Why The Guest List For Biden’s Pre-Inauguration Church Service Is Turning Heads

Outgoing President Donald Trump may have wanted to leave Washington, D.C. for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in the style he has become accustomed to, but he didn’t have two former GOP allies there to see him off. Soon-to-be Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy sent their regrets to the White House, because the scheduled departure clashed with an early morning church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, which is located about 10 blocks from the White House.

The Congressional GOP leaders decided to attend the service with President-elect Joe Biden, along with their bitter rivals — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and soon-to-be Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (via Axios). When Punchbowl News reported on McConnell and McCarthy’s decision to skip the Trump send-off, the outlet called the invitation an olive branch with which to kick off the Biden presidency (via Catholic News Agency).

Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy aren't the only ones who skipped Trump's send-off

For President Donald Trump’s send-off, White House staffers apparently cast a very wide net. Included in the invite list were Vice President Mike Pence, who will be going to the Biden Inauguration instead; former White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci; former chief of staff John Kelly; and former White House counsel Don McGahn — and all reportedly declined. Scaramucci even told Inside Edition that he believes the invitations weren’t personal, because, “Trust me, that had to be a mass email if one of them [an invitation] got sent to me.” 

Trump isn’t just dealing with no-shows, he’s dealing with super-high expectations. ABC News correspondent Mary Bruce told Inside Edition, “The president wants a big send-off with lots of flair. We’ve heard that he wants to be surrounded by uniformed military at Joint Base Andrews. There’ll be a military band. He wants a red carpet. We’ve even heard that he may be flanked by troops as he boards Air Force One for the final time. And there may even be an Air Force fighter jet flyover.”

As for what he got, Bloomberg noted, “Trump was greeted on the tarmac by his family on a cold and blustery morning as his standard campaign rally soundtrack played in the background. He spoke following a 21-gun salute and a rendition of ‘Hail to the Chief.'” The Guardian believes that because Trump faces impeachment, criminal, and civil litigation — on top of having ties to the violent Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021 — a showy send-off just wasn’t in the cards.

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