Tribune Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The inauguration of the next president won’t play out quite the way they had envisioned. But Bill and Hillary Clinton will still attend inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Donald Trump at the Capitol on Jan. 20, aides for both Clintons confirmed Tuesday.
Protocol dictates that former presidents, and their spouses, are given prominent seats to witness an inauguration. But never has a former first lady lost the election, and it had not been a given that either Clinton would attend.
Hillary Clinton’s attendance, in particular, will be an important symbol about the peaceful transfer of power in America despite one of the most bitter campaigns in recent memory.
Both Clintons spoke with Trump to congratulate him on his victory. A spokesman for former President Clinton said they have not spoken since.
Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election to President Barack Obama, did not attend Obama’s second inaugural, opting to spend the day in La Jolla, Calif. He had dropped by the White House weeks before for a post-election lunch with Obama.
Previous election losers, including Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and John F. Kerry, D-Mass., were on hand for the inaugurations. Al Gore, as the outgoing vice president, also attended George W. Bush’s first inaugural in 2001 despite the close election result and recount battle in Florida.
Bush, the 43rd president, will also attend Trump’s inauguration as the 45th, as will former President Jimmy Carter. Former President George H. W. Bush will not attend because of health issues, CNN reported.