Inauguration Day 2021: US Military Breaks Tradition, Won't Honor Donald Trump Upon White House Exit

The U.S. Military will not be hosting an Armed Forces Farewell Tribute to President Donald Trump this week, as it has done for other recent presidents, according to a report by Defense One. The informal tradition has been extended to outgoing presidents since the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1989. However, after Trump's alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Pentagon officials have decided not to honor him.

With preparations for Inauguration Day ramping up, the White House announced on Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence "will deliver remarks to sailors on the Trump Administration's historic foreign policy achievements at Naval Air Station Lemoore." Pence will then give another speech to the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York, but there was a conspicuous absence of other plans. Finally, on Thursday, two senior defense officials told reporters that there would be no military farewell for Trump.

The decision has surprised some since Trump has tried to make associations with the military strong throughout his presidency. He has also received warm welcomes from soldiers on many occasions. However, Defense One reports that his presidential visits were often "a headache" for the military, suggesting that they were only made to look good on camera.

The report also notes that Trump's use of military resources against Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer alienated many in the Armed Forces. Last June, his actions dragged defense secretaries and Joint Chiefs chairpersons into the spotlight in a way that many apparently disliked. However, there is no word from the military on why it is not hosting a Trump farewell ceremony.

The Armed Forces Farewell tribute reportedly began in 1989 under one of Reagan's Joint Chiefs chairmen. It was held at Camp Springs, Maryland, and it celebrated the service members themselves as much as Reagan. The outgoing president gave a speech about the end of the Cold War and the military's strides to change its public perception since the end of the Vietnam War.


"The luster has been restored to the reputation of our fighting forces after a time during which it was shamefully fashionable to deride or even condemn service such as yours. Those days will never come again," Reagan said at the time.

Since then, presidents and their military advisers have used the occasion to highlight their terms' military accomplishments and personally thank service members for their work. However, Trump will break that streak along with so many other presidential norms. He leaves office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.