Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell had already decided to disinvite Donald Trump from Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting Trump to declare he would not attend to save face, according to the new book “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.”
Author Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent, reported that after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, McConnell told aides he wanted top lawmakers in Congress to tell the lame-duck leader that he was not welcome at the Jan. 20 ceremony in a letter.
“McConnell felt he could not give Trump another opportunity to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” Karl writes in the new book, according to excerpts shared by ABC on Monday. “McConnell wanted to get a letter together from the top four congressional leaders informing Trump that he had been disinvited.”
Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy of California opposed the idea but McConnell “was determined to disinvite Trump regardless of whether McCarthy would sign the letter,” Karl wrote.
McCarthy blabbed the plan to Trump, who issued a tweet on Jan. 8 that read: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Hours after his declaration, Trump would be suspended permanently from Twitter for incendiary lies about the election.
“Trump apparently wanted people to think it was his decision alone to become the first outgoing president after an election to fail to attend an inauguration since Andrew Johnson skipped the inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant in 1869,” Karl wrote.
In response to Karl’s book on Monday, Trump denied that he was looking to head off the embarrassment of not being invited to the ceremony by saying he wasn’t going. “I would never have agreed to go to Joe Biden’s inauguration. This decision was mine, and mine alone,” he said in a statement that also made false claims about fraud in the 2020 election.
Trump’s tension with McConnell continues. Trump recently called him an “old crow” for supporting the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan. According to another book, released in September, McConnell dismissed Trump as a “fading brand.” Earlier in the year, Trump ripped McConnell for not being loyal enough and blamed him for GOP setbacks. Friction between the two escalated after McConnell defied Trump’s false stance that the election was stolen and even called him responsible for the deadly insurrection. (But McConnell still would not vote to convict Trump at his impeachment for inciting the riot.)