Outgoing US President Donald Trump will be far from the first to boycott his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday — but his absence will be the first since 1869.
In fact, many past inaugurations were conducted in a febrile atmosphere, with some turning to high drama:
*The boycotters –
Presidential bad blood goes back a long way.
In 1801 the second US president John Adams snubbed his successor Thomas Jefferson, leaving the White House at dawn after calling his former vice-president as “a mean-spirited, low-lived son of a half-breed Indian squaw”.
His son John Quincy Adams won a disputed election in 1824 against Andrew Jackson, who claimed the vote had been stolen.
*Lincoln’s near miss:
Abraham Lincoln gave a group of assassins waiting to kill him the slip on the way to his inauguration on March 4, 1865, only to find himself in the sights of the man who would eventually kill him when he got to Washington.
Actor John Wilkes Booth — who would shoot Abraham Lincoln 41 days later at a theatre in the capital — found himself standing above the president on the steps of the Capitol as he was sworn in for his second term.
* Kennedy on fire:
There was also a premonition of the tragedy to come at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in January 1961.Tensions were also high as he was the first Catholic to be elected president, a major historic shift in a then deeply Protestant country.
A fire on the podium led secret service agents to rush in fearing an assassination attempt.
*Two oaths for Obama:
Barack Obama, the first Black president, had to take his oath twice after a glitch at his 2009 ceremony.
Inauguration speeches have contained some of the most famous lines in American history.“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” intoned Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 4, 1933 with the US mired in the Depression.
“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” declared Kennedy, the youngest ever elected president.“American carnage stops right here,” Trump promised at his inauguration in 2017, only to instigate the storming of the Capitol in the dying days of his term.
After Trump’s dark and divisive speech, former president George W. Bush turned to the defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and said, “That was some weird s..t.”
Source: The News