will not attend. At 96, Carter is America’s oldest living president. In addition to his advanced age, Carter has survived brain and liver cancer and was hospitalized in 2019, and senior citizens are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than younger people.
Carter previously traveled for both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations and President Donald Trump’s 2017 ceremony.
Bush and former first lady Laura Bush will attend the inauguration, according to Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff. The Bushes also attended Obama and Trump’s first inaugurations.
The 43rd President was among the first high-profile Republicans to congratulate Biden on his victory after CNN and other media organizations projected he would win the presidency in November.
“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said. “The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”
Biden’s inauguration on January 20 will be largely virtual, with a televised parade in lieu of the typical large, crowded event. The inaugural committee has also asked Americans not to travel to Washington, DC, for the ceremony.