On Tuesday, writing for USA TODAY, conservative talk radio host Michael Medved implored outgoing Vice President Mike Pence to step up and do what President Donald Trump won't do: acknowledge Joe Biden as the winner of the election and pass the baton gracefully.
One of the ways he could do this, wrote Medved, would be attending Biden's inauguration — if Trump decides not to do so.
"If Trump does shun the national spectacle dramatizing the peaceful transfer of power, then Vice President Mike Pence could make a high profile decision to reshape his own political future and place in history," wrote Medved. "By standing with wife Karen on the Inauguration platform, surrounded by the Biden and Harris families, the vice president could definitively distance himself from Trump’s self-destructive refusal to concede his loss amid angry claims of a 'stolen', 'rigged' election."
Only three one-term presidents in history have refused to attend their successor's inauguration, noted Medved: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson. But Trump could go further than that: "it’s not unthinkable he might summon them to attend a 'counter inauguration' somewhere in the D.C. area far from the Capitol building. He could revel in revisiting the 'stolen election' themes, emphasize his continued defiance of the establishment 'swamp' and, no doubt, boast of a bigger crowd than 'Sleepy Joe' Biden — regardless of the actual audience size for either man."
"In this context, Vice President Pence could contribute powerfully to a peaceful transition and the mending of a badly frayed social fabric," wrote Medved. "For four years, Pence defended the president at every turn but as the Orange Overlord leaves office, he must become his own man at last ... A platform appearance by the departing VEEP might be criticized as shallow symbolism but at a time of poisonous polarization, healing gestures can only help."
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